Until I turned 29. I had perfect skin.
Stick with me…
After a brief conversation with a friend who had come off her pill month’s earlier and had identified the flat-line effect it was having on her emotional state I.e never feeling the full weight of any emotion – just, meh in really happy scenarios and equally meh in really sad ones – I wondered if I even knew my emotional range!? After all, I hadn’t experienced any of my adulthood sans Yasmin. And driven by curiosity, I stopped taking the pill I had taken every day for more than a decade.
The results in terms of personal growth were extreme. I can only compare the change in my emotional range to when you clean a pair of fogged-up glasses and seeing the world again through clear eyes. I knew what sadness felt like, my pre-teen anxiety returned (not necessarily a good thing, but real) and I feel really happy when I am happy. I have become much more in tune with who I am and what I stand for, which I am not claiming is all because of one little pill – I also went through my Saturn returns – during the same period (yes, I’m here for astrology). But things definitely changed. Including my skin.
Before 29, I could count the number of pimples I had on one hand, with a leftover finger or two, and my only skin complaints were dryness and some sun damage in the form of pigmentation. But in the same way, I started feeling things again so did my skin, in a big way. All of a sudden, maybe 6 weeks into my new sans-pill status: Combination, oily all over, except for my forehead which was next level dry. While regular facials (microderm, peels, and blue light) and a strict skin regimen prescribed by Melanie Grant helped with this, my once near-perfect skin was a distant memory as blackheads and cystic acne took residence on my jaw, chin and chest. A part of me wished for my limited emotional range to return.
That was until I spotted Zilch by chance on the shelf at Privée Clinic in Bondi Junction where I was seeing Natalie Abouchar for a treatment. One of the very few people I trust with my beauty tings, explained that it was an Acne Formula created by Doctor of Chinese Medicine and cosmetics acupuncturists, Doctor Vivian Tam (her clinic is based in Melbourne) and Nat said she’d had her own clients see good results. I trust Nat implicitly, and on her recommendation, I started taking it that day. 4 pills in the morning and 4 pills at night. A bottle contains a four-week course. And after seeing a noticeable improvement, at the end of my mine, I requested an interview with Dr Vivian Tam, to explain the witchcraft and sorcery that comes in said bottle.
TB: What is Zilch?
Dr VT: Zilch is a 100% natural skin supplement that contains a potent blend of 17 herbs that specifically target the root causes of adult acne.
TB: How does it work?
DR VT: Zilch works to restore skin harmony by:
Reducing inflammation: calming inflammation that causes swelling, redness, itching and painful pimples.
Removing heat and toxicity: in Chinese Medicine, an imbalance of heat in the body can cause skin breakouts. Think of the Earth’s core getting hot and the heat escaping as eruptions (volcanoes!); this is similar to heat in the body causing eruptions in the skin (pimples!). Ingredients in Zilch help remove the heat that triggers inflammation in the skin.
Detoxification: toxin build-up can cause acne. Ridding the body of toxins by supporting healthy digestion and liver function will see a long-term change in maintaining clear skin.
Promoting blood circulation for healing: when blood circulation is poor, blood stagnation can occur, leading to blockages & swelling. Cystic, deep, inflamed & sore pimples can be a result of this disharmony. Ingredients in Zilch Acne Formula promote & boost blood circulation to stop these deeper nodules from occurring in the skin, promoting healing.
TB: And why do people’s skin freak out when they go off the contraceptive pill? Asking for a friend…
Dr VT: The acne breakouts that people experience after coming off the pill are most commonly due to two reasons; the skin is actually having post-pill withdrawals from the sebum-suppressing effects of the pill. The pill suppresses sebum, so your body over-produces sebum to make up for that. When you come off the pill, the body continues over-producing sebum, causing oily and congested skin. Secondly, it is often due to the androgen, or male hormone surge that happens after you come off the pill
It is also worth noting that the pill has ‘artificially’ regulated the body’s hormones, and when you come off the pill, the body’s baseline pattern, or whatever it was doing before, will show up again (ie – if you had bad skin to start before the pill, it will be the same after the pill is stopped.)
TB: So my skin went from being very dry (on the pill), to very oily and congested, within a couple of months of going off it. Was the pill masking my true skin condition?
Dr VT: So, there are certain ingredients in the pill that are known to be sebum suppressants (sebum being our skin’s oil). To counteract this dryness, the skin overproduces sebum to compensate. When you come off the pill, the body can take up to 9 months to slow down this overproduction, hence oily skin.
TB: My adult acne, started about 18 months ago when I went off the pill (after 15 years of use) – and I didn’t discover Zilch until 6 months ago – so I had a year of bad breakouts. After never having a pimple in my life. It was shocking. In retrospect could I have started taking Zilch while still on the pill, to counter the effects? How do you coach women off the pill? Is there a process?
Dr VT: Better late than never! Yes, we do have a lot of women that start taking Zilch Acne Formula before they come off the pill. We often start them on a half dose for a month or so before coming off the pill. When they come off the pill, we usually have them on full dose or ¾ dose until they feel comfortable that they are over the worst of it. At the clinic, women will tell me “I came off the pill 2 years ago, and within 2 months my skin was horrible”, so for this instance, we would have them on Zilch for at least 10 weeks before we could agree she was in the “safe zone”.
TB: Do you advise other treatments in conjunction with Zilch?
Dr VT: Acupuncture and facial acupuncture (cosmetic acupuncture) is also a big thing I recommend. Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years and can address hormonal imbalances and internal disharmonies that are playing a role in crappy skin! Cosmetic Acupuncture can be used to boost blood flow and oxygenation to the skin, helping the skin and facial cells to become more resilient, resulting in more balanced and refined skin. For external use, Jojoba oil is a really natural oil – it’s a plant wax that most closely mimics human skin oil (sebum), so when you use it, your body believes it is its own. It then works on negative feedback to tell the skin to stop over-producing sebum, and can help balance out excessive oil production post-pill (or anytime).
TB: What about diet? Do you have certain foods/meals that you recommend to those you treat?
Dr VT: Avoiding (or reducing) dairy and sugar are probably going to be the two biggest things in the diet that can contribute to skin problems. Obviously, food that is rich in zinc and iron to help with skin and tissue healing will help with post acne redness and scarring, and plenty of water helps with flushing out toxin build up in the body.
FYI: I am about to order my second course of Zilch. My skin is not perfect, yet. But I have seen a huge improvement since taking Zilch.
NOTE: this is #notsponsored. Just a girl experiencing shitty hormonal skin, wanting to help as many sister’s out as possible.
Words and interview: Chloe Brinklow