Daisy Ridley has made no secret of her skin problems in the past. In April, the Star Wars star got real about no-makeup selfies on Instagram (spoiler: she doesn’t do them) and now she’s taken to the platform again to start a discussion about endometriosis.
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“At 15 I was diagnosed with endometriosis,” Ridley wrote in the caption of her photo. “One laparoscopy, many consultations and 8 years down the line, pain was back (more mild this time!) and my skin was THE WORST. I’ve tried everything: products, antibiotics, more products, more antibiotics) and all that did was left my body in a bit of a mess. Finally found out I have polycystic ovaries and that’s why it’s bad. I can safely say feeling so self conscious has left my confidence in tatters. I hate wearing make up but I currently don’t want to leave the house without it on.”
For those who don’t have a medical degree, we’ll let someone who does explain: “Endometriosis is a disorder where glands from the endometrium—the lining of the uterus—grow outside of the uterus,” says Wendy Kuohung, the director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Boston Medical Center. “Chronic pelvic pain during periods or pain deep in the pelvis during sexual intercourse are the classic findings of endometriosis,” Kuohung adds. Though skin-related issues, like the acne Ridley has complained of in the past, are uncommon with endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is often associated with hormonal acne, especially on the cheeks and jawline.
Fortunately for Ridley, things are looking up, though not without a few sacrifices. “PROGRESS IS BEING MADE!” she wrote. “(With some help from a dermatologist and cutting out dairy (waah, except for spontaneous ice creams) and cutting down sugar (bigger waah but gotta do what you’ve gotta do)).” This advice may be familiar to Ridley’s fellow hormonal acne sufferers, as dairy products naturally contain hormones (yes, even the organic brands) called androgens, which can make acne worse. Several studies have also shown a link between acne and the ingestion of simple sugars, which trigger insulin and can magnify the effects of androgens on skin.
“To any of you who are suffering with anything, go to a doctor,” Ridley advises. “Pay for a specialist, get your hormones tested, get allergy testing, keep on top of how your body is feeling, and don’t worry about sounding like a hypochondriac. From your head to the tips of your toes we only have one body, let us all make sure ours our working in tip top condition, and take help if it’s needed.”
Ridley’s not alone in her struggle. In the last year, Lena Dunham, Halsey, and Padma Lakshmi (who is also the cofounder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America) have all spoken out about their own battles with the condition. Considering that the cause of endometriosis remains unknown, we can only hope that having brave ladies like Ridley prompting conversation will lead to more attention, more study, and better treatments for those who suffer from it.