Hormones & Your Skin.

Hormones are responsible for a great many things in our bodies. I do not envy them even one little bit. They are a contributing factor to many processes in our bodies & can visibly impact our skin, hair & even our waistlines fairly significantly.

Nothing can make you feel quite so young, or awkward, as a nice, inflamed blind pimple on your chin. Even in my 40’s I find myself {finally!} resisting the urge to try to extract these dreaded beasts. Weren’t we supposed be done with zits as we left our teens? Sadly, no. Our hormones continue to fluctuate throughout our cycles & the aftermath is as unpredictable as our monthly mood swings. What’s a girl to do?

W H A T ‘ S T H E D E A L W I T H H O R M O N E S ? |So we all, men & women, have male & female hormones. For men there is a higher concentration of male hormones {androgens}, like testosterone, while women have more of the female hormones of which estrogen & progesterone are the main two. Sometimes through different causes these hormones can become out of whack. Higher levels of testosterone in women can result in those irritating breakouts on our chins & jawlines & in male-pattern hair growth ~ those dark hairs that show up on our upper lips and chins virtually overnight. Hormonal Acne may also appear on your scalp, back or chest. Hormonal acne tends to be deeper cystic type acne that does not usually ‘come to a head’. They become quite inflamed, prominent & painful, & appear most often on the outer sides of the chin & along the jawline. They can take a number of weeks to heal, & often leave behind some post-inflammatory pigmentation, which can be rectified using the same techniques as when treating Chloasma. {See below.}

Hormones can also cause pigment changes in the skin. Chloasma, sometimes called the ‘Pregnancy Mask’, is an overproduction of pigment usually found in certain areas of the face. The upper lip or even all the way around the mouth, &/or across the nose & cheeks. Pregnancy hormones are the usual trigger, or the use of contraceptive medications. Pigmentation outside of this pattern is usually related to sun exposure & is called Melasma. Although, sun exposure will darken Chloasma.

W H A T C A U S E S T H E S E F L U C T U A T I O N S ? | Although our hormone levels naturally rise & drop for the duration of our monthly cycle, diet can also play a huge part. Some foods contain artificial hormones or hormones from other animals that can affect our own levels. I’ve also recently learned, while researching PCOS {Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome}, that elevated insulin levels can incite a spike in testosterone levels. As was discussed in the last blog post, a diet that is mostly fresh, Whole Foods {that are low GI} is best & we should look for hormone free proteins.

Medications & certain conditions, including stress, can also affect our hormone levels. There are too many conditions of the reproductive system to list here that may contribute & because our thyroid gland is where a lot of our hormones are produced any kind of thyroid imbalance could also play a part.

H O W C A N W E T R E A T T H I S ? |From a SkinCare perspective there is really nothing we can do to stop the breakouts {or those pesky, little hairs}. Even those who {like me} are skincare-obsessed are blesssed with their presence regularly. Maintaining appropriate cleansing & moisturizing, exfoliating regularly & using a salicylic acid spot treatment will help to heal them more quickly. Visit your esthetician for a treatment that includes some High Frequency ‘Zapping’ or blue LED Light Therapy can help to speed the healing process also. For scalp, back & chest acne be sure that you are washing well after excessive sweating, but also bear in mind cleansing too much can strip the skin of natural oils which triggers the skin to produce larger amounts of oil, which may then get trapped in the pore & become a breakout. Washing your hair too often may increase the oiliness of your scalp. {This can be corrected by temporarily enduring some slightly oilier days to spread your washes out some. After about two weeks your scalp will know it doesn’t have to produce the extra oil.} Another possibility may be over-use of Dry Shampoos. Although super handy on what should have been wash day {Hey, sometimes washing & styling my hair seems like a chore I’m just not prepared for} they may cause blocking of the follicles, which could lead to a breakout.

Chloasma or Melasma are treated by introducing ingredients into your skincare that inhibit melanin production {or, more specifically, who inhibit the production of the hormone that tells the melanocytes to produce melanin}. I prefer to steer clear of Hydroquinone & Kojic Acid as prolonged use of Hydroquinone has been linked with cancer & Kojic Acid has been seen to cause irritation or sensitivity in the skin & results are not lasting if you discontinue use. Increased exfoliation in the way of professional peels or microdermabrasion will bring the pigmented cells to the surface more quickly. I am excited to say that Circadia’s SWiCH Dermal Rejuvenation Treatment is successfully treating pigmentation for a number of my clients, myself included. As is the Oxygen Rx. The ultimate Pigmentation Treatment Protocol alternates these two at two week intervals. The results are remarkable within a 2-3 months, along with appropriate home care that targets pigmentation. The SWiCH Treatment optimizes new cell production in the lowest parts of the epidermis, driving those pigmented cells to the surface where they slough away. Fresh, unpigmented cells move in to replace them. Often times, pigmentation will appear to be darker as we treat it. This is a great sign! It means those dead cells at the surface that were softening the look of the pigmentation have been removed & that those deeper pigmented cells are arriving at the surface to be whisked away.

E S T H E T I C I A N ‘ S A D V I C E| My advice would be to to have a conversation with your doctor. Request to have your hormone &/or thyroid levels checked. Discuss how your medications could be affecting your hormones. Talk to a Nutritionist or Dietician & perhaps consider making changes to your diet. Look for ways to reduce your stress levels ~ introduce some exercise, try a facial treatment or massage to unwind, or just do your most favorite thing.

In the case of Chloasma, I find it is best to treat after pregnancy, when breastfeeding is complete, to ensure that the hormones are not still affecting melanin production. Otherwise, as quickly as we are treating at the surface {& spending time & money on treatments & products} the pigmentation is being produced in the lower levels of the skin. I would continue using SPF diligently so that sun exposure doesn’t exacerbate the darkness of the pigment & use a Vitamin C Serum to help brighten. {The Circadia Vitamin C Reversal Serum also contains Hyaluronic Acid to maintain amazing hydration & Vitamin B5 to strengthen the immune function of the skin.} In the case of contraceptive meds being the possible cause I would discuss options with your doctor.

So did I answer all of your questions about Hormones & your skin? If not, comment your question below & I’ll do my best to answer it. Also, be sure to let me know if there are any other skincare or beauty related subjects you’d like me to cover!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jessie Koon says:

    Very well written and easy to understand. Just when I thought I had read everything about annoying hormonal breakouts, you have enlightened me still. Thank you Kelleigh for the good read!

    1. That’s great, Jess! Thanks for the feedback & for reading! 😉 I hope to see you soon.

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