These tips are for women, and are things that have helped me but may not help you. We all have different skin, different bodies, different lives.

Androgens seem to be my main enemy. I do not have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), and my hormone levels are normal, but my dermatologist said I’m one of those whose skin reacts strongly to androgens, anyway. I also have mild eczema, possibly very mild ichthyosis (dry, scaly skin — in some places, especially my shins. But an oily face and scalp!), and possibly very mild hidradenitis suppurativa. Yeah, my skin is fussy.

My Top Five Tips, plus a couple extras:

  1. Try drinking two cups of spearmint tea a day. Peppermint may also work, but spearmint may be stronger. Both have an anti-androgen effect… which is great if your skin is affected by androgens (is your chin your worst area?), but not great if you’re male. Both teas may inhibit iron absorption, so if anemia is an issue for you, steer clear. You’ll know within 3-4 days if there’s any positive effect for you. Here’s some research re: spearmint and androgens .
  2. Try matcha tea: matcha is powdered green tea leaves. I make a daily matcha latte using almond/coconut milk, sweetened with stevia. Green tea reduces the conversation of testosterone into the more potent DHT. Or so says PubMed.  (The best bargain I’ve found for a quality tea is Jade Leaf matcha, on Amazon.)
  3. Avoid milk products. Cheese, milk, yogurt, ice cream, cream, all that stuff. The worst pimple I ever had was after a day of eating mostly cheese and ice cream. Milk products apparently raise your insulin levels; insulin increases androgen production. Here’s a research article on Diet and Acne
  4. Avoid sugar and consuming masses of simple carbohydrates. White sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, those are the obvious ones. Pastries, candy, cookies, desserts, donuts, etc. See above: insulin –> androgens.
  5. If you absent-mindedly pick at your skin, get some fidget toys or find something like a small smooth stone that is pleasing for your fingertips to play with. Whenever you sit down somewhere that you’re likely to pick (TV, computer, while reading), pick up the toy first thing. Pick up the toy even though you feel no urge to play with it: the idea is to get your fingers busy before they have a chance to get bored and wander to your face.

And here are my extra skin advice tidbits:

For blotchy, irritated skin: Collagen hydrolysate is a fancy name for gelatin that’s been broken down. I’ve found that it reduces redness and flakiness on my face, and consume at least 4 tablespoons daily, mixed into coffee or my matcha latte. I buy it from Great Lakes Gelatin. If it will work for you, the “somehow fresher, calmer” look to your skin will start appearing after about ten days. Here’s some research on collagen and skin. Bonus: possible reduction in wrinkles.

Wear a hat with a wide brim on sunny days. I trust a hat more than I trust sunscreen, and a hat also means much less squinting in bright light. I found some nice ones at SunGrubbies, that come in multiple sizes — which is great for those of us with Neanderthal-sized heads.

CeraVe cleansing bars, moisturizers, sunscreen, and facial cleansing cloths seem to be the least offensive to my skin. The bars last way longer (for less cost) than the liquified cleanser. You can find CeraVe at most drug stores.

And that’s it for my skin advice.

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