DELUXE LASER AMBASSADORSHIP AND MY JOURNEY WITH PCOS
9 February 2018
I beyond excited to finally announce that I have joined the Deluxe Laser team as their newest ambassador. This is a truly significant moment for me because signing on as one of their ambassadors has quite honestly been on my dream board since the beginning of my weight loss journey. As an ambassador for Deluxe Laser, I hope to use this platform to share more about my journey with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). But before I get into alllll that, let me share a little more about why I have chosen to partner with Deluxe Laser.
WHY DELUXE LASER?
Besides the fact that every single Deluxe Laser Spa is beautifully decorated, and offers the client an incredibly sophisticated experience, each Spa comprises highly trained and educated therapists, who provide their client’s with the absolute best care. Deluxe Laser also offer their clients the latest in laser and skin care technology. As an ambassador I am now able to take advantage of the revolutionary Soprano Ice / Elase Motif laser hair removal machine which will remove my unwanted body hair effectively and painlessly. After doing some research on their product, I have found that most studies tend to be moving away from outdated hair removal treatments, such as IPL and electric hair removal (electrolysis) as these former treatments are really painful and uncomfortable with a higher risk of actual burns to the skin. A lot of these methods are outdated too. They are simply not nearly as effective as the Soprano Ice / Elase Motif laser treatment offered at Deluxe Laser Spa. Unlike previous technology, this machine has been designed to treat a larger group of people, require fewer treatments, with faster results as compared to other hair removal methods. Deluxe Laser is therefore able to treat pretty much every single person that walks through the door, regardless of their skin and hair type! Yay!!
BUT DOES IT REALLY WORK?
So you’re thinking about starting a laser hair removal treatment but are unsure if it really does work? The guys over at Deluxe recommend that in order to really see fabulous results, 6-12 treatments is usually required over regular intervals of 4-12 weeks apart. There are definitely other factors that can influence the effectiveness of your laser treatment, such as an hormonal imbalance or the presence of grey hairs (laser treatment does not work on grey hairs). This is something I am going to chat about a little further down when I chat about my journey with PCOS (so please keep reading!)
LET’S GET PERSONAL…
I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 14 years old. I got my first period when I was 13 (grade 7) which lasted a really REALLY long time. I was bleeding for about 3 months continuously before I told my mom after realising that something wasn’t quiet right. And this wasn’t just light spotting for 3 months, this was a friggen tsunami of a flow that caused me to have to wear three pairs of underwear, a thick sanitary pad (at that point I was too scared to try tampons) AND “re-enforcing” blue tight shorts which were basically hot shorts that would cut off most of my circulation. The fear of “leaking” was real.
It was also around this time that I began developing severe hormonal acne, and suffering from terrible migraines. I also began realising that I was hairier than the other girls in my class and was having to wax my bikini line regularly when most of the other girls were still….little girls. It was a devastating time in my life, and I had absolutely no idea what was going on with my body. It caused me severe anxiety before my mother took me for my first Gynecological examination. It was then that my (wonderful) Gynea, Paula Penkin, diagnosed me with PCOS.
WHAT IS PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is caused by an imbalance of the female reproductive hormones which presents with issues in the ovaries.
As you know, each month our ovaries produce an egg that is released (ovulation) which forms part of our healthy menstrual cycle. However, if you suffer from PCOS, the egg is unable to develop, or may not even be released during the ovulation stage (as it should). This causes you to have either irregular periods, or a missed period altogether. This is why untreated PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility. But don’t worry, it IS treatable, and yes, you can still fall preggers (more on that below)!
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE PCOS?
Getting back to my story… Looking retrospectively, I had all the tell-tale signs and symptoms of PCOS:
- An Irregular Menstrual Cycle: As mentioned above, I was bleeding constantly for months without any relief which lead to even more health problems. I developed anemia from the excessive blood loss which in turn lead to severe migraines. Unlike me, some women present with symptoms on the other extreme and have no period whatsoever. If you suffer from PCOS, your body will produce higher levels of androgen’s (more on what these are below) and insulin which disrupt the monthly cycle of ovulation. So if you have PCOS, your periods are either “irregular” (eight or less menstrual bleeds per year / a cycle that lasts for more than 35 days) or they will just stop altogether.
- Unwanted Body Hair: For me, this has been the most devastating symptom, and is something that I am still extremely self-conscious about today. For the last 13 years I have tried everything to conceal the unwanted facial hair that plagues me. I’ve had to go through the last couple years, feeling anxious when people get too close to my face for fear that they will “see” the hair and be grossed out by me. My anxiety around my hair growth, is made especially worse when I have to speak to males. In fact, I am more self-conscious about my unwanted facial hair, then about than my weight!! Can you believe it? The hair presents on the face, chin, or parts of the body where men usually have hair. This is also called “hirsutism” which effects 70% of women who suffer from PCOS. Hirsutism occurs in females with PCOS as there are higher levels of androgen’s which are oft-termed the “male hormones” as they control the development of typical male “traits” like facial hair and male-pattern balding. Now, as women we do produce small amounts of androgen’s, but women with PCOS just have far more of them than normal. The higher than normal levels of these androgen’s in our systems, prevent our ovaries from releasing the egg during ovulation (as mentioned above) and are also the reason for extra hair growth and acne. This is because they stimulate the hair follicle to produce thicker and darker hair. And the worst part? The hair typically grows in areas where it is more common for men to grow hair, such as our sideburn region, our chin or neck, the upper lip, around our nipples, our lower abdomen / “garden path”, and even on our chest and thighs. I am fortunate that my hair growth is only concentrated on my face, which isn’t great but better than presenting with all the symptoms. Other women aren’t so lucky.
- The flip side of this, is thinning hair or male-pattern baldness: Personally, I have only started to see some hair loss later in life, but this could just be from stress and I wouldn’t pin it down to just the PCOS. Some women however, are severely affected by this symptom and can lose almost half their head of hair if untreated.
- Acne: Before I was diagnosed, I developed really bad acne on my face. I was fortunate that this didn’t develop on my chest or upper back but I still had to have my acne treated with Oratane.
- Weight Gain / Difficulty Losing Weight: This is another massive symptom of PCOS, and usually women who present with PCOS also present with insulin resistance which makes it even harder to lose weight. I never like to play the blame game, so I don’t want to sit here and write that the only reason I have a weight problem is because of my underlying PCOS. Of course this is a contributing factor as to why it has been so hard to lose the weight throughout my life, but I am a firm believer that environmental and lifestyle factors have also played a significant role in allowing myself to get as big as I did in 2016.
- Other symptoms include darkening of skin, usually in the creases of our necks, groin area, underneath or boobs, as well as the development of skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin that form in the armpits or neck area, and an increased risk of infertility. With regard to the later, there is this misconception that if you suffer from PCOS you can never fall pregnant. Negative on that front. Having PCOS does not mean you can’t get pregnant. Most women with PCOS have been able to fall pregnant without the need for fertility treatment. I am fortunate however, not to suffer from any of these symptoms.
OK, SO WHAT CAN I DO IF I HAVE PCOS?
- If you are overweight, try losing the weight: It has been shown that living a more healthy and active lifestyle (which is what I am currently doing) can hugely relieve the PCOS-related symptoms as detailed above. This is because weight loss can reduce the blood glucose levels and significantly improve the way in which your body uses and stores insulin. This will also help your hormones reach a new equilibrium. Research shows that even shedding 10% body fat, can help balance your menstrual cycle.
- Use the contraceptive pill to regularise your cycle: This is a little bit of a controversial topic these days. There seems to be this ongoing move / trend to get off the contraceptive pill. Now if you’re like me, I don’t particularly like taking many medications, but I also believe that certain medications are crucial for certain women. My advice? If you don’t need to be on the contraceptive pill, then don’t. But unfortunately not all of us women have the luxury to choose. For some of us, it can be our only saving grace from the oft-crippling symptoms associated with PCOS. When it comes to PCOS, the only really significant form of treatment to alleviate the symptoms and help your body produce a proper menstrual cycle, is to go on the contraceptive pill. To my mind, the benefits outweigh the negatives. The Pill will help your menstrual cycle become more regular, lower your risk of endometrial cancer and help improve acne and reduce the hair growth on the face and body. Some women also take Glucophage / Metformin which is typically used to treat persons with Type-2 Diabetes. This medication improves the insulin’s ability to lower your blood glucose and androgen levels in our bodies. Research suggests that after a few months of usage, the drug can help restart the process of ovulation, counters insulin resistance which is turn would lead to a lower body mass or weight loss.
- Removing excess / unsightly body hair: After a few months since commencing treatment for your PCOS and once your hormones have begun to balance out again, you can then begin the process of laser hair removal. This is what I have decided to do and why this ambassadorship with Deluxe Laser is SUCH A BIG DEAL FOR ME. I wanted to wait until I was almost at goal weight before commencing laser hair removal treatment. This is because significant weight gain or weight loss can also naturally cause a hormonal imbalance which is contra-indicated for persons wanting to begin the laser hair removal process. It is imperative that your PCOS is being properly treated and managed by a health care professional, and your hormones are stable before commencing any kind of laser hair removal treatment.
LET’S SUM UP...
One of the most important reasons for embarking on my weight loss journey was to regain my health. Related to this, was to reduce the symptoms associated with my PCOS. I knew that if I could dramatically reduce my weight, it would go along way to alleviate my insulin resistance and the very many symptoms I have chatted about above. At this stage in my journey, I am now ready to finally tackle the one thing that has made me feel so insecure about my body imagine. My unwanted facial hair.
Having unwanted facial hair may seem insignificant to some, but when you have to contend with peoples eyes travelling to your upper lip and chin every time they have a conversation with you, it psychologically breaks me down. At the very worst, it has on many occasions stripped me of my femininity.
It is for this reason that I am so honoured and so grateful to be joining Deluxe Laser as their newest ambassador. Thank you for believing in me and for affording me the opportunity to finally feel like a women again. I am so excited about our partnership and look forward to finally being able to speak openly and freely about this topic, and in turn help other women whom may be suffering with PCOS through this this platform.
BONUS DISCOUNT JUST FOR YOU!
After reading the above, if you’re considering commencing your Laser Hair removal treatment at Deluxe Laser, please use my name (Tracey-Lee Lusty) as your referral when booking your treatments as you will automatically get 30% off your treatment!! How amazing is that! Just another reason why Deluxe Laser is so incredible to their clients!!