The most major impact of PCOS aka Polycystic Ovary Syndrome may be on the regularity and flow of your period, but it also has a major impact on your skin and hair. This is because hormonal imbalance causes a lot of changes in your body, leading to issues such as dry skin, inflammation, itchiness and hair loss.

To help you get a better idea of how PCOS affects THE skin, and what can you do to prevent your skin from becoming extremely dry and flaky due to the condition, we roped in dermatologist, Dr Mrunal Shah Modi to answer all your queries.

But before we begin, let’s get some basics out of the way…

 

What exactly is PCOS and who does it affect?

What exactly is PCOS and who does it affect?

PCOS is a health problem that affects 1 in 10 women of child bearing age. It throws the hormones in your body out of balance leading to irregular or prolonged menstrual periods, or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. PCOS is also a common cause of infertility in women.

 

How does PCOS affect skin?

How does PCOS affect skin?

According to Dr Mrunal, “PCOS affects the skin in many ways. The most common one being unwanted facial hair on the chin, cheeks and jawline. It also leads to hair growth on the chest and abdomen, thickening and darkening of the skin around the neck and underarms, which is known as acanthosis nigricans. Itching and excessive dandruff is also very common.”

PCOS and skin dryness is a problem that becomes exceptionally defined during the colder, winter months as the harsh climate can aggravate dry and itchy skin a lot more.

Since winter is just round the corner, here are certain things you can do to prevent PCOS-induced skin irritation and itching:

 

Use a hydrating moisturiser

Use a hydrating moisturiser

Since dry skin is a common symptom of PCOS, the best way to deal with it is to have a moisturiser handy at all times. “Wash your face with a gentle cleanser that includes nourishing and moisturising ingredients at least twice a day. Follow this up with a hydrating moisturiser to reduce the dryness caused by PCOS,” recommends Dr Shah. It is also important to use a body lotion right after a shower to help seal in moisture and keep your skin soft, supple and itch-free. In case you have sensitive skin, avoid moisturisers with strong fragrances and essential oils as that could end up irritating your skin further.

 

01. Use a hydrating moisturiser

01. Use a hydrating moisturiser

Since dry skin is a common symptom of PCOS, the best way to deal with it is to have a moisturiser handy at all times. “Wash your face with a gentle cleanser that includes nourishing and moisturising ingredients at least twice a day. Follow this up with a hydrating moisturiser to reduce the dryness caused by PCOS,” recommends Dr Shah. It is also important to use a body lotion right after a shower to help seal in moisture and keep your skin soft, supple and itch-free. In case you have sensitive skin, avoid moisturisers with strong fragrances and essential oils as that could end up irritating your skin further.

 

02. Lower your shower temperature

02. Lower your shower temperature

Having a hot water shower every single day can be quite stripping on your skin. It zaps away all the natural moisture from your skin, leaving your skin absolutely dry and flaky, which worsens itching btw. Lower the temperature of water and try to have baths with lukewarm water. But if you cannot avoid hot water baths, try cutting down the shower time (under 10 minutes) and immediately apply a generous amount of moisturiser for better results.

 

03. Be wary of acne

03. Be wary of acne

If you think that just because your skin is dry and itchy, that you are safe from acne, you are absolutely wrong. If your skin is dry, it ends up producing more oil to compensate for the lack of moisture, and this leads to various issues such as clogged pores and acne. The best way to deal with this problem is to cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise regularly without fail. According to Dr Mrunal, “You must include a salicylic-based cleanser if you have excessively oily skin. This not only helps inhibit excess sebum production but also eliminates existing acne and prevents the appearance of future breakouts.”

 

04. Manage PCOS holistically

04. Manage PCOS holistically

While there is no cure for PCOS, it still makes sense to chart out a plan with your doctor about this to manage the symptoms better. Apart from taking medicines, lead an active lifestyle, manage stress and eat a wholesome, healthy diet. These small lifestyle tweaks will definitely help balance your hormones, and in-turn help better manage the symptoms of PCOS.

 

05. Visit your dermatologist

05. Visit your dermatologist

If you’ve tried all of the above measures and they don’t really seem to work, then it would be advisable to pay your dermatologist a visit. He/she will be able to prescribe the right kind of creams and medicines to provide relief from the issues.

 

Dr Mrunal’s tips to manage PCOS effectively:

Dr Mrunal’s tips to manage PCOS effectively:

  • Lose the excess weight as that helps to reduce the androgen or male hormone levels in your body, which in turn helps to reduce the symptoms to a great extent.
  • Avoid consuming refined carbohydrates, sugars, oily food and processed foods.
  • Indulge in some form of physical exercise regularly.
  • Ensure that you consume a healthy diet that consists of green leafy vegetables and fruits.