Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Top 5 Hormones Affecting the Health of Your Skin

There are many important factors to healthy skin:  a diet rich in fruits and vegetables of many colors, good hydration, regular exercise.  There are some important factors to avoid as well including sun damage, smoking, sugar and processed foods.  
But did you know that there are also many hormonal issues that can affect skin health?

Estrogen has many important actions on the skin:  It retains moisture, to prevent dry skin (and dry hair and dry eyes and vaginal dryness…).   It maintains collagen and elasticity to prevent wrinkling.  It also helps to maintain the thickness of the skin.  There are more estrogen receptors in the skin of the face than on other parts of the body, so declining estrogen levels cause more obvious changes on facial skin.  
Estrogen replacement has been shown to increase skin thickness and elasticity, improve collagen content in the skin, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.  Some women actually choose to apply their topical estrogen cream on their face to maximize skin benefits.  Even if estrogen is not applied to the skin, women often notice improvements in their skin, including that healthy glow, when their estrogen levels are restored.  
Testosterone can cause skin problems when it is too low OR too high! 
When testosterone levels are low in older men and women,  skin tends to become thinner, and wound healing is impaired.  Testosterone adds some oil to the skin, and this can be helpful in aging skin which tends to be dry.
On the other hand, excess testosterone or DHEA can cause excessively oily skin and acne breakouts, as well as excess hair growth.  

Progesterone has been found to help maintain skin thickness and elasticity, and helps to maintain scalp hair growth.  It also helps to reduce the negative effects of testosterone on the skin, so a lack of progesterone can exacerbate the effects of excess testosterone.
Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) is often associated with skin dryness as a result of decreased sweating and reduced sebum production.  Many other factors may be seen with low thyroid:  pale skin color, dry bumps on the upper arms, puffiness around the eyes, scalp hair loss, loss of the outer third of the eyebrow,  dry and brittle hair.   
Cortisol is your main stress hormone.  Stress has been associated with skin problems such as acne breakouts.  Since cortisol regulates your immune system, stress can exacerbate rashes such as psoriasis and eczema, which are due to immune system problems.  There is actually a new area of study called psychodermatology looking at the links between skin health and emotional stressors. 

As you can see, there are many ways in which hormones affect your complexion.  If you want healthy, glowing skin then proper hormonal balance is important!
If you are having skin issues and feel that hormones may be part of the problem, please give us a call!  704-752-9346 or email us at questions@signaturewellness.org.  You can find more information at www.signaturewellness.org

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