Here’s what’s been going on with me and my face for the last couple of months. It’s been a confusing time. A time where I felt I was close to perfect skin just to be ripped off of that promise.
Experimental fail caused my cystic acne to come back
I did a little experiment this past winter, where I stopped taking vitamin D and looked to see if tanning beds would be an option. I didn’t take vitamin D for two months, and during the last month things started to unfold: Vitamin D is really important for hormonal health. As it is in fact, a hormone itself.
How did I know something was way off? Well, I started experiencing severe PMS, the kind that I had forgotten about. Except for occasional tender breasts, I haven’t had the emotional PMS I once had before entering this health journey. But also, my skin started to break out.
When an accidental hit in the head (by myself lol) caused me to uncontrollably break down and cry during the week before my period (very emo of me), I felt like enough is enough. I told my boyfriend that the experiment is over, tanning beds are not an option for Vitamin D. We bought vitamin D and within a week my cystic acne calmed down. But overall my hormones never fully recovered it seemed.
Hard to shake off Hormonal Imbalances
During the months that followed my period were all over the place, like it tried to sync to the moon again. My acne that was just before this mess almost non-existent, didn’t go away either and centered around the jaw and neckline this time – which usually is an indication that it’s hormonal. I changed up my skin care, started taking probiotics again, and even kept taking vitamin D during the summer. But nothing seemed to balance back my hormones. For all it was worth, it seemed to be getting worse!
I know hormonal imbalances can take months and even years to fix. But common, I felt like this ailment can’t be that severe.
Eventually, I felt like I’ve had enough. I was stubborn to not change my diet this time as I wasn’t eating much different than before this happened and my skin and period were 95% perfect. And from experience, when hormones are balanced you can pretty much eat anything and so diet isn’t the factor here. Unless something you’re consuming is causing this imbalance; but on a vegan diet, it’s very much unlikely to consume any hormone disruptors.
After some research about hormones, I came to the conclusion that I might suffer from low progesterone and maybe too much estrogen, or just general PCOS (which my mom had at my age). I got very pulled to take the herb Vitex which naturally increases the production of progesterone. But after scrolling through forums and consulting with others who had taken it, I felt like I should test my hormones first. Just to be sure that it is in fact low progesterone and nothing else that’s off.
And so I got interested in doing a hormone analysis, to once and for all figure out what the f*ck is wrong with me. Because did you know that there are like 13 different estrogens that your body produces?!
I researched and found that it’s pretty hard to get a doctor to just check your hormones (in Sweden) unless it’s so bad that it’s handicapping you (you need to have a good case now). I also live in a pretty small town, and it’s very hard getting a private doctors appointment, most of them are booked. And even they can’t just hand out blood tests without a consultation first.
Eventually, I found a Kinesiologist who offered a spitting test that she’ll then send to the USA where they do the test. It might be a scam, but uhh, I was so desperate. But of course, I ended up doing something else instead.
Meeting with a Kinesiologist
Out of interest and curiosity (because I’m always open to anything), I let her guide me into doing a “detox” before we addressed my hormonal problems. I also let her do an “intuitive food allergy-check”. If you don’t know what Kinesiology is, you can read about the quackery here.
But what she simply did was tap me on different body parts that are supposedly connected with other internal organs to conclude what my body seems to need. In my opinion, it’s very much based on intuition. Now I’m not saying it’s BS, some have good intuition, others don’t… It’s like acupuncture, but without needles. I seriously don’t know how it works or if I believe in it, as I’ve lately adopted skepticism to all kinds of things that don’t mix some real evidential science into their practice. If you feel like I’m being hypocritical here it’s because I’m one of those persons: “Try everything once”, right?
For instance, the food allergy test (as well as what herbs and supplements I should take) was done by placing the food or herb on my navel and then checking with my arm or leg and by tapping another part on whether my body gets “strengthened” or “weaken” by it. She did an example right in front of me where she held up my foot and told me to push. I can’t tell if she just holds my foot much stronger or confused my body by tapping somewhere else when she pointed out that X weakens me. As it happens so fast.
Supplements were held over my third eye and lifted to see if I “needed it”; The higher it got lifted, the greater the need. It all sounds and feels very hokey pokey, and if you’ve been to a Kinesiologist, you might know what I’m talking about… But somehow in our desperation, we let it all happen in front of us. There’s really no difference in our minds between a real doctor and a scam artist when all we want is help with our problems.
But according to her: I don’t have gluten allergy, but should avoid it anyway because she suspects that I have a case of leaky gut syndrome in my small intestine; Brazil nuts and Hazel Nuts are a no-no; I shouldn’t eat white rice, mung beans, and beluga lentils; I should not consume citrus fruits; Meat and Dairy products aren’t good for my body (like I didn’t know that already); Otherwise I seemed to be able to ingest most foods.
I went to her for a consultation and an order on hormone analysis but walked out of there spending my money on herbs, detox, and vitamin E oil. She also wanted me to take magnesium drops, but I seriously needed to draw a line somewhere. The money I was going to spend on checking my hormones was now blown on these herbs. I was in a way upset with myself that I didn’t have more balls to say no, but even more so that when I got home I saw that I could’ve gotten the detox much cheaper off on the internet! Like this is why I avoid all kinds of doctors and rarely ask for help… But I kind of have to blame myself because in a way I wanted to be consulted and guided to what might be off with me.
She set me up with Holistic’s Ultra Detox together with UltraBalans herbal capsules as she suspected I had some parasites, fungus or candida left. (Only sold in Sweden) I’ve talked about Holistic before, as it’s the brand of probiotics that helped cure my acne in the first place. It’s a quality brand, no doubt about it, but was it really necessary? She also added high-quality vitamin E oil from Holistic to reduce the acne/inflammation I was having at my jaw and neck-area. I was also recommended to put vitamin E oil on my scars and inflamed area. However, throughout the years of experimenting, I’ve gotten pretty picky of what I put on my skin. Even when it comes to something as harmless as vitamin E oil! Not to mention that the vitamin E capsules are pretty expensive, and I just know they’ll do much more good on the inside than on the outside.
While she talked about how vitamin E made a small scar from a mole heal much better and faster on her, it’s just that: anecdotal. And most of the praises of vitamin E is of that nature. But there’s really no studies to support this claim. Instead, it can lead to a high incidence of contact dermatitis. Yes, the studies may have only been done on d-alpha tocopherol and not on all the other three. But I can also add to that my own experience with using oils high in vitamin E (Argan oil and Sasha Inchi to name a few) for over two years: if vitamin E or even oils overall were so highly effective on scars I wouldn’t turn to chemical peels and needling. Nuf said.
For the detox she wanted me to cut down on the bananas and go on a low sugar/GI diet just to not “feed” any yeast or bacteria, as well as avoid any of the allergen foods that came up on the “test”. She assured me that some I would be able to consume after the detox. She was a bit concerned that I would lose weight and told me to add “healthy fats”. I can say that the first week was hard for me and I was starving. I played with the higher fat, but it was slowing my training big time. Fats just don’t feel right in my body and makes me feel sluggish. In the end, I scrapped all of her advice and just avoided gluten and high sugar soy products – but allowed myself a small portion on the weekends (Yes, I’m human). And you just can’t take carbs from a cyclist. You just can’t.