I have had one or two deep cysts every single period since I was born. I had no cysts this time.
What have I done to prevent periodic cystic acne?
I changed the following from 4 weeks ago to today:
1) I cut out dairy products completely (no sugar or gluten – only dairy products!). I had no intention of influencing my skin, just trying to get my baby to stop sniffing at the breast.
I always thought that a) dairy products didn't have a big impact on my acne (this sugar was my real acne trigger) and b) that I didn't consume large amounts of dairy products.
However, when I cut out dairy products, it became clear that it was a HUGE percentage of what I ate. Most of the time, our image of what or how we eat differs significantly from reality.
It can be helpful to keep a food journal to learn the real story.
NAC + REISHI
2) I added liver / skin support in the form of a NAC supplement and a Reishi supplement. Again I didn't try to do anything for my skin! What prompted the addition of these additions was:
I didn't get a good night's sleep with a newborn. Poor sleep can have a very negative effect on our body's detoxification pathways. I woke up feeling dizzy and hungover even though I wasn't drinking.
NAC is a supplement that although I am not a doctor, all new mothers should discuss their intake with their doctor. It has so many benefits in treating postpartum problems (but I'll focus on how it can help with acne in this particular post).
NAC helps replenish glutathione, arguably your body's most potent antioxidant – and one that is critical to skin health.
It is also important for combating cell damage. Some researchers believe that it can even contribute to longevity. These benefits extend to signs of aging.
NAC also plays an important role in your body's detoxification process. It can help prevent side effects of drugs and environmental toxins so effectively that doctors regularly administer intravenous NAC to people with a paracetamol overdose to prevent or reduce kidney and liver damage.
Liver detoxification is important to keep the skin clear, and I plan to go into the why in another post, but suffice it to say that certain hormones that can cause hormonal acne to flare up are common functioning liver metabolism becomes problematic in part due to an underfunction.
Animal studies (not yet any personal studies, but!) Show that NAC can stabilize blood sugar by reducing inflammation in fat cells and thereby improving insulin resistance – this is enormous for people with acne, since many acne patients have problems with insulin ,
When insulin receptors are intact and healthy, they properly remove sugar from your blood and keep the levels within normal limits.
Finally (but definitely not least) NAC and glutathione also strengthen immune health. This has positive ramifications for skin health and I don't know of a single mother who doesn't need an immunity boost!
In the past, I chose Reishi to support stress, so this time I came back to it. I struggle a little with postpartum anxiety and insomnia.
Reishi is said to help with depression, fatigue, anxiety and insomnia, and when I took it in the past I noticed a decrease in stress.
It is also said to help improve liver function and balance hormones in the really mild way that adaptogens are known for. This could be the reason why I see an improvement in my skin in a historically acne-inevitable time.
Preventive stain treatment
3) I started using Zen Physic not as a spot treatment but as a nighttime preventative.
I get acne in very specific, predictable areas – my chin just below the corners of my mouth and right around the base of my nose.
I do not recommend using ZP all over your face unless you just add a little to a facial oil and apply it as diluted.
I have just started treating my usual problem areas, although there are no mistakes around the 16th day of my cycle (when day 1 is the first day of menstruation).
I am really surprised that I did not get any noticeable acne during this time.
Usually, despite my efforts and even when my skin care comes to the point, one or two blemishes ALWAYS sneak through!
I will update this post next month, though I'm slowly introducing the milk ladder to see how my 5 month old daughter will react. So I don't think I'll be so strictly dairy free next month – fingers crossed.
I have to say that it was soooo difficult at first to become dairy-free, but now I'm totally used to it. I have found some amazing products that are dairy free but amazing replacement products. Would you like me to write a post about it?