Body Image Part I: My Physical Effects of Wacky Hormones

One of the biggest changes I’ve felt since not being on birth control has been changes in my skin. Many of you out there may have experienced other hormone-related physical changes (weight gain, hair growth…) since coming off BCP, but my cross to bear has been pervasive acne. Now this isn’t what some people refer to as “acne” when they get a few blemishes and think the world is going to end. This is serious, cystic, painful acne all over cheeks, chin and even lips. I’d had “acne” in the past, but I always sought out medical treatment (retin-a, antibiotics, other oral drugs I don’t even remember…) when it “blew up”, but this time, when trying to conceive, there have been no options.

For a while I tried treating it with my own home remedies to balance my hormones/clear acne. I completely cut added sugar out of my diet for 10 weeks (am still only having limited); I took apple cider vinegar every day; I took maca powder; I did the “oil cleanse” for 8 weeks…nothing was working! I kept getting horrible pimples and with very fair and sensitive skin, I ended up getting really bad scars. WARNING: These are never before seen photos–I’m quite embarrassed about my skin and rarely let anyone see my true skin! Only my family and a few close friends have seen me without makeup in the past year. I even wear concealer to the beach! On the right is obviously me now, with the scarring. I wasn’t thinking about taking close up pictures of my skin before I had trouble with it, so this is the best I have for a “before” picture showing the same cheek. Can you imagine going from this to that along with the shame/frustration of infertility?

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I have been seeing a naturopath for fertility, so when I mentioned to her how much the acne bothered me, she offered Traumeel and cutis compositum tablets to help with inflammation from within. Around that same time, I also started using a “Mia” face brush and “Fresh” brand cleanser. It was expensive, but I liked the way it felt.  After 8 weeks on the supplements and new, gentle face wash my acne had gotten a bit better. I then transitioned from oral medications to Traumeel cream that I applied twice per day as it was a lot cheaper than all the oral meds. I couldn’t afford the expensive face wash, so I transitioned to Neutrogena Ultra Gentle  face wash. My skin has been fairly break-out free for a little over a month, but the scars are still ever present, reminding me every time I look in the mirror that I have hormone problems and can’t get pregnant. All in all, my skin has been bad for almost a year now (the acne didn’t start until I’d been off the pill for several months). I’m now starting to investigate what I can do to help lighten the scars until I’m able to do laser surgery (after I’m done have kids, or when we stop trying for good).

So there is the background of my physical change since my wacky hormones have taken over my body. Stay tuned for the next installment of how these physical changes affected my self-esteem and emotions.

I am really scared to publish the post because of the pictures, but I guess you have to be BRAVE! So here goes noth….