The Missing Link Between Acne, Insulin Resistance and Constipation

Among homeopathic treatments for acne, we find alleviating constipation. Yet presently, no medical studies have made the direct link between bowel regularity and acne. Nevertheless, there is a clear relationship between a hormonal imbalance called “insulin resistance” and acne. Moreover, according to the American Dietetic Association, regularity is great for mitigating acne because regular bowel movements can reduce the chances of developing insulin resistance.

Insulin Resistance & Acne

The pancreas secretes the hormone insulin. The body needs insulin to access the body’s primary energy source- the blood sugar glucose. Insulin binds to key receptors in the blood in order to release glucose as the body requires more energy.

Insulin resistance happens when the normal amount of insulin the pancreas secretes proves insufficient to signal the release of glucose. So, to compensate, the pancreas secretes more insulin in order to free the needed glucose.

Insulin Resistance in PCOS

Insulin resistance, acne, excessive hair and obesity are just a few of the traits that characterize the endocrine disease called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Substantial research has linked a rise in circulating androgens in PCOS patients to insulin resistance.

An excess amount of the hormone androgen in women promotes facial hair growth and can lead to infertility. Moreover surplus androgen increases facial oil secretion. This extra oil can cause more clogged pores and acne.

Medical Treatment for Insulin Resistance

Treatments for PCOS include the drug metformin. A study published in Gynecological Endocrinology found that treating women with metformin reduced the symptoms of PCOS because the treatment lowered the patients’ fasting blood sugar level and testosterone levels. Testosterone is a member of the androgen family and can likewise lead to acne lesions.

Natural Treatment for Insulin Resistance

Besides using drugs to control insulin levels, the American Dietetic Association recommends a fiber-rich and therefore constipation preventing diet to help normalize the blood glucose and insulin levels.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends consuming 31 grams of fiber per day. Getting this amount of fiber would take enjoying roughly one of the following groups of fruits and vegetables:

7 raw avocados

13 fresh bananas

7 cups of blueberries

9 small apples

31 baked potatoes

15 red peppers

3 cups of cooked lentils

Surprisingly, regardless of all the health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, the Food and Drug Administration still reports that Americans are not eating enough of Nature’s harvest.

In short, insulin resistance creates an upsurge in androgen hormone. And so, staying constipation free reduces the likelihood of developing insulin resistance and having more circulating hormones that can provoke an acne outbreak.

Whatever your acne facial regime involves, make certain to enjoy a few constipation-preventing foods like oat bran, spinach or apples everyday.


Kazerooni, T and M Dehghan-Kooshkghazi. Effects of metformin therapy on hyperandrogenism in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Gynecological Endocrinology; February 1, 2003, vol 17, no 1, pp 51-56.

United States Department of Agriculture. Diet and Health: Food Consumption and Nutrient Intake Tables. August 17, 2004

Wijeyaratne, Chandrika N, Adam H Balen, Julian H Barth, Paul E Belchetz. Clinical manifestations and insulin resistance (IR) in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) among South Asians and Caucasians: is there a difference? Clinical Endocrinology; September 2002, vol 57, no 3, pp 343-350.

Copyright (c) 2007 Naweko Nicole Dial