“Ash!” Jessica chirped through the phone, “I think I’ve made a huge breakthrough in the mystery of your oily skin.”
“Really?” Ashley asked. She’d had a GREAT week with her skin and was finally getting into a nice rhythm with her diet, but she sure wasn’t going to miss anything Jessica had to say.
“Yep! Let's grab some wine after the kids get home and we’ll chat.”
“Absolutely, I’ll be over later tonight,” Ashley said.
A few short hours later Ashley was back at Jessica’s sipping a glass of merlot as she gazed through the kitchen window. “So… what secrets did you discover?”
“Ok, for starters, there IS a connection between testosterone and the oil on your skin – a huge connection.”
Ashley’s eyes snapped back to her friend, “I knew hormones had something to do with it.”
“Yes they do,” Jessica said pouring herself a bit more wine. “In fact, the biggest difference between you and everyone with normal skin is that you have MORE of an enzyme on your skin that converts testosterone to something called DHT.”
“DHT,” Ashley repeated.
“Yep, and it’s DHT that triggers your sebaceous glands to go wild.”
Ashley set her glass down on the table, “so DHT is the big villain I've been looking for?”
“You got it. Your oily skin would disappear almost instantly if that enzyme didn't convert testosterone to DHT.”
“Wow, it seems so... simple,” Ashley said rubbing her chin.
“Yeah, DHT is quite the troublemaker. It's said to cause 10 times more oil on your skin than testosterone does by itself. 10 times! How would you like to reduce your oily skin by 90%?”
Ashley picked up the wine glass and swirled it. She’d had some nice success with Star, but it was very tempting to think about her oily skin as something that could be gone almost instantly, “Yeah, that would be amazing.”
“Can you imagine? That’s what it would feel like to be normal again,” Jessica said, “But the CONVERSION from testosterone to DHT is what’s key, that’s what you need to focus on. You need to find something called 5AR inhibitors for your skin.“
“Yeah, 5 alpha reductase inhibitors. Those are what blocks the the conversion from happening.”
“Is this something a dermatologist has to prescribe?”
“Not necessarily, there’s a number of common skincare ingredients that can block the conversion. The only problem is that most of them take time to work so it won’t be a quick fix.”
Ashley’s stomach sank, “How long are we talking about?”
“Usually 2 - 3 months to start seeing really good results. But it's worth the wait, as studies show the results are pretty decent.”
Ashley rubbed her palms together; the wedding was just over 6 weeks out. “Hmm… maybe it could start helping by the wedding. What ingredients would I need to get going with this?”
“There’s actually a bunch that have a lot of promise; peppermint oil, rosemary oil, buckthorn oil, and green tea extract to name a few. You may need to find which one works best for you.”
“Thanks, Jessica, awesome research,” Ashley said getting up, “I’ll definitely check those out.”
As she walked out, she pulled out her phone and triumphantly added the next rule:
Oily Skin Detox Rule #6: Use a 5AR Inhibitor to reduce DHT
When Ashley got home she gave her brother a call.
“Have I told you how sick I am of eating so much fish?” she said as she prepared her small good-fats meal.
“Only every time we talk. Have you ever seen a bodybuilder, Ash?” Tommy asked.
“Okay, well they don’t look the way they do just because they pump a lot of iron. Do you think they can eat the same stuff you ate for the last year and become as big and cut as they are?”
“I doubt it.”
“Right, they eat very specific foods that put their body in a certain state. Big muscles, for instance, need lots of protein. Your food choices shape the desired outcome you want.”
“So if I want great skin, I need to consume lots of fish,” Ashley said.
“It definitely helps, sis. Now stop complaining and keep downing those omega 3s.”
Tommy hung up and Ashley made another trip to Whole Foods where she picked up a bottle of 100% pure peppermint essential oil. When she got back home she ran upstairs to try it out...
Ashley could hear the kids and Joe watching a movie down the hall, and Ashley practically tip-toed into her bathroom so she could try out the oil without interruption. Screwing off the cap, she inhaled a wonderful scent of fresh peppermint. She then shook a couple of drops of the essential oil onto her palm, added a few drops of her facial oil and rubbed the mixture over her face.
“Ahh.... ooooow!” Ashley gasped as her skin stung like a dozen angry bees had just dug their stingers into her face. Her eyes started to burn and she squinted so bad she couldn’t see a thing. Flipping the cold water on, she splashed her face until the stinging subsided and then stared at her puffy red eyes in the mirror.
Looks like I might have to reevaluate this…
The next day she was back on the phone with Jessica.
“So last night I nearly burned my face off with the peppermint oil, and since I’m not into torturing myself, I’m thinking we should try something else,” Ashley said.
“How much were you using?” Jessica asked.
“Not much at all, a couple of drops along with a couple of drops of facial oil.”
“Ashley! The studies that showed success used 2-3% solutions. I told you that!”
“No, you did not!” Ashley snapped as she fought the urge to throw the phone across the room.
“Yeah, I did. That’s 1 drop of peppermint oil for every 30 to 50 drops of facial oil.”
“Good god, I used like a 50/50 blend,” Ashley chuckled as her neck started to relax.
“Well, regardless of your insane chemistry experiment, maybe you should switch anyway. I think green tea extract also gets amazingly good results inhibiting DHT, and has a good rep for clearing up acne as well. It also doesn’t pack the stinging punch the peppermint does.”
“Yeah, I really don’t want to spend 30 minutes a night squinting in pain,” Ashley said as she touched her cheek, “I don’t need the wrinkles that come with that either.”
“Give the green tea extract a shot, Ash. I think it could work for you,” Jessica said.
Ash smiled and rubbed her neck, “sure, why not? I think Whole Foods is about to give me my own parking spot anyways...”
A few days later Ashley swung by Star’s house to give her a recap on the success of her diet but when Star asked her what she’d added to her detox this week, Ashley veered off course...
“I didn’t really do anything new with diet this week,” Ashley said, “I got a glimmer of hope with skincare, and got a little side tracked. I was trying to figure out how to prevent DHT on my face.”
“How’d that work out?” Star asked as she tossed a pebble down the hill.
“Well, I tried peppermint oil, but it stung like crazy so I switched to green tea extract, which felt much better.”
“Did your skin get more or less oily after you used it?”
Ashley thought about it for a few seconds, “well, it actually seemed to get more oily after I put it on.”
Star nodded as she stared out at the ocean, “Don’t lose sight of the big picture.”
“What do you mean?” Ashley asked.
“You keep longing for the simple fix,” Star said looking back at Ashley, “By going all-in with your latest skincare product, you triggered your body to release more hormones, indirectly causing more oil on your face.”
Ashley spun around, “I just can’t win!” she yelled.
“It’s going to be okay, Ashley. If you’re going to push harder in one area, you just have to make up for it elsewhere.”
“Where else?” Ashley folded her arms. “Is this where you’re going to tell me to avoid alcohol?”
“I told you before, it’s your detox, not mine.”
Ashley’s shoulders slumped.
Star dug her hands into her jean pockets, “Avoiding alcohol IS important when gaining a handle on your hormones, and that's what you're trying to do with your skincare, right?”
Reluctantly, Ashley pulled out her phone to record the next rule of her detox. Jessica's not going to like this one, she thought.
Oily Skin Detox Rule #7: Avoid Alcohol
Star then flashed Ashley a smile and added, “I think you need to get back to your research this week.”
“And what am I going to research now?”
Star started walking over to the trail that led down the hill, “If you think controlling the hormones on your SKIN will give you good results, wait to you see what controlling them INSIDE your body can do…”
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