Anyone suffering from hormonal acne knows that it can be particularly challenging to treat. That’s because this particular type of acne occurs when the body’s hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) are out of balance. This imbalance leads to overactivity in the oil production glands. Most dermatologists would agree that the best way to clear up hormonal acne breakouts is to combine effective topical treatment with hormonal modulation. That’s where Diindolylmethane (DIM) comes in.
What is DIM?
DIM is the main biologically active compounds in a group of plants called cruciferous vegetables or Brassica. This botanical family includes cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. When you eat these superfoods, your stomach acid breaks down indole-3-carbinol to produce a new compound called DIM. A few studies have found a correlation between a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables and a reduced risk for certain cancers, including breast and prostate cancer. Some dermatologists believe it might work similarly to Spironolactone, a drug often recommend to treat hormonal acne.
What does DIM do?
Extensive research shows that DIM can have a balancing effect on hormones and helps restore estrogen balance. It is believed that DIM may help balance hormones by blocking the effects of excess testosterone, an androgen (male) hormone that is responsible for the production of excess acne-causing sebum (oil) in the skin. DIM is believed to help with estrogen balance by increasing beneficial 2-hydroxy estrogens and reducing the unwanted 16-hydroxy variety.
How does DIM help with hormonal acne?
The root cause of hormonal acne is an imbalance of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, which affects the skin’s oil-producing glands. With that in mind, most dermatologists agree that the best way to clear hormonal acne is to combine effective topical treatment with hormonal modulation. Hormonal modulation can occur via prescriptions (such as birth control pills) or natural supplementation. Estrogen imbalance, in particular, is a common cause of acne. Since DIM works to balance estrogen receptors, it can help clear up adult hormonal acne in women.
Is DIM a hormone?
The DIM is one of the most popular natural supplements for women with hormonal imbalance and hormonal breakouts. DIM is not a hormone. Rather, DIM works to balance the body’s natural response to estrogen and testosterone. It does this by adjusting the activity of metabolic enzymes and estrogen receptors, which reduces the amount of “bad” estrogen found in the body. Like spironolactone, it is believed the DIM binds to the androgen receptor and reduces its effects on the skin's oil glands.
Wait, what do you mean by “bad” estrogen?
There are three types of estrogens: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). E2 is the most common form of estrogen found in non-pregnant females from puberty to menopause. In menopause, E1 becomes the primary estrogen. It’s considered the “bad” estrogen and may be the source of estrogen’s cancer-causing properties. E3, on the other hand, is considered a “good” estrogen and may protect against cancer. E2 is a neutral estrogen.
What is estrogen dominance?
Estrogen dominance happens when the body produces too much estrogen. For women with estrogen dominance, the body produces less progesterone but keeps producing the same estrogen levels, causing a hormonal imbalance. Some of these imbalance symptoms include mood swings, decreased sex drive, worsening PMS, bloating, weight gain, anxiety, irregular or heavy menstrual periods, and hair loss.
What is the effect of excess androgens on acne?
Androgens represent the skin's most important sebum-producing hormones in both males and females. This androgen-dependent secretion of sebum is regulated by testosterone and the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHEA). As more androgens (testosterone) bind to the sebaceous glands' receptors, more sebum is produced. This leads to acne breakouts and a dull complexion.
Do DIM capsules help with “bad” estrogen?
Yes, DIM capsules activate the enzyme that converts E1 and E2 to the “good” estrogen: E3.
What makes MDacne’s DIM capsules unique?
MDacne's DIM supplement has significant advantages over traditional DIM tablets.
1. The vegan capsules are smooth and easier to swallow than conventional tablets. If you prefer, you can even open them up and sprinkle the powder into a smoothie or over food.
2. The supplement is vegetarian, gluten-free, and cruelty-free.
3. There is no aftertaste.
4. One MDacne DIM capsule provides the full daily dosage of DIM (250mg). Most tablets require that you swallow 2-4 pills/day to get the same dose.
Do I really need a DIM supplement? Can’t I just eat more veggies?
Cruciferous veggies DO contain substantial amounts of DIM. However, you would need to eat 2 pounds of these vegetables to get the DIM contained in one serving of MDacne's DIM skin-clearing supplement. That’s a lot of chewing. Besides the sheer volume of veggies you’d need to consume to get the right amount of DIM, there’s also the issue of heat. Cooking destroys DIM (and raw brassica veggies can be hard on the thyroid). So, the only way to get the right amount of DIM is from a dietary supplement.
I have hormonal acne, and I’m taking the DIM. When will I see results?
Some women will notice initial results in as little as 4-6 weeks. But be patient. For some, it may take 6 months to see optimal results.
Are there any adverse effects of taking DIM?
Some people get a slight headache when they first start taking the capsule. If this occurs, increase your daily water intake and give your body some time to adjust. Once your body has adjusted, the headache should go away. If the headache is severe or experiences any other symptoms while taking DIM capsules, you should stop taking the supplement immediately and consult with your physician.
Can my acne get worse before it gets better?
It’s normal to see some extra pimples when you start a new acne treatment. The new blemishes are part of the skin’s natural detoxification process called purging. If this happens, you can space out your dose by taking one capsule every two days to give your body time to adjust. It would be best to increase your daily water intake to help flush out toxins and other unwanted things from the body.
Does DIM always improve hormonal acne?
Each body is unique, and everyone responds to dietary supplements differently. Most people taking DIM will start seeing results in three to four weeks and will see their most significant results and a better looking clear skin after six months.
My hormone levels are normal - can I still benefit from DIM?
Most people with "hormonal acne" have normal hormonal tests. In these cases, acne is an overreaction of the skin oil glands to the normal level of androgens in the circulation or the balance between different estrogen types in the blood circulation. Thus, birth control pills, spironolactone, and DIM supplements can help with hormonal acne even if blood work seem to be in the normal range.
I have severe acne. Should I take a higher dosage of DIM capsules?
One MDacne capsule contains the optimal dose of DIM. You should not take more than one capsule/day.
So, does DIM actually change my estrogen levels?
No, DIM capsules do not increase or decrease your estrogen blood levels. They will only change your body’s ratio of good to bad estrogens.
How long can I take DIM capsules? Do you have to wean yourself off of them?
You can take DIM capsules as long as needed, but most people use the supplement for about six months to a year. You can stop taking DIM at any time.
Can I combine DIM capsules with other medications or supplements that I am taking?
Just as with any supplement, if you are on prescription medications, please consult with your doctor before taking DIM.
Can I take DIM capsules while on birth control?
Yes. Women can take DIM capsules while on birth control. Taking DIM can help with both adult acne and the side effects of synthetic hormones. DIM capsules will not interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control pills or your IUD.
I have low estrogen. Should I still take DIM capsules for my acne?
Please consult with your physician if you have low estrogen levels or any known endocrinological issues.
Can DIM help with PCOS?
People with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have high levels of androgens, specifically DHEA and androstenedione. As these hormones convert into estrogen, DIM may help with symptoms. That said, if you have PCOS, please consult your doctor before you start taking DIM.
Can I take DIM when I am pregnant or nursing?
No, we do not recommend using DIM tablets while pregnant or breastfeeding.
I have noticed a change in the color of my urine. Is this normal?
When you first start taking DIM, your urine may temporarily take on a slight orange/brown color. This color change is standard and a sign that the product is working. If the color concerns you, you can increase your water intake and try reducing your meat/dairy intake as your body adjusts.
My DIM capsules have a strange smell. Is that normal?
Yes, and that scent is a good sign! Natural, high-grade DIM made from cruciferous veggies has a strong smell. In fact, if your current DIM capsules don’t have a scent, it likely means your supplement contains fewer active ingredients and will be less effective.
Should I take my DIM capsules with a meal?
You can take your DIM capsules with or without a meal. Taking the pills with a meal may help with absorption and increase the supplement's benefits.
Is it ok to drink alcohol while taking DIM capsules?
We do not recommend taking DIM capsules along with alcohol.
Can I open the DIM capsule?
Yes. You can open the DIM capsule and sprinkle the powder over food or smoothies. However, do not heat or cook the powder.
Can children and teens take DIM tablets?
DIM capsules are thought to be safe for use in children as young as 12 years old. However, we don’t recommend the use of DIM in people younger than 18.
Can males use DIM capsules?
Males that are developing breasts and suffering from obesity due to high estrogen levels can benefit from DIM capsules. That said, males should consult their physician before taking a DIM supplement.
Will the cruciferous vegetables in DIM affect my thyroid?
The pure DIM and the brassica extract in DIM capsules aren’t believed to affect thyroid function. However, people with thyroid dysfunction should consult their physician before taking DIM.
Can I take DIM capsules if I have cancer of any type?
If you have cancer, you should not take DIM.
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