What this expert wants you to know about your hormones and skin
What this expert wants you to know about hormones and skin
Like, if your hormones are out of whack, your complexion will be the first to tell you (obviously, not a problem for Rosie).
While testosterone is the primary male sex hormone, it’s also produced in small amounts in women’s ovaries and adrenal glands. Too much testosterone can cause hair growth – also known as hirsutism – in different parts of the body but often around the upper lip, sides of the face and chin. Excess testosterone can also result in overproduction of sebum (oil), leading to acne on the face, chest, shoulders and back.
Progesterone works very synergistically with oestrogen – these hormones can be best buddies and worst enemies. In my professional experience as a beauty therapist and herbalist, often see women who have too-low progesterone levels and too-high oestrogen levels, resulting in acne symptoms.
The most important role of this hormone is to regulate our menstrual cycle and get our uterus ready for pregnancy.
It's also crucial to maintaining a healthy pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester. (A deficiency can cause recurring miscarriage.) Progesterone is also known as the "happy hormone" as it acts like our own natural antidepressant and mood regulator.
This is a very important stress hormone that's produced by the adrenal gland when we wake up in the morning and when we exercise, as well as while we're dealing with stressful events.
Elevated cortisol may lead to inflammation and weight gain.
In the skin, it can cause dryness or too much oil production and redness. It can also result in premature skin ageing as cortisol breaks down collagen and elastin synthesis, which is what keeps skin plump and firm.
Meanwhile, low levels of cortisol can cause under-eye discolouration, sensitised skin and a dull complexion.
This is the female sex hormone and its primary role is to regulate the female reproductive system – so compromised oestrogen levels can cause a lot of issues.
Oestrogen dominance can lead to weight gain, breast tenderness, reduced libido, hair loss and acne.
Oestrogen deficiency is linked with early menopause. Main symptoms are hot flushes, mood disturbances and premature skin ageing. This is because low oestrogen is linked to reduced production of collagen and hyaluronic acid in the skin.
Healthy oestrogen levels help to promote skin integrity and a youthful, wrinkle-free complexion.
Here are the 5 steps you should take for happy hormones and skin
1. Eat well
A diet of antioxidant-rich foods and green leafy veg will aid liver function, which in turn will help flush out excess hormones. Be kinder still to your liver by minimising your intake of alcohol and added sugars, and eating lean meat and wholegrains.
2. Get enough exercise
Choose exercise that makes you feel good without putting too much stress on your body. Walking, swimming and yoga are all excellent options.
3. Reduce stress
4. Minimise chemical exposure
Chemicals can disrupt hormone regulation, so minimise your exposure by using natural cosmetics and cleaning products, aluminium-free deodorant, glass food storage containers (rather than plastic), and by buying organic produce where possible.
5. Talk to your health professional
Hormone levels can be checked with a blood test, and you can discuss your symptoms and potential courses of action.