Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – part 2: acne

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This is part 2 of our three-part PCOS series where we discuss acne. As we mentioned in part 1 (available to read here), we are lucky enough to help lots of ladies combat and manage some of their PCOS symptoms. One of our team members has PCOS herself, she has been exploring what is available to help women with the symptoms they have to self-manage. 

Part 2 is about acne.

As I talked about in part 1 of this series of PCOS posts, I was first diagnosed with PCOS when I was 29.  I’m now 40 and have been lucky enough to get support from the NHS with some of my symptoms, and have been able to find my own solutions to manage some of the others. 

Here, again, are the most common associated symptoms of PCOS:

  • Irregular periods– more or less often, or missed months
  • Hirsutism– excessive hair, often where men usually have more hair than women – READ MORE HERE IN PART 1
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Thinning hair– hair loss on the scalp
  • Weight gain
  • Dark skin patches
  • Skin tags
  • Difficulty in getting pregnant

And, as I mentioned previously, with the NHS reporting that 1 in 5 women have PCOS. There is a lot of us looking for solutions and seeking treatments. 

I am sharing my experiences with PCOS in this series of blog posts. Part 1 was all about how to manage hirsutismunwanted and excessive hair. And part 2, here, is about combatting acne and its associated issues.

Acne

Facial acne was my worst nightmare when I was in my late teens and early twenties. 

At the time I felt like my spots were all anyone saw when they looked at me. I was always covering my face in awful, thick make-up and concealer trying to hide any trace of my spots. And this was back when make-up was not what it is today.

I try not to think about how I must have looked in mismatching shades and chalky products. But it felt like my only option at that time.

I would always be touching and holding my face to try and hide my breakouts. Quite often holding my head at weird angles thinking that then people wouldn’t see my acne. 

My mum was always saying to me that it was ‘just a phase’. That ‘everyone has spots at your age’. And, ‘it’ll pass don’t worry’. I was bought the only acne product on the market at that time. It was all I really had at my disposal. Without a skincare routine and all the caked-on make-up, my skin was a real mess; red, angry, painful, oily but flaky.

In my mid to late twenties, when I started looking after my skin better, it calmed down immeasurably. But I was left with quite a lot of scarring on my chin, cheeks and forehead.

Looking back, and knowing now that I have PCOS, I know that my breakouts flared up just before my period. Then the rest of month was the fallout and my skin recovering until my next period. 

For me, weight loss, a healthy diet, drinking loads of water and cleaning my face properly have all contributed to my skin getting better. Weight loss wouldn’t normally be a factor for most people. But having PCOS, a lot of my symptoms improve when I am lighter. 

I find there are three main acne concerns to address:

  1. Clearing up the skin
  2. Preventing future outbreaks
  3. Repairing scarring

I now only get the occasional breakout on my chin, just before my period. I have put a lot of time and effort to get to this stage. And into repairing my skin to get a more even skin tone and a smoother surface.

If you or someone you know is suffering from PCOS related acne, (or just acne) or post acne scarring. There are lots of options available that don’t mean relying on prescription medication. You can heal your skin in other ways:

Clearing up the skin 

I have learnt that is very important to have a good skincare routine. One that keeps your pores clear and your oil levels where they should be. If you have PCOS, acne, or both, certain products could actually be counterproductive. 

When I was battling my acne Skintique didn’t exist. However, I have seen first-hand the results that people have achieved using a course of TheraClear

TheraClear is a specific acne therapy. It works in different phases to cleanse and improve the condition and health of your skin. To start with it unblocks pores and hair follicles, which is the route of acne. Then targets existing outbreaks by heating affected areas to destroy the acne. The process reduces the amount of sebum and oil your skin will produce. It also removes dead skin cells and then normalises the skin. 

In 6-8 treatments skin goes from congested and angry to clear and calm. It really does give you the perfect base and renewed skin health. There are lots of before and after shots here.

Preventing future outbreaks of Acne

Once you have got your skin under control, you’ll never be able to just leave it alone! I’m sorry to say. I’m am generally on top of my skincare every day now. If I have a lazy few days I always pay the price a few days later!

I use AlumierMD products on my face because they have a fantastic Acne Solution Series. If you invest in your skin with a treatment like TheraClear, you need to maintain the results. Alumier is available from Skintique.

I also have a HydraFacialtreatment every month or every other month. It just helps to deep clean my skin. Get rid of any blackheads that could flare up, and generally rejuvenate my face. It’s not necessarily a relaxing facial, some of the stages are. But most of them are performing very specific tasks that involve suction. My skin is pink straight afterwards and then smooth and mobile after about 20 minutes. 

Repairing scarring

If like me you have acne scarring on your skin, or dark patches of skin on your face. You might want to try Fractora Ablative Radio Frequency treatments. This is something I have been getting recently. Not only do I have scarring from old acne, but I also have dark patches of skin below my eyes; another symptom of PCOS. 

Fractora is a medium-invasive, non-surgical treatment. It uses a small handpiece with micro-pins. It is pressed onto your face to deliver radio frequency deep into your skin to stimulate collagen production.

Skintique recommends having 1-6 treatments but it’s really dependant on your skin and the results you see. I have experienced a vast reduction in my acne scarring. And as a fabulous bonus, have also got tighter skin and fewer wrinkles!

My skin is the best it has ever been. As I said, I have to keep on top of my daily routine. I use the right products and get regular treatments. The confidence it gives me is worth any amount of effort.

Book your Skintique acne consultation here.

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