Another One?! You Have Got To Be Kidding Me
If I get One More Pimple On My Face, I'm Gonna SCREAM!
What is the deal? I'm fifty years old. I have a religious skin care regimen and I eat really well. Why am I breaking out so much?! Have you asked yourself the same question? I've got enough to deal with, I don't want to also have to look at my face and see cystic acne! Concealer for more than my dark circles? This is outrageous. And I don't want to have to listen to my husband ask me, "Why are you breaking out so much? I've never seen your skin like this before." Who among us wants that reminder every couple of weeks?
Which brings me to another thing: there is no time table for the eruptions. Pimples emerge whenever they damn well feel like. In fact, I can start a day with perfectly clear skin and by the afternoon have a pimple blooming anywhere on my face, angry and red and standing firm with an attitude that one can only determine to be bad. Years ago, back when I was just a regular, monthly period getter, I'd have a break out right on schedule, about a week before my period arrived. So, you know, I could get ready! My products were queued up, assembled for battle, prepared to serve their monthly purpose and then returned to their proper place once the melee was over. It didn't take much and it didn't take long and for goodness sake, they worked! A slather here and there, in excess of whatever the directions stated (of course, because, I mean, this is war) and I was back to smooth clarity within 48 hours.
Well, those days are long gone. Now, not only do topical products not do the trick they used to, the acne itself is not what it once was. Like everything else, my zits have aged and are as hostile and erratic as I might feel. Perhaps they are, indeed, a reflection of me....haha! I'm not romanticizing these interlopers! I don't like them and I don't want them materializing on my face anymore. Let me add one more item of detail about these blasphemous blemishes: EVERY SINGLE ONE I get leaves a scar. A literal stain on my face. A reminder of it's ferocity and obnoxiousness, frankly. So then, once it's ugly head has surrendered to the fight, I am abandoned, left to clean up the mess on my face, and this, my friends, takes a long time. My brown complexion is kind of princess-y and hates to be disrupted by inflammation and lets me know, for months, that it didn't appreciate any interruptions to it's flow. Now, and perhaps forever more, it'll make me pay.
I know hormones are at the root of this evil but I also know that the further I dig, there is always more to it. When in doubt, I look to the gut. Whatever is going on in there is merely being reflected on the outside. Inflammation, leaky gut, stress, it's all occurring in the colon and I have to address this first to truly remedy the situation. I need to clean up and detoxify. I know I do because I've been living with chronic stress for a while now and certainly this particular time in all of our lives has been nothing short of disruptive. It doesn't take much for many of us to experience an increase in inflammation in the body and so, sure, why wouldn't breakouts be one of many indicators of this? I also know that certain toxins in the body will bind to estrogen receptors and cause that specific hormone, estrogen in this case, to behave badly. These "hormonal imposters" are called Xenoestrogens and mimic estrogen but aren't up to the task so instead they go rogue inhibiting your body's ability to properly regulate on it's own. There's no way to really get away from this as our environment is FULL of hormone disruptors, both internal and external. From the chemically treated foods we eat to the plastics used in well, just about everything, our bodies are working harder than ever to keep us functioning optimally. The least we could do is give it a hand and eat as best we can, use as many natural products as we can, get exercise, practice stress management techniques.....you get the idea. One thing I know I can do right away is add more fat to my diet. Healthy fat. Not like, chips and donuts. Bummer. More like avocado and olive oil, coconut oil, fatty fish like salmon, and nuts and seeds. I eat these foods all the time, daily in fact, but I've also been following up with a refined sugar chaser of some kind, think like, ohhhhhhhhh, I don't know, CAKE? And well, it shows.
When I can, I'll add a chemical peel to my repertoire and get back to a monthly facial routine. I had a peel once before. It was a series of 4 treatments, I think, and it was the weirdest, coolest thing ever. A solution was applied to my skin with a small paintbrush, which took about 5 minutes (you don't see it when you leave the skincare clinic, it just kind of dries and you leave) and maybe a day later, the peeling began. It was certainly weird but also horror movie kind of captivating to watch. Sheets, and I do mean sheets, of thin layers of skin began to peel away from my face. Sheet, after sheet, after sheet. Ew! I think it took another full day, but I was left with the clearest, smoothest skin! Ooh, momma! The dark spots were significantly lightened after one treatment and my face felt like glass! Even fine lines and wrinkles were diminished. After a few more treatments of this, you can imagine how awesome I thought I looked! Ha! Just kidding. But really, my skin was amazing. I need that again and when you can give your skin a regular bit of TLC, say a facial, you should. Skin really rewards you for treating it well, by being glowy and dewy and clear and smooth.
But first, back to the gut! Here's what I'm adding to my supplement list for the next three months. Please speak to your trusted health care practitioner should you want to address your skin concerns from both an inside/outside approach. I do think that's truly the only way, but I'm not a physician and don't know your particular needs or contra-indicators. I know this is a long list but I swear by supplementary support and am a bit of a self-experimenter.
Vitamin A: Among other things, Vitamin A supports eye health, cell growth, skin and mucous membranes. You don't want to take this forever in this form as too much for too long brings it's own issues around toxicity. Again, I'm doing a three month protocol.
Saw Palmetto: helps to temper the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, a form of testosterone that can lead to hair loss and acne. Think of this as essentially a hormone balancer. I find the capsule tastes a bit like soap, which is bizarre, but it dissipates quickly.
Glutathione: the body's primary antioxidant and a terrific detoxifier that finds toxins around the body (and bloodstream) and helps to escort them right the heck out.
Evening Primrose Oil: a source of GLA (gamma linolenic acid) which supports healthy skin, hair and joints. It's an essential fatty acid.
NAC: a fantastic metal detoxifier and free-radial disruptor, NAC (N-Acetyl-l-Cysteine) supports the lungs (asthmatics, investigate for yourselves) and decreases excess mucous in the body.
Fish Oil: Omega 3, found in high quality fish oil capsules help to balance hormones, especially in those suffering with estrogen dominance. In addition, studies have shown that Omega 3 fatty acid can decrease the very inflammation that contributes to that rapid shedding of sebaceous follicles, those pores near the surface of the skin from where pimples emerge.
Like I mentioned, this protocol is a bit of a detox plan and I will eliminate foods from my diet as well, including refined sugar, alcohol, gluten, corn and dairy. I'm already dairy free and mostly gluten free but I'm just giving you the full low down. I think that's what's called for here. While my hormones are taking their time figuring out when they will finally settle into menopause I know that I may face an array of physical changes that reflect my personal internal angst. While I wait for the dust to settle, I know that the outside just can't heal until the inside is in tip top shape. I'm going to do what I can!
Lastly, water, water, water! Drink more than you're drinking. I already drink a lot, at least half my body weight in ounces, but I want to remind you to do the same. We need to be hydrated for the very best skin and this means our colons need to be hydrated, not only so that they are plump and supple (think grape, not raisin) but also so we move our bowels regularly. Having a dry colon helps waste get trapped in there. Ew. We always want the garbage to get out, not hang around disrupting the integrity of our colon (leaky gut), acting constipated and well, "shitty."
Cheers to beautiful skin, Gals!