Skincare for PCOS
Skincare Advice for PCOS
Written by Kelsey McGillis
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, challenging to pronounce, and more challenging for the 6-10% of Canadian women that live with it. For those who haven’t heard of it, PCOS is a condition resulting from higher than average androgen (male hormone) levels. Not only can this imbalance of reproductive hormones affect, well reproduction, it can have effects on all aspects of a woman’s life and body – including skincare.
For those living with PCOS symptoms, one of the most prominent effects is increased hair, especially on the face. Inconvenient at best and humiliating at worst, facial hair is something many women, with and without PCOS must deal with. However, the issues often don’t stop once the hair’s been removed, as redness and irritation can persist for weeks.
Women with PCOS must be especially careful with their skincare choices. Resident skincare expert Dr. Lisa Kellett recommends “a mechanical exfoliator, not a chemical,” she says. “Chemical exfoliants are harsh. For patients with PCOS, they need to be aware of the vehicle of their products. I would avoid the acids.”
In terms of discoloration and hyperpigmentation, Dr. Kellett suggests “…formulations that have a combination of azelaic acid, lactic acid and arbutin,” says Kellett. “Those will do two things: they’ll help the acne, but two, all of those different agents act as lightening agents. It’s a pathway to what we call melanogenesis, which is the synthesis of melanin or brown spots.”
Dermatologists are your best friend when it comes to creating personalized, effective treatment plans for PCOS skin. Though extra care must be taken, there is still hope for women suffering PCOS and their skin.