I’ve mentioned about a million times since I started The Cyster Story, that PCOS and its quirks are no joke. It pretty much raises hell on every aspect of your being, and certainly not in a good way.
My symptoms have always made me pretty self-conscious. Every time I notice my side burns coming in, witness a chin hair, or get a glimpse of my shimmering mustache in just the right light, I wonder why the hell I was so blessed to be diagnosed with a hormone disorder. I shouldn’t be able to grow more peach fuzz than a 14-year-old boy. Just sayin’. It can completely make you question your femininity and just make you feel down right bad about yourself. I tend to get uneasy during simple socializing such as having a close conversation or being in super bright light, say, in the car on a sunny day. It just seems to highlight the issues. Even though I know it’s not the case, I can’t help but think that everyone is staring at my imperfections. And feeling that way is just plain shitty.
To keep my symptoms under control I do have to do a little (ok, more than a little) maintenance. This way I can feel like the marvelous diva that deep down inside, I know that I am (and all of you are, too!). I’ve decided to put together a short list and share some of my favorite products that I use to keep my side effects down, and my self-esteem up.
SO MUCH HAIR!!!
Obviously the male hair growth pattern is the pits (no pun intended). This, for me, is one of the worst side effects of PCOS, and I think TONS of women can relate. I have it worse than some, but so much more mild than others. Many women actually can find hair even on their chests and back. Mine is generally a problem on my side burns, chin, and upper neck/lower chin area. I have dark, thick hair everywhere else (except my head, go figure), but that may be from a combination of genetics and my Italian background. who knows. If looking like a jungle animal was in, I’d be Americas next top model… SO here is what I use to get rid of that pesky hair.
Sally Hansen Extra Strength All Over Body Wax Kit – Although this stuff can get a little messy, it works wonders. It comes with a tub of wax, wooden applicator sticks, and the sheets of waxing paper. I usually only use this for my side burns. I find that it works better than the creams and the hair stays away for a longer period of time. I would say I (should) do this every 6 weeks or so… But I do get lazy! The wax strip waxing kit next to it in the picture above, I use for my toes… Yup, get hair there too! its pre-waxed strips that you vigorously rub between your hands to heat it up, and then apply to the area you’re getting ready to painfully rip from your body (being honest here people!). I’ve tried using these strips on my face before because they are easier and less messy, but it just left my face in a bumpy, red, broken out mess. I would definitely recommend going straight to the regular wax!
Nair Face Cream – I use this product after using the Sally Hansen Wax. I apply the cream around my sideburns, chin, and neck. I find this to be less harsh on my skin, and is good for removing my facial hair (which tends to be less thick and dark). You can leave this cream on for up to ten minutes, and wipe away with a warm cloth. I do find that my hair grows back a bit faster with this than the wax, but the wax is just too harsh to use, unfortunately.
Jolen Cream Bleach – This has been a staple beauty product for me for years. I have some kind of fear of waxing my upper lip… something about being afraid of prickling Mike when kissing him? I don’t know. Anyways, my hair isn’t thick, just dark, so I bleach it and leave it as is. This comes with a cream and a powder. You mix the two in the provided cup and smear it right on the peach fuzz. I usually don’t need to leave this for more than a couple of minutes.. and you really won’t want to because it starts to burn! If you have dark skin, it actually warns you to not leave the product on for too long as it can lighten the skin! I’m as pasty as a ghost, so no worries there for me. This stuff works like a charm!
A Good Razor – No, not for your face. I would never recommend using a razor on your face. Shaving can cause ingrown hairs, irritation, and redness. All things I don’t need to add to my problem list. But, for shaving the rest of my body (basically head to toe) I have to use a good razor. None of those girly ones work for me, no matter how good the quality or how many layers of “soothing shea butter” they say are on the razor. The only ones that work for me are the 15 dollar men’s razors with 5 blades. Now THAT’S what I am talking about! Silky smooth like buttah. JUST DO IT, you won’t regret it.
Tweezers – This is a pretty obvious one, but it’s one of my most used so it’s worth a mention. I basically stash these everywhere, bathrooms, car, purse, bedroom, at work. Everywhere. You never know when you’ll get a glimpse of a stray hair and need a good set of tweezers. I’ve bought expensive, name brand tweezers and been totally unimpressed. My favorite actually come from the Dollar Tree… and they’re glittery! Cheap and sparkly, with good grip. What could be better? (Did I just describe a prostitute?! 🤷🏻♀️)
Spironolactone – This is one I have a love-hate relationship. Spironolactone is actually a drug that is given to individuals with high blood pressure, or women with PCOS, apparently. I was put on this when I was first diagnosed with PCOS, and then came off it when I stopped taking birth control (It is very dangerous to be on this when you are TTC!!) After two years of trying to conceive, and not taking anything to help with my hormones, I decided to go back on both birth control and Spironolactone. The biggest positive this drug brings to Cysters is that it blocks the androgens that cause male-like hair growth. I generally try to find natural remedies for everything, but when you’re desperate, you’re desperate. I don’t know what the long-term affects would be if I were to stay on this medication, which is why when I discontinue taking it at the end of this year, I don’t plan to go back on it.
SO MUCH HAIR!!! (GOING DOWN THE DRAIN)
Hair loss is terrifying. There is not other way to put it. The unwanted hair is irritating and maybe a little more work than I want to put into myself, but at least there are steps you can take to get rid of it. Hair loss is unfortunately (mostly) out of my control. I use as many regrowth, shed preventing, strengthening hair products as I can, but the hair on the crown of my head has been undoubtedly thinning. I do as much as I can to prevent the loss but at the end of the day PCOS is just a big Biatch and wins the fight. Period. BUT, these are the products I use to help. I still have shedding, but who knows how bad it would be if I didn’t take the time and care I do.
Purador Organic Shampoo and Shea Moisture Black Castor Oil – I have tried many shampoos, but these are my two go-to’s. The Purador helps with shedding, and the Shea Moisture Castor Oil helps with regrowth. I usually alternate between the two. Another thing I do to help with the loss is to only wash my hair every other day. It was hard to adjust in the beginning, but now I just use a great dry shampoo on the off day, and no one can tell! I also get to buy really cute printed shower caps. SEX SYMBOL RIGHT THERE. For those that haven’t used an organic, all natural shampoo before, I will warn you that it is much different from the shampoos you are used to applying. They BARELY lather (the Purador especially). But it is something you get used to!
Castor Oil and Jojoba Oil – It doesn’t matter where you search, if you are looking for a product to promote hair growth, castor oil WILL come up. The natural oil that is plant derived helps with hair growth, prevents hair loss, and encourages the health of the hair you do have. It can also relieve dandruff, itchy scalp, and prevent split ends and inflammation. It’s also great for other beauty issues such as dry skin and loss of eyebrow hair and eyelash regrowth. Endless possibilities. You can use straight castor oil but it can be difficult to remove, so I threw in some Jojoba Oil that I found at TJ Maxx (Also great to promote hair growth and strength). I added a few drops of the Jojoba Oil to the container, and filled it the rest of the way with Castor Oil. The night before I wash my hair I add the mixture to my hair-line and scalp. A little goes a long way! Then put on that sexy hair cap we talked about earlier, and let the oil do its magic overnight. Just try to keep your mans hands off of you with that shower cap on ladies…. HA!
Prenatal Vitamins – When I discussed with my Primary Physician that my hair loss seemed to be continuing, she recommended that I go back on Prenatals. She said the blend of the nutrients are perfect for promoting healthy hair and nails. I have only been on them for a month, so I can’t tell you for sure if it is making a difference just yet!
Other Random (Helpful) Products
Palmers EVERYTHING – I seriously Love this brand. They are 100% Cruelty free, the products work, and they all smell amaze-balls. My two favorites are the Skin Therapy Oil and the Skin Success Fade Cream ( I do love the Tummy Butter pictured as well, I just don’t use it as often). The skin therapy pretty much helps with everything. Stretch marks, scars, dry skin, uneven skin tones. And did I mention it smells amazing?? Like chocolate and coconut. Yum. I honestly smother this stuff all over my body, usually before bed, and especially on my belly where the stretch marks are full force. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. The other product, Skin Success, is great for the skin discoloration caused by insulin resistance. I mostly have the darkened skin on my underarms, and I used to have some on the back of my neck (but that is gone). I apply a little bit of the cream on my underarms twice a day. It works wonderfully!
Birth Control – I know this is another controversial one, but sometimes you just gotta do, what you gotta do. Birth control helps put my hormones in order, and allows me to have a menstrual cycle every month. Something my body just can’t do on its own. I know there is something horrible about being on it. It makes me moody, and probably confuses the living hell out of my body when I come off of it, but it was just something I needed to do for a little bit. This is another medication I don’t know if I will go back on after we (hopefully) get pregnant with a little one. Only time will tell!
Vitamins and Supplements – I know I mentioned Prenatal Vitamins, but there a few others that I take along with that. **Discuss this with your Doctor. What works for me, may not necessarily work for you!**
- Fish Oil for Heart Health and Omega-3’s
- B12 for Metabolism Support and Mood Boosting
- D3 for Mood Boosting, it’s like sitting in the sun!
- Calcium for Healthy Bones (my prenatal only has 50% daily value)
and last but not least,
Fitbit Tracker – This thing has been so crucial in my weight loss journey. It keeps me motivated and accountable, especially when I have my weekly challenges with all of the online friends I have made. As we all know, living a healthy and active lifestyle is so important for PCOS ladies (and everyone else for that matter). If you want to be Fitbit friends, look me up! firstname.lastname@example.org
So that’s what I have for you, for now. I plan to try some new cruelty free products in the near future (that is all I purchase now) such as sugar waxing. I will keep you updated if I find something that you HAVE to try… What are some of your favorite products that you would suggest? And don’t ever forget, you are beautiful just the way that you are. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. If you are more comfortable letting your natural glow shine through, than you go for it, girl! Don’t ever let what someone else thinks or says, dull your sparkle!
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