Hormones and the Skin.
Experiencing an imbalance? Now what?
Ladies, be it a zit on your face right before your period, extreme dryness of the skin and body; or men, be it extra sebum on your facial skin or falling hair; you know who to point your finger at - your hormones! Yes, an imbalance in hormone levels causes all the above and more. Similarly, when your skin and hair are glowing and healthy, you also have your hormones to thank, so they’re not all bad!
Hormones and the Skin
While there are several hormones that affect the skin including oestrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and thyroid hormones, the ones to impact the skin and its functions are Oestrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone. Extreme skin dryness, acne flare-ups, pigmentation, flakes, and so on and so forth, are some of the changes that are seen on the skin due to hormones.
Known to build and maintain collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid; Oestrogen works towards keeping the skin plump and dewy and plays an active role in the anatomy of both men and women.
Oestrogen works to prevent aging, increase collagen content in the skin, maintain skin thickness, and retain skin elasticity, as well as hyaluronic acid levels. As such, an imbalance in Oestrgoen levels will reflect on your skin.
For women who have a regular menstrual cycle, their skin is most radiant around ovulation. It’s clear and naturally glowing, whereas, on days leading up to your period, it starts to get dull and oily. A similar pattern is observed in women as they enter their premenopausal and menopausal stages. The skin naturally tends to produce less oestrogen which leads to the skin looking dull, dry, and saggy, and in some cases a build-up of acne. Studies suggest that menopause causes hypoestrogenism, accelerating age-related deterioration, which results in thinner skin, an increase in the number and depth of wrinkles, increased skin dryness, and decreased skin firmness and elasticity.
Imbalance triggers in the body easily reset certain body functions, resulting in changes such as general fatigue, muscle weakness, increased heart rate, anxiety, hair loss or thinning, changes in skin texture, etc. While these may seem like the usual, often, these end up becoming chronic over a period of time and must be addressed. Hormonal imbalances also impact the metabolism and lead to constipation, unexplained weight loss, or weight gain.
In men, estradiol, the predominant form of estrogen, also plays a critical role in male sexual function. Estradiol in men is essential for modulating libido, erectile function, and spermatogenesis. To balance these levels, it is paramount to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. Additionally, eating nutritious foods especially proteins,, lowering sugar intake, and managing overall stress levels are key.
Testosterone levels which are usually the highest in the morning, are controlled by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. As a function, your hypothalamus releases gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which triggers your pituitary gland to release luteinizing hormone (LH). LH then travels to your gonads and stimulates the production and release of testosterone. In this axis, if either one of them isn’t functioning to their optimum levels, it results in the rise of testosterone levels in the body, which leads to symptoms like increased appetite, acne, hypertension, excessive body hair, depression, hair loss or thinning, etc.
When it comes to its impact on the skin, the testosterone ratio in both men and women is the reason for the difference in skin thickness and texture. The male epidermis is 20% thicker than that of a female, thus binding larger amounts of moisture and containing more collagen across all ages. Moreover, it can trigger acne when imbalanced, as a result of overstimulating oil glands.
As per studies, anything that affects overall health affects testosterone levels too. It includes diet, exercise, drinking less booze, and not smoking. All of those things can help maintain healthy testosterone levels.
Progesterone otherwise known as the fertility hormone helps with the secretion of thyroid hormones. Your thyroid gland is responsible for providing the skin with circulation, oxygen, and other nutrients. Aside from this, progesterone assists in regulating sebum production, making it a key hormone in skin health. The oil produced helps keep the skin stay moisturised as well as helps it by building its immunity from harmful pathogens and toxins. When progesterone levels decline in the body, the thyroid function tends to decrease resulting in dry skin that is more sensitive and prone to damage.
The main function of progesterone is to prepare the endometrium i.e. the lining of your uterus for a fertilized egg to implant and grow. In case of conception, the progesterone in the body doubles up to support pregnancy, and in case it doesn’t, this endometrium sheds during your menstrual period.
Imbalanced levels of progesterone impact the body in several ways such as breast tenderness, irregular menstruation cycles, difficulty in conceiving, or increased PMS symptoms in women. It also influences the emotional and behavioural circuits in the brain and triggers depression. Hence, getting regular sleep, staying active, and taking the right supplements that benefit health is important. Speaking to your health care provider for correct supplements and doses of the same is something we’d highly recommend.
Corrective measures for skin impacted by an imbalance in hormones:
Being a slave to hormones is literally the last thing you’d want. From mood swings to weight gain, adult acne to fatigue and loss of appetite; the impact of hormonal imbalance on the skin is clear! Stress enables the release of cortisol, catecholamines, and neuropeptides which has an effect on you and your skin. Clinically, these have been shown to increase long-term skin inflammation, increase itching, impair skin barrier function, impair wound healing, and suppress immunity.
Any psychological state like stress, anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, or the like is a pathway for your skin to react. Consistent stress and zero management of it can have severe consequences on the skin as well as the body over time and even become chronic.
Taking small steps towards restoring and rejuvenating impacted skin goes a long way, but in addition to this we highly suggest keeping your hormones in check.
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