By Julia Ferrari
Hormones are a bitch. We know full well they’re often behind annoying mood swings or pimples at certain times of the month, but they play a bigger role in our overall health and the appearance of our skin, too. How so? Well, since, hormones play such a crucial role in our body’s equilibrium, when they’re unbalanced, they can cause myriad beauty issues, including acne, redness, wrinkles, sagging and even brown spots.
Balancing hormones is a pretty complicated issue, best dealt with by a good dermatologist or endocrinologist, so I’ve consulted British Dermatologist Dr Sweta Rai for advice on this article. As each person is unique, it’s essential for you to contact your own medical expert if you suspect your hormones are out of whack.
But if you’ve noticed some changes in your skin lately and don’t know why, here’s a handy guide to possible hormonal causes of common skin issues, and a bit of advice on how to balance hormones to boost your beauty.
1. Sagging skin and wrinkles: estrogen
Estrogen is often referred to as the female sex hormone. It’s produced mainly in the ovaries, but on a much smaller scale, it’s also produced within fat cells and the adrenal glands. Estrogen controls sexual development, is responsible for bone formation, blood clotting, and can also affect the skin, hair, mucous membranes and pelvic muscles.
As estrogen declines, the skin produces less collagen and elastin and the skin becomes thinner, drier and more wrinkled. “Low estrogen can also cause other skin problems including adult acne and rosacea,” says Dr Rai.
One study of women aged 35-55 found that women with low estrogen levels looked significantly older than their age and those with move optimal levels of estrogen looked much younger. In fact, those with the lowest levels of estrogen looked up to eight years older than their age. So, if you want your skin too look plump and youthful, balancing or even supplementing this hormone is a must.
How to deal with estrogen imbalance
- Include flaxseeds, organic soy and sesame seeds in your diet as well as herbs such as turmeric, thyme and sage for natural ways to increase oestrogen levels in the body
- Natural estrogen replacement hormone replacement therapy has been shown to improve collagen levels and moisture content of the skin and reduce wrinkles, but you MUST consult your doctor before consider this, as the side effects of HRT can be serious
- Try supplements such as maca and black cohosh, which both help balance hormones
- Keep your skin well hydrated with a rich moisturiser, such as Kora Organics Hydrating Moisturizer
- Unbalanced estrogen can also lead to skin disorders such as melasma, where skin pigmentation is exacerbated by sun exposure. So make sure you protect your face with an organic, high SPF sunscreen such as Green People’s.
2. Puffy skin and acne: insulin
Produced by the pancreas, insulin is a hormone that allows other cells to turn glucose (i.e. sugar) into energy. “Eating too much refined sugar means that your body has to produce more insulin to counteract the sugar,” confirms Dr Rai. The more we consume refined sugar and white carbs, the more this influx of sugar increases our levels of insulin. And as levels of insulin increase, so does the production of sebum, which can lead to acne and inflammation in the skin.
In addition, insulin is a fat-storing hormone. If you have high levels in your bloodstream, you will store more fat (rather than burn it for energy) and be more likely to develop other medical problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and Type II diabetes. Even small insulin spikes can cause water retention, giving your face a puffy look.
How to deal with insulin imbalances
- Cut the crap. As we gorge our way through refined carbs such as cakes, white bread and white pasta, this increases the overall insulin level in the body.
- Exercise more. Sedentary behaviour exacerbates insulin spikes. Any kind of aerobic exercise will be effective in decreasing insulin levels in the body. Exercise has also been found in reducing insulin resistance.
- Dr Rai suggests eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of three big ones to avoid blood sugar spikes.
- To improve insulin’s effects on your skin, try products with salicylic acid – it fights blemishes, since it exfoliates, unclogs pores and has antibacterial properties. Try Caudalie’s Vinopure Blemish Control Infusion Serum
3. Hair loss, red skin: cortisol
“Known as the stress (or fight or flight) hormone, cortisol is released in the body due to stress, leading to a duller complexion, hair loss and weight fluctuations,” says Dr Rai. This hormone plays a key role in your health as it reduces inflammation and regulates blood sugar and metabolism, but too much of it can lead to high blood pressure, fatigue and irritability.
The Society for Endocrinology adds that cortisol can have even more detrimental effects on your beauty, too, including acne to thinning skin and a red, flushed face. Unfortunately, modern lifestyles don’t lend themselves to stress-free situations. So, how do we limit the damage?
How to balance cortisol
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods that are high in fibre and full of essential nutrients. Lauren rates turmeric and recommends to “always consume with black pepper to release its benefits. And healthy fats are so important for good hormone health – look for good quality (extra virgin and cold pressed) olive, pumpkin and hemp oils. Avocados and coconut oil are great, too.”
- Quit coffee and caffeinated drinks, which impede sleep and increase stress reactions in your body.
- It might sound easier said than done, but try to manage your stress levels. Introducing meditation or deep breathing exercises to your routine will help with this.
- Indulge in a bath as part of your bedtime routine and add a swirl of Neal’s Yard Remedies lavender-infused Aromatic Foaming Bath to relax your senses.
- According to Dr Rai, exercising regularly at a gentle to moderate level balances out cortisol and encourages healthier and deeper sleep. If you suffer from occasional insomnia, try taking a natural melatonin supplement – sleep is essential for reducing cortisol levels.
More Natural Ways to Balance Hormones
Evening primrose oil is rich in omega 6 fatty acid which helps maintain healthy and balanced hormones in the body. Evening primrose oil is also perfect in battling acne that occurs from imbalanced hormones. It promotes healing and regeneration of the skin while reducing inflammation.
These natural ingredients work together beautifully to create hormonal balance and boost energy. The capsules are packed full of natural vitamins, mineral, plant extracts and amino acids, which aid in boosting mental clarity and energy. All ingredients are naturally sourced with bioactive ingredients to transport you to a new uplifted and energised you.
Having trouble growing hair and nails because your corisone levels are off the charts? Take our advice above, and use these supplements to help speed up that hair growth!
4. Moon Juice
Containing only organic ingredients, Moon Juice’s sampler box is formulated to enhance your natural beauty, improve your mental and sexual energy, as well as sleep pattern and mood. Containing 12 sachets that can be mixed with hot or cold drinks, each botanical blend is alchemized with potent organic and wild-crafted herbs, including adaptogenic plants and bioactive minerals.
Having well-balanced hormones is essential to maintaining healthy energy levels and promoting overall wellbeing. Luckily, these vegan friendly encapsulated Enhanced Motion Hormone Balance supplements contain everything you need to keep your body’s hormonal functions in check.
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