At some point, we've all endured the frustration and inconvenience of changes in our skin. Fluctuation in the skin and experiencing breakouts is shared amongst all age groups and genders. We've become accustomed to the routine breakouts or awkward skin moments. Sometimes we can pinpoint the cause as to why our skin is uncharacteristically dry, or why a pimple sprouted, however other times it is not clear as to why our skin is presenting these unwanted symptoms.
The interesting thing about the human body is that it's always changing. Often these changes happen internally without our control so it makes it a bit difficult to prepare for the external reactions we are faced with. One of the leading causes of changes in our skin is the multitude of different hormones in the body.
What are Hormones?
Hormones are chemicals produced by glands in the endocrine system that act as a messenger. These molecules specific signals from one cell to another. They are responsible for regulating processes in the body, such as appetite, sleep cycle, metabolism, heart rate, mood, and stress. Though hormones are supposed to be in balance, like many things in life, they often surge or dip, which can have a profound effect on the skin. When our hormones are out of balance, we see it reflected in our skin.
4 Skin Signs of Hormonal Imbalances
- Acne and Oily Skin: We’ve all experienced acne breakouts; from mild to severe. Breakouts on the skin can come from hormonal fluctuations. Our skin has many sebaceous glands that secrete an oily, waxy substance called sebum. Sebum and oil are essential for skin health. But high levels of androgen hormones, like testosterone, can cause overproduction of oil and create an environment for bacterial overgrowth, inflammation, and acne.
- Dry Skin: Dry skin is commonly seen when climate changes to colder, drier weather; however, an increase in dry patches can be a direct result of hormonal imbalance. Estrogen is linked to keeping the skin barrier strong and hydrated. Depleted hormone levels can cause the skin to become rough, dry, and flaky.
- Stressed Skin: Skin is an “immediate stress perceiver”, meaning our skin is signaling when stress levels in our bodies are high. Excessive stress can disrupt the delicate balance of our hormones and we release higher levels of cortisol resulting in a heightened immune system. If the immune system is disrupted it can lead to a flare-up of existing inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or acne.
- Sensitive Skin: Hormones can affect the skin’s sensitivity levels especially at the start of a menstrual cycle.3 This is due to the fluctuation of estrogen your body produces during your monthly cycle. When your body is producing less estrogen, it can make you feel more pain and sensitivity because estrogen levels influence the sensory process in the brain.
How to Balance Your HormonesNatural ways to balance hormones include keeping a healthy diet, avoiding stress, getting enough sleep and exercising. Be sure to discuss any changes in your skin with your primary care doctor or dermatologist and any menstrual cycle abnormalities with your gynecologist.