The causes of adult acne in women – and what you do
By Dr Harald Gaier

Some women suffer from acne as an adult – it’s not just the preserve of young hormonal teenagers.

Women with adult acne are very often put on antibiotics over extended periods. However, as soon as the antibiotics are stopped, the acne returns. The use of antibiotics could have serious health implications. A recent US study of 10 000 women showed: long-term use of antibiotics may be linked to a substantially increased risk of breast cancer. Furthermore, women who took antibiotics for at least 501 days continuously, face twice the risk, over a 17-year period, of developing breast cancer.
This makes it far more important to establish why these women have acne in the first place, as opposed to just suppressing the condition with drugs.

In my experience, the most common reason for women to have acne is the presence of ovarian cysts.

A cyst is a sac-like cavity filled with liquid or semi-solid material, rather like a haemorrhoid. Usually linked to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), enlarged cystic ovaries may occur in the absence of other characteristic symptoms, for example; hirsutism (abnormally hairy), infertility and scant periods. They are found in women who have conceived and are not hairy, in infertile women with regular periods, and in those with ovaries that are small or normal in size.

When these symptoms are absent, acne associated with ovarian cysts can be diagnosed by transvaginal ultrasound and by blood tests.

Luckily, there is an alternative herbal remedy available. A mediterranean shrub, Vitex Agnus Castus has been well researched and proved to be effective. Mentioned in the writings of Hippocrates, Plinius, Dioscorides and Gales, this shrub has been used for disorders in the female reproductive system in classical times.

Extract of Agnus Castus (EAC) has a regulating effect on ovarian hormones and also reduces follicle-stimulating hormone production in the pituitary. It gently increases luteinising hormone and prolactin secretion.

By using 30-40 drops of EAC in water once daily, excessive menstrual bleeding, unduly frequent periods, persistent acyclic haemorhages and similar menstrual disorders can be controlled. Premenstrual syndrome and quick-temperedness can be improved from the very next cycle. EAC is immensely valuable in the successful treatment of endometriosis as it promotes the secretion of LH which contributes to progesterone synthesis.

My own experience has shown that fibroids situated within the walls of the uterus not only cease to grow, but actually shrink with EAC treatment lasting for eight months. This has been confirmed with ultrasound. I have also seen that within a month of starting the EAC treatment, the acne visibly begins to subside in most cases and does not return, even after the treatment has ended.

Dr Harald Gaier is a naturopath with over 40 years experience. For six years he served on the Research Committee of the Prince of Wales Foundation for Integrated Health as a naturopathic physician. Most recently he has held the appointment of Director of Medical Research at two major Clinics in London (The Hale Clinic and The Diagnostic Clinic). See:

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