You have no idea how excited I am to say I got rid of my hormonal acne for good! #BYEBYE
I’m really excited to share this with you too. I know how frustrating it is to feel like you can’t do anything to clear up your skin, and how much it affects your self-confidence every day.
As you may already know from previous posts, skin care has become a more of a focus of mine in the past 5 years, especially in the last year. I mean, no one should have to try and manage wrinkle prevention AND blemishes at the same time!
Despite eating a clean diet and eliminating things like gluten/dairy, I’ve still struggled with hormonal acne since my mid-20’s. I had moments where it’s cleared up, and by using some great natural products and supplementation, it has definitely improved in the last 12 months. But it never seemed to go away completely and if I slipped on my diet at all, BAM! I’d have a horrible breakout.
I was like walking a tightrope every day.
I realised that I wasn’t going to be able to solve my skin issues by myself (I’m a control freak, so that took me a while to realise haha), and even though my hormones were improving, it was like my skin itself needed extra support to get real results.
But good news! Sam Keim, the owner of SkinMatters, immediately told me with 100% confidence that there was another treatment called Isolaz that would clear my skin up in 4 weeks, and that it worked really well for women with hormonal issues and PCOS.
I was more like “hmmm maybe 55% chance this will work.”
Let’s just say she was right and I was very wrong! I’m SUPER impressed with the results.
Disclaimer: This is not a paid post. SkinMatters gave me complimentary Isolaz and light treatments. I paid for all my skincare products.
I feel like Isolaz is this massive secret because nowhere but SkinMatters does this on the Gold Coast, and it’s not really well-known anywhere in Australia. But it works really well, and it’s not crazy expensive either – especially when I think about all the money I’ve spent trying different products and getting facials. UGH.
What is Isolaz?
From the Isolaz website – a unique acne therapy to help fight the root causes of acne and bring “CPR” rescue to acne sufferers –
- CLEANSE: Vacuum applies gentle pressure on your pores helping to loosen and extract dirt, blackheads and excess oil from deep within your pores.
- PURIFY: Broadband light helps destroy acne-causing bacteria, as well as reduce facial redness caused by acne.
- REPLENISH: With Profusion technology, topical skin care products are applied to the cleansed skin to improve overall results.
How I’d described it – it vacuums your skin and zaps it with light to kill the bacteria-baddies!
Here’s the process for my weekly appointments with SkinMatters (shoutout to the lovely Lydia who made the whole process so pleasant!).
Step 1) Any makeup was removed and my face was cleansed thoroughly by leaving on the cleanser for 5 minutes.
Step 2) A mud mask applied, and a warm towel over top to really open up those pores. This stayed on for 20 mins.
Step 3) Then the actual Isolaz treatment was done. *Zap Zap!*
Step 4) Then lastly, it was 20 mins under Omnilux blue™ light.
The whole process took 60-90 mins each week (shorter each week as my skin cleared up.) So it is quite time intensive to do this every week BUT it was SO effective. I’d do it again if I needed to.
Does the Isolaz treatment hurt?
Ok so upfront, I have quite a low pain threshold. I found the whole experience was mostly just relaxing (I napped a lot haha) and only parts of the actual Isolaz treatment were a little uncomfortable.
The vacuum part of the Isolaz kinda feels like someone is pinching your face, and then there is some heat from the light for about 1 second. If it got a bit hot, Lydia would just cool the head of the Isolaz vacuum in-between ‘zaps’ – so it’s totally tolerable.
Some areas were more uncomfortable than others e.g. we did a bit of my neck one week as I had a breakout there, and that skin is obviously more sensitive. But the pain was very short and minimal.
My breakouts were not *that* bad, so if you have the type of blemishes that are tender to touch, then obviously the vacuum might be a bit more uncomfortable. But again SO worth it.
Each week, my skin would improve. It was very encouraging to see the progress along the way.
Since finishing the 4 weeks of Isolaz treatments, I only had a few blemishes in December just before my period (which is normally when I get major breakouts from the change in hormones). So I still get the odd blemish, but each month it’s still improving and I can clear anything up almost overnight with a little clay treat (see this post for the clay I use).
I’ve done some extra Omnilux light treatments post-Isolaz, to help reduce the scarring and discolouration and will continue to do these about once a month – just because they are SO amazing.
Now I’m not getting any breakouts! Maybe one random pimple here and there, but gone within a day or two (which is fairly normal for most people).
My daily skincare routine
But I’m also really excited about the overall texture of my skin – my pores look smaller (especially on my nose) and the skincare products Sam has me using are SO simple. Like we’re talking a 5 min routine, perfect for the lazy girl like me. My skin has stopped the whole oily-AF but also dry-as-a-desert game.
Sam creates all her products based on science and without yucky additives, very clean and simple, which I love. I’ve included some information about each of the products below too.
Plus, I swear my forehead creases have softened a bit?!
- Splash face with water (told you this was easy).
- Niacinamide 10% Serum (this stuff is AMAZING).
- SPF 50+ Sunscreen (I finally understand the importance of sun protection for good skin!).
- Wash face with Lactic & Glycolic Acid Foaming Wash (I used a Salicylic Acid 1% wash to start with).
- De-pigmentation Cream OR Obagi Medical Retinol 1% (rotate nightly).
Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
Niacinamide is also known as Vitamin B3 & plays an important role in maintaining the barrier function of the skin. This barrier protects the skin against pollutants, bacteria & other irritants. Niacinamide stimulates two enzymes, NADH & NADPH. These enzymes are responsible for producing lipids, which are natural emollients for the skin. Lipids keep the skin conditioned, youthful & minimise lines & wrinkles. NADH & NADPH also communicate with the cells and are involved in producing cellular energy. As we age, as with most good things, NADH and NADPH levels start to decline. Niacinamide applied topically has been shown to slow the rate of decline. Think about an oily skin – it doesn’t look as aged as a lipid ‘dry’ skin.
With our barrier working more effectively, conditions like acne, rosacea & inflammatory conditions in the skin can be more effectively managed. B3 will also address an uneven skin tone. Studies have shown it is able to prevent melanin (pigment in our skin) transfer from melanin-producing cells deeper in the skin into melanin-containing cells on the skin’s surface. One of the advantages of Niacinamide is that it can be used long-term without side effects, making it a great alternative to Hydroquinone.
Retinol (Vitamin A)
Another antioxidant ingredient that is important for normalising all the cell functions in the skin is Vitamin A. It has the ability to increase the density of the dermis while smoothing and refining the texture of the epidermis. It is one of the most powerful ingredients to fight against & reverse the signs of ageing in the skin. It reduces lines & wrinkles, refines pores, reverses UV damage, balances oil production & reduces acne breakout. This makes it an essential ingredient for all skins but some forms of Vitamin A can be very irritating, leading to redness, light sensitivity & flakiness. The acidic forms of Vitamin A that tend to be available on prescription can sometimes cause these unwanted side effects which cause people to stop using Vitamin A before they are seeing the real benefits.
Omnilux blue™ light
Acne is one of the world’s most common skin conditions and results from obstruction, bacterial colonization and inflammation of the sebaceous follicles. One of the key bacteria responsible for the inflammation Propionibacterium acnes or P.acnes, produces natural chemicals called porphyrins, which are sensitive to light at different wavelengths.
When stimulated these chemicals will neutralise the bacteria. With no bacteria, present inflammation will subside. Furthermore, the action of light on the sebaceous glands produces an environment that is inhibitory to the growth of P.acnes.
- Effective and pain-free
- No sebaceous gland damage
- Maximum efficiency is seen when combined with an anti-comedonal preparation.