Hormones May Play a Role In Skin Health
You see it all over beauty magazines, blogs, and websites — articles relating beauty and skin health to hormones. Studies have demonstrated that fluctuations in hormones can affect acne, dryness, pigmentation, and aging of the skin. Hormones take care of many aspects of our internal body systems; they act on the brain, bone, and heart so why wouldn’t they also impact how we look?
Hormones are chemical signals that play a crucial role in every aspect of our lives, from regulating our blood pressure to our skin’s appearance. Oftentimes, the visible changes are so much out in the open that individuals ignore the internal changes. Hormonal changes happen from the time of birth and continue throughout each individual’s lifetime. Hormone levels increase throughout childhood and hit their peak during the teenage years.
Hormonal fluctuations in the teenage years lead to oily skin and acne as the body produces more estrogen and progesterone than normal. Teenagers tend to have thinner skin. As hormone levels decline during adulthood there is more sebum (oil) production which leads to dry skin that may be prone to wrinkles, cracked skin, and premature aging.
How do Hormones affect the skin’s appearance?
Hormones play a big role in the skin’s appearance. They affect how much oil the skin produces, how quickly it renews and repairs itself, and its pigmentation (color). The effect of hormones can be seen on the face and the body. Hormonal changes can result in the following:
- Uneven skin tone
- Visible blood vessels
- Saggy skin
- Dryness (especially around the mouth)
- Changes to hair growth (such as fine hairs on the chin or coarse hairs on the abdomen)
There are three main hormones that will affect the skin, including estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone.
Estrogen promotes oil production in the skin and helps to maintain collagen levels for smooth, supple-appearing skin. It’s also one of the main sex hormones in women. A significant decrease in estrogen levels leads to dry skin, wrinkles, slowed wound-healing process, and an increase in inflammatory processes. Progesterone also affects the appearance of the skin as it has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, reducing redness and swelling from acne or other irritations on the face.
In women, hormonal changes due to menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause can affect the appearance of their skin. Women who are on birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy may also experience changes in their complexion because of hormonal shifts.
Testosterone affects oil production in the skin causing increased sebum (oil) secretion which can lead to acne if pores become clogged. Having too much testosterone leads to oily skin and hair in unwanted areas. Having too little testosterone leads to a dull complexion and decreased skin density.
Studies have shown that hormone replacement treatments are effective because they will rebalance the hormones. Keep in mind there are other hormones that affect the skin’s health. It’s important for individuals to see a healthcare provider if they have any skin problems. Healthcare providers need to find the underlying cause and initiate appropriate treatment protocols.