Natural Ways to Balance Your Hormones..Improve Your Skin!

Hormones Affect Skin Health in a Variety of Ways...

For all your hormones do for you, they’re still shrouded in mystery 

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you can’t see them. Hormones are chemical messengers secreted by glands that direct the function of various processes in your body, such as growth and development, metabolism, sexual function and reproduction.

and mood, according to the Hormone Health Network. Several hormones of note: thyroid, insulin, cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

Your hormones don’t just control how you feel, they can impact the health of your skin, too. “Hormones play a key role in skin health.

 We know this because certain hormonal disorders manifest themselves in the skin and hair, in addition to internally,” says S. 

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Tyler Hollmig, MD, director of dermatologic surgery at UT Dell Medical School and Ascension Seton in Austin, Texas.

Hormone levels largely go unnoticed unless there’s something off. For instance, having low levels of thyroid hormones, called hypothyroidism, can contribute to weight gain, low mood, constipation, and even dry skin, according to the Mayo Clinic.

 Excess androgen, considered typical male hormones, which females also have can stimulate sebaceous glands in the skin to pump out oil, one factor that contributes to the development of acne, says Fran Cook-Bolden, MD, a dermatologist affiliated with Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City.

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Another big hormonal player in skin health is estrogen. Even before menopause, “as we age, estrogen levels can start to decline.

 Estrogen helps to stimulate the right amount of oil production to keep it supple, smooth, and plump. 

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But as estrogen decreases, skin is drier and itchier. We see this in patients with dry skin in general as well as in eczema patients during flares,” says Dr. Cook-Bolden.

What is true is that if you’re experiencing symptoms such as a specific skin problem, your doctor may consider a hormonal condition.

 For instance, if you have irregular periods, acne along your jawline, and excess hair on your lip and chin, your doctor may evaluate you for polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS.

 Excess levels of “male hormones” called androgens, as well as high insulin (another hormone) may play a role in the cause of PCOS, according to the Office on Women’s Health. 

In this case, treatment via weight reduction or prescription medication, like birth control pills or spironolactone, may help regulate hormones.

Similarly, your doctor may grow suspicious that other hormonal factors are at play if your skin is not responding to tried-and-true treatments, says Hollmig. 

For instance, “acne largely caused by a hormonal imbalance would not likely improve significantly with a topical antibacterial wash,” he says. If your skin is not responding to treatment, your doctor may request lab testing.

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Puberty was probably the first time you noticed how fluctuating hormones affect your skin. 

During puberty — when a woman’s ovaries “turn on” — there’s a rise in estrogen as well as testosterone (it’s not a male-exclusive hormone). Receptors in the skin are sensitive to testosterone, pumping out sebum as a result, which can lead to acne, says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. 

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(Because men make more testosterone, they tend to get worse acne, she says.) For women, hormonal birth control pills are an option, as they “put the ovaries asleep” and as a result, shut down testosterone production, says Dr. Minkin.

During pregnancy, skin changes vary widely among women. One notable skin change is melasma, a condition characterized by dark discolorations on your face. 

“Pregnancy is a state of high estrogen, making skin more sensitive to the sun,” says Minkin. To reduce your risk of developing melasma, she encourages patients to seek shade and always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Along with reduced skin hydration, a lack of estrogen is also involved in breaking down collagen and elastin, the proteins that give skin its structure, noted a paper published in 2019 in the Dermatology Online Journal. 

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The combination of dryness and loss of collagen leads to more prominent wrinkles.

This is not about taking a specialized rotation of supplements or adhering to a detox or cleanse. 

“You can improve your skin health by getting plenty of sleep, having a balanced diet, exercising regularly, reducing alcohol consumption, and avoiding smoking. This is good, clean living,” says Hollmig.

 Skip severe diets and prolonged cleanses, as these can lead to a hormonal imbalance if they put too much stress on your body, he says.

Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, practicing stress reduction, and getting adequate sleep are all best practices. 

But they’re also the habits you hear about every day. There’s no secret skin reset there.

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