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  • Hormones and Your Skin

    Imagine balancing a scale with grains of sand. This is how your hormones (the grains of sand) maintain a balanced body. Even the slightest difference in either way- whether it’s having a little too much or a little too little- can have a significant impact in the way your body works. Hormones are chemical signals that impact every slow, long-lasting process in the body, from hunger and growth to sleep and emotions. Unlike the quick-acting nervous system, the endocrine system, which governs hormones, releases these chemicals over an expanse of time and distance, circulating through the blood vessels. Once they reach their destination, they can impact a number of bodily functions. As the skin is the largest organ, it is also under the control of hormonal fluctuations.

    Hormones come in many flavors. There are sex steroid hormones, thyroid hormones, growth hormones and inflammatory hormones, among a myriad of others. These hormones have significant effects on skin throughout our lifetime, from puberty, through pregnancy and menopause. Here’s a short list on how some of these impact skin:

    • Androgens, like testosterone, are responsible for increasing hair growth and sebum production.

    • Estrogens (and most likely Progestogens) are responsible for regulating hydration, pigmentation and collagen production in skin.

    • Thyroid hormones, when imbalanced, can lead to hair loss and changes in skin hydration. Too much and skin is moist; too little and skin becomes rough and dry.

    • Growth hormone stimulates insulin growth factor (IGF-1), which can also trigger sebum production. This is the primary reason behind new studies showing how milk, which is high in these hormones, can lead to acneic breakouts.

    When it comes to skin, hormones are a leading factor behind many of the blemishes, bumps, spots, flecks, sheen and stubble that plague many people, especially women. One hundred percent of women have to deal with hormones at some point in their life, so it’s important to understand their effects on skin, and what we can do to control them.

    1 Comment

    • Marguerite Says:

      Thanks for the clarity in this article. I knew hormones had the ability to change the skin but I didn’t know what hormones would change it and how. I will share this article with my skincare friends.

      May 14, 2012 at 5:35 am

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