Our skin is a mirror of what is going on inside out bodies and the delicate balance of our ever-changing hormones during different stages of our lives plays a significant role in this. If you are experiencing skin conditions such as acne, pigmentation, or a generally dull and lacklustre complexion, it could likely be related to unhappy hormones. Read on to discover what causes these common hormone related skin issues and how you can tackle them from inside and out to restore the clear, even and glowing complexion that you deserve.
Hormonal acne tends to be clustered around the lower part of the face, around the jaw and cheeks. It can also take the form of blackheads, white heads and small pimples or cysts.
Why it happens:
High levels of testosterone and related androgen hormones can lead to increased oil/sebum production in the skin which can lead to skin pores becoming blocked, creating the perfect environment for bacteria and oil to build up. This is common in women who have a predisposition towards Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). If you are experiencing low levels of progesterone relative to oestrogen you may also be experiencing acne, particularly before your menstrual cycle.
Fibre is one of the critical components of clearing hormonally imbalanced skin. My favourite skin-friendly fibre is flaxseed meal (you will often hear me raving about this). Other wonderful fibre-rich foods include apples, beets, carrots, asparagus and sweet potatoes. These are prebiotic-rich foods that work to sweep away toxins and excess hormones that can wreak havoc on the skin. Increasing your intake of zinc rich foods is also key. Zinc is responsible for balancing the skin’s sebum production, it's also effective in regulating insulin production, reducing the body’s inflammatory response to bacteria and blocking the production of unwanted hormones. Zinc-rich foods include spirulina, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and nuts.
Ensure you are using products containing ingredients which are purifying yet are not stripping the skin of its natural oils. Natural AHAs and salicylic acid are fantastic for keeping excess oil at bay. Using products which are water or gel based to hydrate the skin will help to control sebum production whilst you work on the “inside” to treat the underlying cause.
HYPERPIGMENTATION / MELASMA
Pigmentation is a frustrating yet very common condition, particularly amongst women. It results in dark pigments, freckles, spots or patches on the skin that results in an uneven skin tone. It can be exacerbated by hormones, diet, medication and UV exposure.
Why it happens:
In order to address hyperpigmentation, it is important to understand how pigment in the skin works. Melanin is what colours our skin and it is produced by an amino acid called tyrosine. Tyrosinase is an enzyme which stimulates the production of melanin resulting in additional skin pigment. High levels of oestrogen and progesterone are thought to stimulate the overproduction of melanin when the skin is exposed to the sun. This commonly occurs during pregnancy or when undertaking hormone-impacting treatments and medications, such as the birth control pill.
A diet rich in omega fatty acids is a fantastic way to protect against damage that may trigger overproduction of pigment in the skin. Excellent plant-based sources include flaxseed oil, walnuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds and avocado. Ensuring your diet contains an abundance of antioxidants can also ensure that your skin is being protected from damage associated with hormone imbalance. Edible Beauty Native Collagen Powder is a fantastic way to boost your antioxidant intake naturally.
Taking steps to inhibit tyrosinase production helps to fade pigments and address the emerging issue of pigmentation. Protecting the skin from internal and external damage using natural skincare and an abundance of antioxidant rich botanicals is also the key to preventing pigmentation. Thirdly, brightening the skin with natural AHAs such as Lime, Strawberry and Apple Extracts can be a great way to tackle existing pigmentation.
Our Turmeric Beauty Latte booster serum contains Rumex and Licorice, both shown to be effective in addressing hyperpigmentation. Licorice Root contains the active ingredient, glabridin that interrupts the enzymes that activate melanin production, making it a natural skin whitening agent. It prevents future hyperpigmentation while improving existing dark spots on your skin. Rumex Extract has been clinically proven to treat hyper-pigmentation by inhibiting the enzymes that are responsible for creating skin pigment (tyrosinase).
Lacklustre, tired and dull looking skin are often the result of a change in hormones, in particular the stress hormone cortisol.
Why it happens:
If you are being constantly subjected to stress, your skin may be being affected by the well-known “fight or flight” response. This leads your skin to sweat, which can make it appear oily and clammy. In addition, it can also affect blood circulation, which decreases “skin cell oxygenation” and can eventually lead to premature lines and wrinkles.
It's crucial to address your body’s response to “stress”. Deep breathing, exercise and meditation, along with proper sleep, are essential to normalising your body’s production of hormones. When the body is producing the stress hormone cortisol, it is at the expense of hormones such as progesterone, which we need for healthy hormone balance...and a radiant complexion!
Opting for foods that are rich in B vitamins and magnesium, such as wholegrains and leafy greens, can help your body to restore depleted levels required for healthy hormone synthesis.
Take a nurturing approach to your skin during stressful times. Whilst it is tempting to forget your skincare routine, now is the time that you need to be looking after your skin most. Focus on hydrating and nourishing oils that are rich in antioxidants and up your daily dose of natural AHAs ,which are naturally brightening and rejuvenating. Treat your skin to hydrating masks and sheet masks, which are a great way to give your skin a “spa-style” beauty treatment at home and take a moment of time to yourself to unwind.