PCOS affects one in every ten women in India. Along with an irregular cycle and fluctuating weight (among many other serious problems), PCOS can also take a serious toll on your skin. Combatting these skin problems without understanding the issue at its root will exhaust you mentally, physically and financially. So today, let’s look at all the ways in which PCOS affects your skin.
PCOS and Insulin Resistance
One of the most common health risks of PCOS is insulin resistance. Insulin is crucial for maintaining blood sugar levels, and in PCOS the cells don’t respond to insulin, signalling for more of the hormone to be released. This is what causes a whole variety of skin problems.
Insulin Resistance and Skin & Hair
High insulin levels in the bloodstream stimulates the ovaries to secrete more testosterone than normal. This causes aggressive acne, balding and excessive growth of facial hair.
This can also trigger normal skin cells to reproduce at an abnormally rapid rate, resulting in discolouration of the skin and dark patches.
The hormonal issues can also cause oil imbalance in the skin, leading to oily, acne-prone skin on the face but dry, patchy skin on the limbs.
How to combat these skin problems?
You cannot achieve long-term solutions for PCOS-induced skin problems without addressing the disorder itself. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for PCOS, but the condition can be suppressed, managed and controlled, which in turn will benefit your skin too.
Consult with a gynaecologist for a treatment course. If your skin problems persist, see a dermatologist who will prescribe medication without affecting your overall treatment program.
The symptoms of PCOS differ across individuals, so it’s always better to seek a personalised treatment plan, especially for acne.
Having said that, a few basic skincare dos and don’ts should help you.
- Read the label of each product carefully. Some of your favourite products could contain chemicals that are endocrine disruptors, which can aggravate your condition. The fewer ingredients, the safer it is for you.
- Find a skincare line devoted to making clean, safe products.
- To reduce dark patches, try an AHA or BHA exfoliant (no scrubs), use products with brightening ingredients.
- Increase the amount of good fats (avocado, coconut oil, tender coconut pulp, almonds & walnuts, sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds etc.) in your diet.
- Have probiotics. If you have PCOS you are more prone to inflammation, and probiotics will help you control this, clean your system and help clarify your skin.
- Start your mornings with a cup of matcha. Have about 2-3 Amlas per day. Also include a glass of green juice (green cucumber + celery + mint leaves + ginger and lemon in 200 ml chilled water) and turmeric in your daily diet.
- Lose about 5-10% of your total body weight (in case of weight gain) to restore insulin sensitivity, reduce testosterone levels and control acne.
- Focus on incorporating a healthy diet, fitness regime and effective stress management tools as a lifestyle change as opposed to a quick fix.
- Over-wash your face to minimise oiliness and control acne. It’ll strip your skin of natural oils and damage the skin’s mantle.
- Use heavily-scented products.
- Consume refined sugars and processed carbohydrates, trans-fats, non-organic meat and dairy products.
- Use granulated face scrubs to fix acne. It’ll only cause acne scars and widen pores, doing more harm than good.
Treating your skin while also dealing with PCOS can be a long and stressful journey with many trials and errors. Don’t hesitate to consult with a dermatologist in case of persistent problems.