Hyperandrogenism (excess male hormone) in PCOS often manifests itself with the cosmetically disfiguring problems of acn, hirsutism, hair loss and skin darkening. These conditions cause considerable psychological morbidity in women with PCOS.
Specific treatments for these cosmetic problems should be considered in addition to hormonal or other therapy.
Acne and oily skin
Women with PCOS often suffer from acne and oily skin which is primarily due to a hormonal imbalance. Excessive androgens or male hormones cause acne in women with PCOS. PCOS cystic acne is large, red and deep breakouts on your skin. It is a severe form of normal acne that is caused by hormonal imbalances. PCOS-related acne tends to flare in areas that are usually considered “hormonally sensitive,” especially the lower third of the face. This includes cheeks, jawline, chin, and upper neck. Carbohydrate rich diet and stress usually only adds to this problem.
Unwanted Hair Growth (Hirsutism)
Unwanted hair growth is also caused by an excess of male hormones. Basically women with PCOS have coarse, darker hairs growing on face, chin, neck, chest, back or limbs. Women with unwanted hair on their face or body are well aware of it, embarrassed by it, and frustrated in trying to get rid of it. Shaving, waxing, depilatories, and tweezing are all options, but each has its limitations and each demands ongoing efforts. The most successful way to stop unwanted hair growth is laser hair removal.
Thinning hair due to the effects of male hormones (androgens) is called androgenic alopecia. It is a major source of psychological distress to women. This male-pattern hair loss is often seen in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This condition can be easily controlled through medication.
The brown skin discolorations that occur with PCOS are unique, and are called acanthosis nigricans. They appear as darkened, velvety swaths of dark brown that most often develops on the nape of the neck, armpits, inner thighs, or under the breasts. Although these discolorations are not related to sun damage, the treatment is the same: daily exfoliation, sunscreen, and use of a topical over-the-counter skincare product. While skin pigmentation and darkening is observed in some women with PCOS, there could also be other reasons for this condition like diabetes or insulin resistance.