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The Pill is a blessing and a curse

I was on the pill for 17 years to control my acne. It worked ok most of the time but my skin was never "perfect". Around the age of 30 I started noticing a couple of changes in my body and my emotional state and decided to do some research. (I have bipolar disorder and I've been taking Lamotragine for quite some time) My symptoms included: hyperpigmentation on my face, severe hair loss, emotional instability and moodswings, depression. After my 32nd birthday, I had lost enough hair and suffered enough depressive episodes to finally seek help. I consulted with my psychiatrist and he advised that The Pill could reduce the effecacy of Lamotragine by 35% in certain cases. He agreed that I should take a break from The Pill to see if it improved my state of mind. Hair loss was also linked to The Pill, as was the hyperpigmentation. After two months, my mood improved significantly and life was good again. But by month 3 my period stopped, severe cystic acne erupted from my face and back. It was painful and I had never felt so unattractive in my whole life. My parner was, and still is, so incredibly supportive and assured me that I was still as beautiful as ever. And so my journey started. Painful acne, unpredictable cycle, and depression because of my appearance. I couldnt even wear make up because it was too painful to touch my face. I was determined to limit the amount of chemicals I put in and on my body so I started experimenting with natural skincare products and Bentonite clay masks was first on the list. It just dried my skin out too much. So I moved on. I've used bicarbonate of soda, lemon, potato, liquirice soap, none of which made any difference. I then decided to take my treatment to an internal level. I quit dairy, grains and limited sugar intake. I also started drinking chasteberry tea. It is a natural, herbal remedy found in most health shops. The tea is brewed with hot water and is taken 3 times a day for a maximum of 3 months. The tea is vulgar tasting, but I did notice a difference. My cycle also improved slightly. It wasnt doing the trick so I researched more herbal remedies and came across mistletoe. It is a cold brew tea that is taken 3 times a day. It has a very subtle flavour and was a lot easier to stomach. I took it alongaide the chasteberry for a little while but then phased out the berried because I couldnt deal with the taste anymore. Within 4 months my skin started clearing up and my cycle became more stable. (I've always been patient in this journey. I know there is no miracle, overnight cure). In this time I also discovered a product called Eskamel. I started with their pimple ointment and was very impressed because it was so cheap and contained bentonite and tea tree oil. I then starred using the face wash and it worked WAY better than Cetaphil and was a fraction of the price. Eskamel can be found at Clicks, Dischem and even Checkers. The face wash costs around R35! My face was looking a lot better but I was still experiencing break outs and scarring. I decided to bite the bullet and went to see a dermatologist. I was prescribetd Clindoxyl gel and Tetralicyl tablets. The tablets gave me the worst rash of my life so I stopped taking it. But the Clindoxyl... Oh my word it's a miracle!!! I've been on it for 4 months and wow. Just wow. It bleached most of the pigmentation and it has stopped break outs (except for the odd period pimple on my chin). My skin is oilier, sure, but it's also plumper and feels healthier and more hydrated. I'm also less prone to break outs from new skincare products and make up. I use Cetaphil oil control day cream now. It's ok, but face still gets super oily. At night I use Clindoxyl and a wonderful new product I discovered - Aloe Ferox. Another super cheap, local product. Simply divine. It heals pimples and dry skin overnight. I still have a way to go. I want to do laser to get rid of the stubborn dark spots, but after 19 months of struggling my skin is looking great and my cycle has returned to "normal". Hang in there, dear reader. It's a long journey but slow and steady wins it!

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