If you enter a room full of women and drop the bomb on a PCOS-related conversation, half of them will come up saying they either have the condition, or suspect they’re developing it. PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Disorder) or PCOD refers to a condition in which women of reproductive age may face a range of symptoms including hormonal imbalance, irregular periods, and cysts on the outer surface of the ovaries.
While the manifestation of the condition might vary in individuals, hormonal imbalance sits at the heart of PCOS. And that is where the blunder lies.
While the internet is flooding with influencers dolling out information about skincare, resorting to those sources for your skin can prove counterproductive. Since PCOS-related skin conditions are more internal than external, regular products and ordinary hacks can do you more harm than good.
Lack of hormonal harmony
PCOS is often characterised by acute hormonal imbalance. Ideally, our body produces hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone based on the signals it receives from our glands.
In PCOS, signals are impaired and the hormonal harmony goes for a toss. There is reduced production of female hormones and enhanced production of the male hormone (testosterone).
This can lead to a range of skin conditions including acute acne, enhanced hair growth (or hirsutism) on the face, neck, or chest, and hyperpigmentation (acanthosis nigricans) on the back of neck, arms, or other regions.
If you’re up against PCOS, your skin is not at its ordinary best. Taking care of your skin gets a little complicated during PCOS, but here are a few things to make the task simpler.
PCOS and skincare
1. Salicylic acid is your saviour
When it comes to minor acne, Salicylic acid cleansers are a great way to start your skincare journey. Benzoyl peroxide formulas with 2.5% concentration can also be used to reduce breakouts.
2. Acne is a no-touch zone
PCOD-induced acne usually shows up in the lower part of the face. They’re more deep-seated than usual acne and can lead to intense scarring. It’s better to avoid touching or popping your acne, let alone ask the parlour wali didi do it. The more you touch them, the more the bacterial growth increases, leading to greater breakouts.
3. Hormonal balance is key
Since your skin undergoes changes because of hormonal imbalance, it’s best to try to curb the same. Once your PCOS starts coming under control, your skin will automatically follow suit. Losing weight and sticking to a routine diet are the best ways to do that.
Incorporating a diet that is rich in antioxidants and low on glycemic index can help boost a healthier hormonal balance. Sugary, oily, and gluten-rich foods are inflammatory and can cause puffiness and bloating. It’s better to steer clear of the same.
4. Avoid comedogenic makeup
Even if you don’t have typically sensitive skin, it’s best to avoid comedogenic products (comedogenic products have ingredients that can clog pores, trap dirt, and lead to the formation of blackheads and blemishes) if you have PCOS. Non-comedogenic formulas don’t irritate the acne and can be left on the skin longer. They also don’t cause rashes or trigger further breakouts.
5. Water-based products all the way
When buying a moisturiser or sunscreen, look for formulas that have a gel or water base instead of oil. Water-based products are usually lighter on the skin, and ideal for people dealing with acne.
6. Listen to your doctor
One of the most important things to do while taking care of your skin with PCOS is consulting a dermatologist. Acute acne might be an indicator of major hormonal changes, and it’s important for the same to be diagnosed. Further, different skin types require differential treatment, and no influencer can be the judge of that for you.
7. Be a good label reader
Ideally, it’s better to stick to products that work well for your skin. If you feel like trying out new brands, you have to be a good label reader. Take up your time in reading the ingredient list before investing in that expensive serum. Compare the concentrations, and be wary of ingredients that haven’t worked for you in the past.
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