Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
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If you have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), you’re probably no stranger to cystic acne. In fact, I would go as far as stating that acne was the bane of my existence when I suffered from PCOS. Those painful, swollen cysts forming underneath my skin along the jawline drove me crazy. It wasn’t just the pain either; acne raged a battle against my self-esteem and confidence as well. I wanted to burrow and hide underneath the covers until kingdom come. Because I couldn’t bear to look at my face in the mirror every morning.
Sadly, I couldn’t stay in bed forever. And I was also tired of trying course after course of antibiotics in the hopes that ONE would dry out my cystic acne. I wasn’t that crazy about using acne-treating topical cortisone ointments on my face either. While they did dry out the pustules, the dryness, flaking and scarring made my face look like a battleground — one where acne was undeniably winning. Also, they didn’t really help in the long run. While OTC products could treat current acne legions, they did not stop new acne cysts from forming.
One thing was clear – it was time to ditch all OTC products and try a natural skin routine. I did a lot of research on how to treat PCOS acne. I focused mainly on holistic, all-natural treatment ideas that helped cure acne from inside out. And that’s how I found aloe vera, a miracle plant for anyone who suffers from acne and PCOS.
When it comes to home remedies for PCOS and acne, aloe vera tops the charts. At least for me, it does. Aloe vera is a shrubby, pea-green succulent plant. It is indigenous to dry regions of Asia, Africa, Europe and America, and is quite common in India. Legend has it that Queen Cleopatra used it as a part of her beauty regime. If it was good enough for her, it was good enough for me too!
Aloe Vera contains 75 potentially active constituents. It includes vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids. These give it miraculous healing properties that make it an ideal all-natural solution for sunburns, wounds, and eczema. It’s also touted for its anti-aging and moisturizing properties.
Fresh aloe gel has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent properties that help treat acne naturally, without irritating the skin or causing dryness. It contains 6 antiseptic agents —namely lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamonic acid, phenols and sulfur. All of these are highly beneficial for acne-prone skin as they have an inhibitory action on fungi, bacteria and viruses. These are what make aloe vera one of the best natural treatments for PCOS acne.
Additionally, studies have also found the effectiveness of aloe vera when used in combination with topical retinoids. The combination helps in preventing cutaneous irritations. It is also a more effective treatment for acne vulgaris. In case you wish to continue with the ointments prescribed by your dermatologist, you can safely use aloe vera gel on your skin too. It will help you in combatting dryness, flaking, irritation and pigmentation.
It’s no secret that aloe vera works wonders for acne when applied topically. I usually cut up a leaf, scoop out the gel and store it in the fridge. The cooling, soothing gel really calms down irritated acne-ridden skin while keeping it moisturized. Since the gel is transparent, I don’t even bother with washing it off. Simply make sure that you cut up a small section of the leaf at a time and keep the leaf refrigerated. You can also buy fresh, organic aloe vera gel in a bottle if you don’t have an aloe plant at home.
You’ll find a lot of tips to make DIY Aloe Vera Face Masks online. Adding honey to the face mask further helps moisturize the skin while soothing acne. My favorite face mask is made by blending together aloe vera gel, honey, few drops of rose water and a pinch of turmeric to make a smooth paste. Apply evenly all over the face and neck. Allow it to dry for 20-30 minutes. Wash off gently with water and pat skin dry.
When my acne was at its worst, a face pack made with a teaspoon of aloe vera gel combined with few drops of tea-tree essential oil was very helpful. I used to leave this face pack on overnight and wash it off in the morning.
My research revealed that aloe vera waged a two-pronged attack on PCOS. Applied topically, aloe vera helps heal and soothe cystic acne. But when ingested, aloe vera helps restore hormonal balance and improves insulin sensitivity. After all, imbalanced hormones and insulin resistance lie at the core of PCOS. So aloe vera also helps treat PCOS from within. This is why aloe vera is one of the best natural treatment for PCOS. It doesn’t just fix your skin, it also fights PCOS from within to give you freedom from acne once and for all.
A clinical trial on rats conducted at M.S. University of Baroda, Vadodara tried to get at the bottom of why aloe vera works for PCOS. Charles Foster female rats suffering from induced-PCOS were treated orally with aloe vera gel formulation for 45 days. Researchers found that aloe vera gel formulation exerts a protective effect against PCOS. It does so by ‘restoring the ovarian steroid status and altering key steroidogenic activity’. Encouraged by their findings, researchers conducted another rat study at the same institute. They find out that aloe vera gel can also cause a significant reduction in plasma triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels. It also causes an increase in HDL cholesterol. All of these are additional good news for women suffering from PCOS.
In fact, human studies have also found that aloe vera may reverse impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance observed in conditions of prediabetes/metabolic syndrome. Another study found that treating pre-diabetic patients with aloe vera extract could reverse impaired blood glucose within four weeks. The same study found that after eight weeks it could alleviate their abnormal lipid profile as well. By improving insulin sensitivity and lipid profile, aloe vera helps reverse PCOS from within.
It’s easy to add Aloe Vera to your PCOS acne diet plan. I highly recommend a glass of aloe vera juice in the morning. It helps flush out toxins and is loaded with vitamins and minerals. You can easily buy aloe vera juice from a health food store or even online. Do make sure you buy an organic variety and pick 100% aloe vera juice without any added sugars and preservatives. Always refrigerate aloe vera juice.
However, if you have an aloe vera plant at home, it’s not that hard to make your own fresh aloe juice. Cut a leaf of aloe and you’ll find a sticky, transparent gel inside with a slight green tinge. Scoop out this gel and keep it refrigerated. Make sure you use this scooped out gel quickly, within 24 hours preferably. Personally, I like to cut up one leaf at a time because aloe gel can spoil very easily.
Once you have fresh, pure aloe vera gel, you can use it in many ways. I have tried the following, but feel free to come up with your own recipes.
I do not add sugar to any of these preparations. But feel free to add a natural sweetener like honey or stevia to make your drink more palatable. A word of caution here: Do not overdo aloe vera intake as it can work as a mild laxative.
Since aloe vera is rather easy to grow, I highly recommend that you get your own plant. While both aloe vera juice and aloe vera gel are easily available in India, nothing beats fresh aloe! Believe me when I say this – aloe vera makes the perfect house plant. Sadly, I don’t have a green thumb, but my aloe plants thrive. They require such little care!!! Keep aloe vera in a sunny spot, whether indoors or outdoors, and water it twice a week. That’s about it!
I got one large aloe plant that has now become 5 large aloe plants. It thrives in the hot, humid climate of India. I don’t add any fancy fertilizers and the plants are growing very well in the simple, local soil I had access to. Now whenever I want to use a piece of aloe vera for my skincare regime or wish to add a tablespoon of the gel to my morning smoothie, I cut a fresh leaf and scoop out the gel. It’s that easy!
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ALOE VERA: A SHORT REVIEW - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/ Effect of Aloe barbadensis Mill. formulation on Letrozole induced polycystic ovarian syndrome rat model - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3117319/ Aloe barbadensis Mill. formulation restores lipid profile to normal in a letrozole-induced polycystic ovarian syndrome rat model - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3326757/ Effects of Aloe veraSupplementation in Subjects with Prediabetes/Metabolic Syndrome - http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/met.2012.0066 Improvement of glucose and lipid profile status with Aloe vera in pre-diabetic subjects: a randomized controlled-trial - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4399423/ Effect of Aloe veratopical gel combined with tretinoin in treatment of mild and moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind, prospective trial - http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09546634.2013.768328