Jacqui Lamplugh
Women’s Health & Natural Fertility Specialist

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How to come off the pill without breaking out

Thinking of coming off the pill and are worried about skin breakouts and acne? For many females this is a real fear especially if the reason you started taking the pill in the first place was to treat acne. This fear often leaves women feeling like a prisoner to the pill and dread the day they have to stop it. The fact is pill withdrawal acne peaks 3-6 months after coming off the pill. But you can prevent this simply, by how you nourish your body.

 

So why do we get acne once we stop the pill?

The pill prevents acne by suppressing our skins natural production of sebum (oil). So when we stop the pill the body over compensates by producing more sebum than ever before resulting in acne. After this period of oil binging the skin starts to find its homoeostasis (the happy oil producing medium) and the acne clears up. The key to preventing the post pill acne is to start nourishing your body before you stop taking the pill.

So what can you do?

The treatment plan should start 2 months before stopping the pill. And what does this treatment plan involve I here you ask? These 5 simple steps….

Sugar free

We all know how bad sugar is for our bodies but did you also know it’s extremely inflammatory and reduces collagen production by the skin. Resulting in red, pussy outbreaks and scaring (no thank you!). Going sugar free is crucial in the fight against acne. There are heaps of great resources on the web today to help you on your way. Fruit 1 to 2 serves maximum of fresh fruit a day is ok but don’t even think about the dried stuff.

Dairy free

There are two ways dairy can cause acne - one is the sugar component (lactose) and the other is through food sensitivities. Many people have a dairy intolerance, although they don’t know it, this causes gut inflammation and weakens the immune system. They often say the skin is a reflection of the gut. So a compromised gut isn’t going to result in glowing skin.

Worried about where you will get your calcium from? Increase these calcium rich foods in your diet – sesame seeds, tahini, almonds, salmon and sardines with bones and broccoli.

Increase zinc

Did you know 85% of Australian women are deficient in zinc? The pill contributes to a lot of nutritional deficiencies particularly zinc so chances are your levels will be pretty low. Zinc is vital for collagen production, prevents scarring, kills the bacteria that causes acne and reduces inflammation. This is your acne must have! As zinc is so important and deficiency is so wide spread I recommend you ask the naturopath at your local health food shop or pharmacy for a zinc taste test. It’s quick, easy and they will be able to prescribe you the right zinc supplement for your needs (otherwise you’ll need to eat a lot of pumpkin seeds).

Zinc rich foods to increase in your diet include: oysters (the richest source), wholegrains, red meat, eggs, pumpkin seeds and nuts.

It all starts in the gut

Having good bacteria in your gut is really important for skin health too. The pill kills a lot of the good gut bacteria off so it is important that you focus on restoring the ‘good guys’. Increasing your intake of fermented foods are a great place to start. Think miso soup, sauerkraut, kefir (dairy free of cause) or kimchi.

Broccoli

The superfood broccoli is a powerful detoxifier of oestrogens and also blocks the actions of acne causing testosterone. A cup of lightly steamed broccoli every day or every other day will do the trick.

Here’s to flawless skin and a trouble free pill withdrawal!


Research References

Melnik B. Diet in acne: further evidence for the role of nutrient signalling in acne pathogenesis. Acta Dermato-Venereologica. 2012;92(3):228-231.

Adebamowo C, Spiegelman D, Danby F, Frazier A, Willett W, Holmes M. High school dietary dairy intake and teenage acne. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2005;52(2):207-214.

Baghurst K, Dreosti I, Syrette J, et al. Zinc and magnesium status of Australian adults. Nutrition Research. 1991;11:23-32.