You may be familiar with the expression, “kill the messenger.” However, when you take into account that the main function of hormones is to deliver messages, the expression takes on a whole new meaning. Hormones are chemical messengers in the body created in the endocrine glands. They control most bodily function, including reproduction, emotion, and mood. When they’re in proper balance, hormones can be very beneficial, but when they go out of whack, we do too, and sometimes that shows on our skin. Having a full understanding of how these hormones affect skin is key to finding solutions to hormone related changes. Read on to find out how these messengers operate and what you can do about it.
Estrogen affects the thickness of skin, moisture and wrinkle formation. The hormone can increase glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), such as hyaluronic acid to maintain structure of skin and balance of fluids. Estrogen boost s collagen production, allowing skin to remain plump, wrinkle-free and hydrated.
When hormone activity is elevated, as it is by the use of oral contraceptives and pregnancy, skin pigmentation in sun exposed area (like the forehead and cheeks) increases, resulting in a phenomenon known as melasma.
When women transition into menopause, anti-inflammatory estrogens are lost, leading to increase inflammation. Female skin may become red and blotchy, and certain skin conditions, like rosacea, may result. The decrease of estrogen also means a lowering of collagen production, causing skin thinning, and loss of elasticity, leading to the formation of wrinkles. Estrogen loss also means the number of blood vessels in our skin is reduced, giving skin a pale wan appearance, and the GAGs in our skin, without regulation from estrogen, cause itchiness.
The thyroid hormones affect brain development, breathing, muscle strength, bone health, skin dryness, menstrual cycles, weight, and cholesterol levels. An overload of the hormone can cause skin to become warm and flushed. Too little can make skin dry, thick, and coarse, with a low level of perspiration.
What Can Be Done?
Hormonal replacement therapy is the latest possible solution to menopausal skin. Topical and oral steroid hormones have been shown to show improvements in elasticity, skin thickness, and moisture. However, more work is needed to determine whether or not the treatment is fully beneficial.
Since collagen production is dramatically affected during hormonal loss, it is important to use collagen producing ingredients. Retinoids, Vitamin C, and peptides can all benefit hormone affected skin by controlling pigmentation, boosting collagen production, brightening skin, and increasing the production of GAGs. Oils such as Jasmine and Rosewood can provide hydration, while Carrot Seed, Rosehip, and Argan improve elasticity and support the lipid barrier of the skin.
Are you dealing with skin changes caused by hormones? Let us know how you’re handling it!