Hormone Health and the Skin

As skin therapists, talking about hormones is something we do a lot of. No matter what skin concerns or conditions we are facing, hormones have a part to play in it all and often, especially in cases of acne, can be one of the leading causes.

So, what are we talking about when we mention hormonal imbalances, and is there anything we can actually do to fix these imbalances?

Let us refresh you on some of the effects of stress on the skin and why we want to keep cortisol levels balanced (read a more in-depth discussion here). 

  • Decreases gut health - increasing internal inflammation and weakening the microbiome
  • Stress causes Cortisol to spike = causes Testosterone to spike = HIGH and STICKY oil flow
  • Stress also causes Insulin to spike = causes Insulin Growth Factor (IGF-1) to spike = exacerbates oil flow

Our endocrine system is heavily intertwined, which means that stress not only has an impact on our skin but OTHER hormones as well. In females, oestrogen and progesterone are the two most important hormones - known for maintaining the health and wellbeing of our reproductive system. When we have an imbalance of hormones in our body, it is generally that either our oestrogen levels are too high or our progesterone levels are too low.

High Oestrogen:

  • Caused by your body struggling to break down and detoxify oestrogen which leads to higher levels as the body ends up reabsorbing it creating a pro-inflammatory environment.

Low Progesterone:

  • Due to stress, lack of ovulation or the corpus leuteum (progesterone producer) is compromised.

So how can we keep our oestrogen and progesterone levels as balanced as possible?

Insulin (blood sugar controlling hormone) is very connected with oestrogen. When our blood sugar spikes, insulin rises. This lowers the levels of an important protein in our bodies called sex hormone binding globulin (SHGB) which binds to excess amounts of oestrogen. 

Cortisol (stress hormone) is created through the use of progesterone. So when we are stressed and produce more cortisol, our body starts to run low on progesterone, creating an imbalance between oestrogen and progesterone.

So, in order to keep our oestrogen levels from spiking and our progesterone from dropping, it is super important that we are managing our stress levels and eating a blood sugar balancing diet.

Why is this important for our skin?

We know that hormonal fluctuations not only cause imbalances within the endocrine system, but can cause symptoms in other areas of the body. Ever noticed an increase in breakouts just before or during your period. This is due to fluctuations (or decreases) in oestrogen and progesterone. Balanced oestrogen and progesterone levels (in relation to each other but also androgens, cortisol and insulin) can prevent increases in oil flow and a pro-inflammatory skin that can worsen acne or other inflamed skin conditions. 

Thank you to @isabella.mainwaring for this amazing info! Be sure to check in with your local hormone specialist or Naturopath if you’re concerned with how your lifestyle habits are affecting you hormones (and your skin).

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published