The Problem With Hormones…

Today’s post is something a little more personal than usual programming but I thought it would be a interesting topic to write about and share.

About 3 months ago, I decided that after nearly 10 years of being on the contraceptive pill, I no longer wanted to pop a pill every day containing oodles of fake hormones. I’d come across a few articles including this one by Gala Darling which made me question if I really knew how much the pill was affecting me.

So, I decided to just stop taking it… a month before I moved across to the other side of the world. Stupid timing, I know but once I have a idea in my head, there’s no shaking it. The big life changes that coincided have meant that it’s a little hard to tell the difference now that I’m off it- for instance, I feel happier (not that I wasn’t before) but that is also probably because we are loving our new life in London. One think I definitely have noticed is that I’m not feeling so tired all the time!

There has been a downside to it all and that’s my skin. I had acne as a teenager and while it had started to calm down a little by the time I went on the pill at 17, it significantly cleared up once I was on it. I had hoped that by now, I would have outgrown the pimples completely and wouldn’t have to deal with it but knew it would be possibility when I decided to stop.

Well, those pimples came back with a vengeance and I was faced with the worst skin I’ve had since I was 14/15! It got worse after the move to London and I did some reading about how the ‘hard’ water (containing lots of minerals) can be bad for your skin and hair and so I bought a shower filter. That helped a little but I was still really struggling and it definitely knocked my confidence a little especially since I was getting booked for modelling jobs!

After weeks of trying to do all the right things and lots of googling, I asked for advice from a small Facebook group I’ve been in for years. Many of them suggested cutting out dairy which was something I’d read about but was avoiding because, well, I do love my cheese!

But, I decided to give it a go. The improvement was astonishing. In as little as 24 hours, everything was starting to fade and within a week I was exclaiming to Matt ‘look at how great my skin looks!!!’ about 3 times a day. It’s now been just over two weeks and while I’m not completely zit free, it’s a 80% improvement on what it was. When I think about it, it all makes sense- when you are on the pill, it’s working to stabilize your hormones but cows milk and products made from it are full of hormones. So, I’m assuming that when I came off the pill, the dairy affected me more as there wasn’t something working to stabilize it all.

What’s it meant for my diet? I’ve stopped drinking coffee completely (I was a 1-3 cup a day gal) and switched to black teas. Instead of my usual yogurt and granola for breakfast, I now have Almond Milk with Oats but have also just bought some soy yogurt to try. I now eat dark chocolate if I need a sweet fix and because cheese is probably my favourite food, I’ve got a lacto-free cheese that I’ll have small portions of or choose buffalo cheese.
The switch has also meant that I’m just generally eating healthier too! I’m hoping that I’ll be able to have a big bowl of creamy pasta or cheese and crackers every once and a while without major ramifications but for now I’m trying to be reasonably strict while my skin sorts itself out.

I’m really happy to have been able to find a solution to the problem that didn’t mean taking medication or going back on the pill. I can’t believe how fast the results were and am so glad I decided to try it. I wish I’d taken a photo of my skin at it’s worst so that I could show you a comparison.

If you are struggling with similar issue, it could be worth a try for you too! We are all different and acne occurs for many reasons but at least there’s no harm in trying and it’s better than some of the crazy acne medication out there!


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7 replies »

  1. If you really love your dairy products, you should try organic (not homogenized) milk and other organic milk products. Organic un-homogenized milk contains less hormones than regular milk, which is so processed that it’s probably the reason why so many people are lactose intolerant nowadays (especially in Scandinavia). People in the old days didn’t have the same issues, because their milk was naturally organic. Either way, if you can’t give up dairy products for eternity, try organic products. I heard even some lactose intolerant people can drink organic milk if it’s not homogenized 🙂 Also feta and other goat cheese probably could work for your cheese addiction without harming your skin, but since I don’t have similar issues with my skin, it’s just a suggestion.

    Personally I love milk, but if it doesn’t work for you, I hope you find something you like. I can really recommend Oatly products, especially their chocolate drink, which totally works for both milk and chocolate craving without actually having any milk (as the name suggests, it’s made from oat and therefore naturally sweet with low calories, yum yum). I don’t know if it’s available in UK, but if you do find Oatly, I totally recommend. I also love lime flavored soy yogurt, it’s much better than regular one which can upset empty morning stomach, even though I don’t have lactose intolerance. Some soy puddings are also great, especially the chocolate ones that hide soy taste most soy products have despite flavoring.

    • Oatly is available in the UK at specialist stores, websites and larger stores of the supermarket just beware when it’s on offer as they run out fast.

  2. I’ve suffered from acne since puberty and at 41 years old it’s getting worse. If course I have to stop the pill because of my age so am kind of dressing the big breakouts to come, but look forward to less weight and not being tired.
    We’re already cutting out dairy and both my husband and I notice the difference. Fingers crossed that and a few other changes makes a difference to my acne

  3. I am lactose intolerant so love the lactofree range! I wish that it had been available 30-odd years ago when I was a baby, when even soy products were as rare as hen’s teeth.

    That aside I had to stop taking the pill due to oestrogen feeding cancer and I’ve found that my skin has cleared up hugely since I stopped taking it. Too many hormones!

  4. I’m super late to this party, but as a fellow “milk is the devil for my skin and my GI tract” member, I have had a lot of success with recipes from Oh She Glows. http://www.thewholetable.com/gallery/life-affirming-nacho-dip/ http://ohsheglows.com/2011/08/18/quick-dirty-5-ingredient-vegan-cheeze-sauce-recipe-challenge/ I can’t eat most dairy free cheese, because I have a hard time with cassein, and many are made with that. But her recipes make me happy.

  5. I just wanted to add that soy is a big hormonal problem causer. You may want to steer clear. It sounds like you’re doing great and have a really positive attitude about your new lifestyle! Way to go, taking charge of your own health.

    • Thanks April! Yeah I’ve read that too since this post and apart from a few soy treats here and there have tried to steer clear. It’s so hard!

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