With hormones being the "it-thing" right now when it comes to women's health, I thought that it would be only fitting to talk about how our hormones relate to our skin health. We always breakout around that time of the month (ladies, you know what I'm talking about) or if we get stressed out because of an important life event, school, work, you name it; our hormones at times even control our emotional responses.
There are different times in our lives where our hormones may be changing or imbalanced, the teen years, 20s-30s, and 50s are allhugemilestones for different reasons. During these times it may be expected to go through different life changes, and acne may just be a part of that change until your body is adjusted. When our hormone levels are stable, everything else is able to function properly; your reproductive system, skin, mood, metabolism, and the list goes on.
But what happens then if your chronically stressed or suffer from a hormonal imbalance? In what ways will you visually see the aftermath? Well folks, while I hate to be the bearer of bad news; acne is one of those ways. Would it surprise you if I told you that all acne is hormonal? Not to say that all acne is due to an imbalance of hormones, but acne in its simplest form is influenced by hormones.
Hormones are responsible for the growth of our oil glands and skin, and they do not have the ability to produce acne until they are fully matured. This is why children (unless glands are matured) do not experience acne. The skin is a target for these hormones. Which hormones are we talking about specifically? The four biggest hormones which affect our skin health are Estrogen, Testosterone, cortisol, and thyroid hormones.
Estrogen is important for determining how our skin looks and feels.As we age ourestrogen levelschange;our skin becomes dry, fragile, saggy,and has a general decrease in elasticity.The biggest culprit for women over 40 to experience thin, dry skin is typically due to a decrease in estrogen.However, an overproduction of estrogen can be harmfulas well. This can cause a worsened cycle, PMS, andhyper-pigmentation or discoloration of the skin.
If you are low in estrogen you can try eating phytoestrogens, estrogen mimickers found in natural foods. Some good sources areflaxseeds, soy, oats,and lentils.If your levels are too high you can try eatingbroccoli, kale,and seasoning foods withturmeric which can boost the metabolism of estrogen,naturally loweringyourlevels.
Testosterone helps with sebum production, which is important for skin health and nourishing your skin with natural oils. However, when an overproduction of oil occurs the pore becomes clogged and acne is born! Hormonal changes related to age can cause a difference in testosterone, making your skin more oily and prone to breakouts.
One wayI've found to get rid of excess sebum production isto cutdairy from your diet.Dairy canthrow your hormones out of balance due to the IGF-1 found in it and cause a spike in inflammation.
Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, has a massive impact on our skin (not to mention our mind
andbody as well).A surge in cortisol causesan increase in sebum production and spike inflammation, one of the biggest triggers for acne.Chronic stress and high levels of cortisol can lead to unhealthy habits of coping like consuming excess alcohol, refined carbs, and sugar, which in turn can all make acne worse.
Not all stress is bad, our bodies are actually built to deal withstress, butchronicstress can wreak havoc on ouroverall health. Your body eventually becomes overwhelmed andyour systems can go hay wire;chronic stress canworsen almost anycondition, especiallyacne!
You can always try to reduce stress through meditation, moderateexercise, and takingsome relaxation or “me time”.
“An overactive thyroid can cause warm, sweaty, and flushed skin, while anunder active thyroid can lead to dry, coarse skin with a reduced ability to perspire.If you sufferFromskin problems and have weight, digestion (constipation or diarrhea), or energy issues (fatigue or feeling overly stimulated),you shouldtalk with your doctor about thyroid testing.”
If you believe that you havea dysfunctional thyroid or to get tested, consider workingwith a licensed physician to achieve total thyroid health.
As you can see,our hormones play a huge partwhen itcomes to the appearance of our skin!Got stress? Try meditating! Imbalance of estrogen or testosterone? Try introducing hormone balancing foods!While achieving optimal skin health can be difficult, it’s important to evaluate all of the different hormones and stressors which may befurthertriggering youracne.