How hormones affect your skin
By: Dr. Lauren Beardsley
Spring is near – and this finds many of us wanting to flaunt our tank-top ready arms and our smooth, clear complexion. Most of us know that hormonal changes can affect our mood, digestion, and sleep… but did you know that your hormones can affect your shape also?
If you have concerns with any the following, continue reading:
- Dry, pale and/or thin skin
- Increased pore size
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Sagging/drooping skin
- Decreased healing
The real question we must address is, is your skin elasticity not as competent as it once was? The role of skin health is determined by both internal and external factors.
External – influential factors include sun exposure (UV light), diet, smoking/alcohol/drug use, and environmental exposure (pollution, toxins in our skin care products).
Internal – influential factors include genes/genetic changes, lowered lipid production, decreased levels of hormones, and systemic inflammation.
Now there is no question about it… hormonal levels play a key role in our external appearance. In particular, adequate total estrogen levels can keep our skin supple, hydrated, and “youthful”.
Estrogens in particular affect the thickness and suppleness of skin, moisture, and wrinkle formation. Estrogens are steroids made from cholesterol in the ovary (before menopause) and in the peripheral tissue (after menopause). The Journal for the American Academy of Dermatology reports a connection between declining levels of estrogen and overall dermal health. Studies of postmenopausal women indicated that estrogen deprivation is associated with declining dermal collagen content, diminished skin moisture, epidermal thinning, decreased laxity, and impaired wound healing.
The Journal of American Medical Association – Dermatology also completed studies with results strongly suggesting, “that estrogen use prevents dry skin and skin wrinkling, thus extending the potential benefits of postmenopausal estrogen therapy to include protection against selected age and menopause-associated dermatologic conditions”.
Estrogens have an anti-inflammatory action and when bound to receptors can aid in lowering systemic inflammation. Adequate amounts of estrogen also maintain blood vessels. Losing these hormones can lead to a lowered number of blood vessels supplying nutrients to the skin therefore causing pale, dry, and thin skin. Estrogens as a whole can increase Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) – such as Hyaloronic Acid (HA) – to maintain fluid balance and structural integrity. Estrogens can also increase collagen production in the skin to allow for thick, supple, and hydrated skin.
***Fun Fact – The linkage between Estrogen and GAGs is the mechanism behind how re-establishing appropriate Estrogen levels can relieve joint pain and stiffness often misperceived as arthritis or other joint conditions.***
With that said, restoring youthful levels of hormones (in this case, Estrogens) can aid in restoring youthful skin by:
- Optimizing tissue elasticity and integrity
- Increasing moisture/hydration
- Ensuring adequate blood flow
- Decreasing inflammation
- Improving wound healing
With the added bonus of additional symptomatic relief.
On the flip side, hormones that are either out of balance or in excess can lead to a list of unwanted side effects including:
- Fluid retention and bloating
- Skin blemishes/acne
- Unwanted hair growth
- Unwanted hair loss
- Skin discolorations
If you or someone you know may be suffering from any of the above mentioned concerns, consider re-evaluating hormone levels. Let the experts at Integrative Health help you achieve the balance you need to look (and feel) your best this spring.
JAMA Network “Does Estrogen Prevent Skin Aging? Results from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination” http://archderm.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=558673
Journal for the Academy of American Dermatology
(c) 2016- Integrative Health Care, PC
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Dr. Lauren Beardsley is a licensed Naturopathic Physician dedicated to helping individuals replenish, restore and renew balance. She received her Medical degree from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (SCNM). She received post graduate training in athletic performance optimization, pain management using physical manipulation and injection therapy, women’s health and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. In 2012, she was named one of Phoenix Magazines’s “Top Docs.”
Dr. Beardsley can be reached at www.MyIntegrativeHealth.com and 480-657-0003.