Hormones & Your Skin

How is it that hormones, produced mainly in your ovaries and adrenal glands, can have such an impact on one of life’s most sought-after attributes – healthy skin? Here’s a look at how the two are connected!


By Katie Faulkner

Three main types of hormones occur in women at different levels. The levels at which they are produced can vary with age and be crucial to your complexion.

Estrogens, often thought of as female hormones due to their abundance in women, contribute to skin’s youthful appearance by increasing its thickness, elasticity, hydration, and cellular regeneration rate.

Androgens are commonly associated with males (because they include testosterone), but also occur in women. Testosterone increases the sebaceous glands’ production of oil in your pores. So higher testosterone can lead to oilier skin and breakouts. Higher testosterone in women can also lead to unwanted facial hair.

Progesterone is the middleman of hormones and helps to regulate the other two. Progesterone helps skin in a number of ways. First, it keeps the other hormone levels in check. It also creates a calming effect in your brain, reducing cortisol and other stress hormones and promoting healthy sleep – which we all know is important for good-looking skin.

From birth to older ages, your hormones can change drastically. Here’s a look at how these changes can impact your complexion throughout each hormonal phase.


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1.Puberty
Many of us are grateful to be through with this phase – when the body first begins to build up hormones. As hormones attempt to balance, skin often struggles with multiple symptoms. An excess of estrogens or testosterone can lead to oily skin, acne, and discoloration, while a lack of either can create dryness and discoloration.


2.Adult Menstruation
Throughout this phase your hormones continue to seek balance. An endless list of factors can aid or hinder this process – diet, lifestyle choices, moving locations, and stress levels are a few factors that will undoubtedly impact your body’s hormone levels. The effect on your complexion can be as varied as these factors – whether dry skin or adult acne, examining your lifestyle can lend insight into the causes.


3.Pregnancy and Postpartum
The jolt of surging hormones can wreak havoc on your complexion. Melasma, hyperpigmentation resulting in brown patches on the face, is a very common condition during and after pregnancy due to fluctuating hormones. Other conditions can arise during or after pregnancy, including: facial spider veins, flaky skin, and cystic acne.

4. Perimenopause and Menopause
Perimenopause is the time span leading up to “the change.” If all goes smoothly, your hormones will begin a gradual transition process. As menstruation slows, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease. Your skin will naturally begin the aging process as these hormones decrease. Thinning skin, fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, and dryness can all be results of lessening estrogen and progesterone.

What to Do?
If you feel that hormones are to blame for persistent skin issues, visit an endocrinologist–a hormone specialist. They can test your levels and identify imbalances. You should never try to alter your hormone levels on your own because they have such wide reaching roles with other organs and functions throughout the body. Don’t risk creating further complications for yourself – leave it to the experts!

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