For as long as a can remember I have suffered from bad skin. Acne has been a point of low confidence for me since primary school and has continued to haunt me into adulthood. I have been on every product under the sun and while they all seem to help to a degree, eventually the acne returns at some point.

At the ripe old age of nearly 32 this year and fed up with my maximum coverage foundation bill, I decided to embark on a clear skin journey and enlisted the help of the Institute for Healthy Aging 

I had been to see Duncan Carmichael for botox before but had no idea about all the work he does in the hormone space. After meeting with him to discuss my skin issues, we agreed on a holistic approach for my skin repair that would include treating it from the outside and inside.


I met with Carmen and we discussed a series of chemical peels that would assist with the scarring but also boost the skin’s ability to naturally heal itself. Thus far I have been for two peels, plenty of extractions and some laser treatment. While the skin felt a little raw and sore afterward, the pores shrunk and the inflammation has subsided in such a massive way!

(Check out the angry ‘before’ pic here)

The Plan:

Repeat these every three weeks, upping the intensity of the peel if possible.


The first thing Duncan did was send me for blood tesst to check hormone, thyroid vitamin and mineral levels. The blood tests, while super pricey (R3500!)  revealed so much about the state of my body and I would recommend everyone does them!

Blood tests The results:

I am severely iron deficient, have an underactive thyroid and have zero Progesterone or Testosterone or DHEA levels! I am also low in Vitamin D.

The iron, thyroid and progesterone levels are all relevant to my Acne riddled skin right now.

So let’s just go over what your thyroid actually does. It’s a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck that is part of your endocrine system, a complex system of glands that produce and secrete hormones directly into the circulatory system to influence, regulate and control metabolism and many of the body’s processes. Metabolism means the rate at which food is burned to form energy.

Think of the thyroid as the boss of the endocrine system, and in turn the boss of your metabolism. The hormones it produces reach every cell in the body, and are essential for feeling warm, happy and energetic.

In fact, you can’t be in good health unless your thyroid is working properly.

Of all the problems that can affect physical or mental health, none is more common than thyroid gland disturbance. None is more readily and inexpensively corrected. And none is more often untreated, and even unsuspected. Hypothyroidism—low thyroid function—is one of the gland disturbances that many people suffer from without even realizing it. It can be the cause of low energy or constant fatigue that is one of the most common complaints brought to doctors. It may be responsible for chronic headaches, repeated infections, unyielding skin problems [emphasis mine], or circulatory difficulties. Even more frightening, it can be a major factor in heart disease, lung cancer, and emphysema. And it is responsible for many emotional and mental disturbances.

Besides fasting, or chronic protein deficiency, the common causes of hypothyroidism are excessive stress or ‘aerobic’ (i.e., anaerobic) exercise, and diets containing beans, lentils, nuts, unsaturated fats (including carotene), and undercooked broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage or mustard greens. Many health-conscious people become hypothyroid with a synergistic program of undercooked vegetables; legumes instead of animal proteins; oils instead of butter; carotene instead of vitamin A; and breathless exercise instead of a stimulating life.


OMG! I don’t know about you, but I was doing everything on that list. No wonder I was getting breakouts, among other low thyroid symptoms. 

Thyroid and vitamin A are the basic things that help with acne. This is because when thyroid hormone is deficient, the body cannot convert cholesterol to the steroids pregnenolone, progesterone and DHEA. Of these, progesterone is the most important in the prevention and cure of acne—and thyroid hormone plus natural vitamin A work to ensure its formation.

So what are we doing to treat all this??

Daily thyroid medication coupled with bioidentical progesterone and testosterone treatment, a mild dose of roacutane  as well as a finestride which blocks the testosterone pathway that converts to stress testosterone which also contributes to acne.

In just three weeks, my skin is already looking far less angry and is less sore. I still have a long journey to travel on the road to better skin, but what I can say is, it’s great to finally have someone look at my skin in such a holicstic way.