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How Hormones Affect Your Skin

Hormones have an impact on the entire body, and this includes the skin, your body’s largest organ. Teenagers who plan a big event only to discover a pimple on the chin know well that these changes can strike without notice and leave a telltale mark on the face. Adults also may have acne or skin irritations because of the kinds of hormonal fluctuations that can occur prior to menstruation or with stress. As hormones change in advanced years, the skin can dry out and wrinkle. Understanding how hormonal fluctuations affect your skin can help you prepare for breakouts and dry patches before they happen. Knowledge can also help you find ways to heal your skin from within.

Acne is a common response to hormonal changes. This happens during teenage years, pregnancy, prior to menstruation and with elevated testosterone production. Sebum is the oil underneath the surface of the skin, and hormonal disruption can cause increased sebum secretion. The result is an outbreak of a pimple or several. If you have an idea that your hormones are going to surge at a certain time, such as prior to menstruation or at the onset of pregnancy, try rinsing your face several times a day with a natural acne fighter such as tea tree oil. Look for freshener that is designed for oily skin and use it during these times. Also, get plenty of sunlight, and you will increase your intake of Vitamin D, which is an anti-acne medication that comes directly from the sun.

If you notice that you tend to get pimples when things are piling up and there is more stress at work, that is because of the increased production of the hormone cortisol. When you feel nervous and under pressure, the body produces more cortisol that in turn stimulates the production of sebum and can create pimples. One way to treat stress-related acne and other conditions that can result for consistent pressure is to make lifestyle changes. Consider enrolling in an exercise class to let off steam. Aerobic exercise also gets your heart pumping and can encourage perspiration, which cleanses the skin of impurities. You may decide to try some meditation exercises you can do at the office to relieve stress throughout the day. This will create health benefits inside and out and will enhance your peace of mind.

Watching what you eat can help you look better. You may have heard that sugary foods can increase pimples, but the scientific reason lies with hormone production. When you eat more sugar, your body produces insulin to break down the sugar. Along with a surge in insulin is an increased production of pimple-producing sebum. This is yet another reason to replace sugary sweets with fruit and going for fizzy water instead of sugary colas. Healthier food also contains nutrients that can make your skin look better.

Hormonal imbalances don’t just increase your skin’s secretion of oils and cause acne, but some changes can make your skin dry and even create wrinkles. One of the causes of dry skin is low thyroid or hyperthyroidism. Dry skin is just one symptom of thyroid irregularities. Others include fatigue, weight gain and irregular menstrual cycles. The decline in estrogen production during perimenopause or menopause itself can also dry out the skin. That is one reason why it is important to keep your skin hydrated with a high-qualiy moisturizer at all phases of life, but especially after 40. Sunlight provides Vitamin D that benefits the skin, but most of the time, it is essential to wear sunscreen to keep out UV rays that prematurely age the skin.

Higher production of androgen or testosterone has the opposite effect of low estrogen. While the lack of estrogen dries out the skin, higher production of male hormones increases sebum and can cause acne. This can happen when women use birth control pills. In addition, some phases of peri-menopause can be accompanied by a surge in adrogen, which can cause breakouts of pimples.

There often isn’t much one can do about hormonal changes that naturally accompany life stages, such as adolescence and menopause. However, seeking natural hormonal treatment can not only help regulate your mood and make you feel better, but can heal skin dryness or acne. Find ways to combat stress to avoid excessive cortisol in your system and have thyroid irregularities checked by your doctor.

There may be risks associated with conventional treatments for hormonal imbalances. Many women engage in estrogen replacement therapy at the onset of menopause, but this carries increased risks of certain illnesses, such as breast cancer. Look for natural options to regulate hormones. There are a number of foods that mimic estrogen and can promote optimal hormonal balance. Soy is a plant food that binds on receptor sites where estrogen usually would. Toss some tofu into a salad or a stir fry or try tempeh bacon in the morning. Flaxseeds also mimic estrogen and have the advantage of omega 3 fatty acids. Add flaxseeds into bran muffins and add them to other baked goods. You can also try herbs such as black cohosh and maca for low estrogen levels.

One of the best ways to keep your hormones in balance is to engage in a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables as well as grains, healthy fats an lean proteins. Drink plenty of water to hydrate your skin. Rest and relaxation are important, especially if you want to avoid acne created by stress and fatigue. When the immune system is down, that is when you are more vulnerable to skin breakouts and other problems. While there is only so much you can do about the inevitable period or phases of life, you can counteract some of the harsher effects of these changes and keep your skin healthy. Finding the right natural cleanser, toner and moisturizer can help your skin look its best for many years.

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