- “Myth or Fact: most common conventional treatments for acne is the birth control pill?”
- “There are about 3 FDA approved birth control pills which are connected to treating Acne. Controlling your hormones can help to control your sebum production. But my advice would be to ensure you try everything else before orally trying to change your body.”
When breakouts leave behind a battle scar, we often ask ourselves what went wrong; even the blemish-busters don’t seem to work. Alizanne Davies, a Health and Skin care practitioner with more than a decade of experience, helps us distinguish a myth from a fact when it comes to healthy skin.
Skin is the largest organ of our body; it shields us from harsh conditions and pathogens. Here we highlight the importance of lifestyle changes that you can make to facilitate preventative and sustainable hormonal health. Read on for some expert advice, from popping to treating zits to the importance of all-around wellbeing.
We often wonder how these breakouts occur. Alizanne walks us through the pathogenesis of acne:
“Acne is triggered by an excess production of sebum; sebum is an oil made by glands in your skin. Along with these excess skin cells, sebum can clog pores and promote the growth of bacteria that contribute to acne.”
Alizanne has worked with prestigious health spas, such as Canyon Ranch SpaClub at Sea. Upon being asked about the #1 skin ailment that her clients faced, she recalled, “Congestion, dehydration and skin aging were the top three. My response has always been to know what someone is ‘doing’ about it. Are you following a carefully prescribed routine from an aesthetician/ dermatologist or are you hoping for a miracle?”
It’s a cycle. The famous saying “what goes around, comes around,” is quite applicable to our mind and body too. We are what we consume. Alizanne presses the importance of balanced — mental, social, and physical — wellbeing. Tensions such as stress can cause a lot of skin disorders and signs of hormonal imbalance, which in turn affects skin health.
Every three weeks, new skin cells generate. Results from newly applied products will only show up once the degeneration process of skin cells is complete. In other words, exfoliate to speed up the process and get rid of dead skin cells.
We must take in the right amount of regular nutrients and water, in order to nourish our way to incredible skin. A holistic approach to better health will slow down aging, boosting the appearance of your skin by promoting the rapid wear and tear of skin cells.
Extreme dry skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema, can also be combated with enough anti-inflammatory foods.
A significant cause of dryness and aging is a decrease in hormones — for example — oestrogen and progesterone in women, and testosterone in men.
Hormonal health monitoring and skincare are dependent upon each other. In women, fluctuating levels of oestrogen can affect our skin, such as in pregnancy elevated levels of oestrogen improves skin disorders like psoriasis. During the menstrual cycle skin thickness increases when estrogen levels are high, which then retards the process of skin aging. It also proves to be a protective shield against photoaging.
The most common skin disorder linked to hormonal imbalance is acne. It usually appears during puberty; even though it is not life threatening, it can leave behind scars. An everyday skincare routine will regulate sebum production and keep acne in check.
Androgens are a group of hormones that includes testosterone, which stimulates your skin to produce sebum. “Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which the ovaries produce an abnormal number of androgens, male sex hormones that are usually present in women in small amounts. PCOS can have many symptoms like missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods; excess body hair to Male-pattern baldness; acne or oily skin; weight gain, especially around the belly (abdomen); etc.,” says Alizanne.
Hormones such as oestrogen also target the liver, the metabolic powerhouse of your body. This means, from elimination of toxins to regeneration of skin cells, the liver does it all. Thus, your skin reflects the health of your liver.
So, how do we detox our liver from harmful hormones?
“First you need to improve your current diet, avoiding processed foods, refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine and other foods that contain liver-burdening chemicals. And then increase the foods that help support your liver such as garlic, eggs, onion, carrot, broccoli, watercress, leeks, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale. And finally increase your water intake as this aids liver detoxification,” suggests Alizanne.
Dry versus Dehydrated Skin
A phenomenon such as dry and dehydrated skin exists, wherein the skin can be oily and dehydrated. Confused? Turns out, dry skin is caused by having too few oil glands, whereas dehydrated skin is just a lack of water and not oil. “Increased production can be caused by many factors—or example—if your skin is dehydrated, your skin cannot produce water but can produce sebum/oil,” Alizanne says. This explains how it is possible to be acne-prone, regardless of whether you have oily or dry skin.
“Air conditioning and heating can alter the hydration of skin,” she says. The dry air pulls out moisture from the skin, making it an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. It is essential for all skin types to moisturise their skin, which forms a protective shield for the skin. One of the top moisturising agents is hyaluronic acid, to keep the pH balance of your skin in check.
The billion-dollar question: Does makeup lead to poor skin health?
“No! Some makeup lines contribute to and improve skin health. Brands that are vegan-friendly use ingredients like hyaluronic acid which help to plumb the skin. BUT you must ensure you are doing thorough makeup removal / double cleanse. And have a sound knowledge about its ingredients,” she says. But we mustn’t overuse anything, since unhealthy makeup habits can have long-term side effects, such as aging, dryness, oiliness and acne on the skin.
A simple regime for everyone to follow at home:
- Double cleanse your face
- Exfoliate with an effective scrub
- Moisturise and hydrate your skin
- Add serum with hyaluronic acid for skin hydration
- Stay hydrated with at least 2.7 liters of water intake.
Alizanne firmly believes strong skin maintenance treatments involving cosmetic electrotherapy, chemical peels, advanced facials (such as Hydrafacials, microneedling, laser therapy), and hormone replacements be done with appropriate monitoring, as every skin is different. Also, one of the top thirst-trap for your skin is hyaluronic acid (seen as HA on your product) is one of the top ingredients which helps to maintain the skin’s hydration level.
The secret regime to her radiant skin is out! She listed some essential ‘go-to’ ingredients in her products, such as the South African product ranges, which uses excellent elements, which contains vitamins, antioxidants and peptides. She also commends the principle of ‘inside-out’ treatment, especially for the bad weeks to combat oily skin.
“I believe in a ‘Holistic’ approach in health. Your inside-out treatment regime should include: Inside: treating the internal body with a diet suited to your personal needs; Outside: treating your skin to a diagnostic type of facial with an aesthetician who can prescribe the perfect customised routine to work towards,” Alizanne expresses.
There is no shortcut for healthy skin. All-around good health will get you on track to beaming skin. A few lifestyle improvements, such as incorporating light exercises, green leafy vegetables and religiously following a skincare ritual, will increase blood circulation, reduce stress, and eliminate toxins causing hormonal imbalance. We will then successfully nip the issue in its bud and strike the right balance between sustainable hormonal health and skin care.