Aging Gracefully: How Hormones Affect Your Skin at Each Stage of Life

Aging Gracefully: How Hormones Affect Your Skin at Each Stage of Life

Let’s talk about that scary h-word - hormones. No doubt we’ve all heard of them and would rather not deal with them, but the truth of the matter is that these pesky little chemical compounds play an important role in our everyday lives. Not only do they help to regulate just about every single natural process within the body, but they can also play a key role in your skin’s health and appearance at each significant stage in your life.

If you’re like us and interested in learning more about hormones and how they work on your skin, we’re happy to help. We’ve put together a quick breakdown of key hormones in the world of skin health and wellness as well as what to expect at each milestone stage in your life. Keep reading to go all in on the world of hormones and skin health!

How Can Hormones Affect My Skin?

Let’s talk about hormones. These nifty little chemical compounds that exist within each person are produced within our endocrine glands and are used to help regulate key processes throughout the body. Everything from our metabolism to our stress levels is regulated by these hormones, including the health and appearance of our skin.

While there are tons of hormones circulating and fluctuating throughout the body, there are several keys when thinking about the health and appearance of our skin. We’ll break it down in more detail below:

  • Estrogen: This hormone is one of the most important contributors to the health and wellness of our skin. Estrogen contributes to skin elasticity and strength as well as collagen production and moisture retention. When our estrogen levels drop, we can experience thinner skin and more visible signs of aging. When levels are too high, we can experience sensitivity to sunlight and more frequent inflammation.
  • Progesterone: Another important hormone in the world of skin health and appearance, progesterone has been linked to oil production within the skin. If we are experiencing high levels of progesterone, our skin will produce more oil, leading to greater potential for acne and breakouts. On the other hand, if we are experiencing low levels of progesterone, our skin will be drier and more prone to damage.
  • Cortisol: A key player in regulating stress, cortisol levels have been directly linked to the sensitivity of our skin. When our cortisol levels are high, we are prone to experiencing irritation and inflammation. When cortisol levels are low, our skin is more prone to hyperpigmentation and scarring.
  • Thyroid Hormone: In addition to helping regulate metabolism, our thyroid hormones also contribute directly to hair growth and moisture levels in the skin. When we have low thyroid hormone, also known as ‘Hypothyroidism,” we may experience hair loss and dry skin. When we have high thyroid hormone levels, or “Hyperthyroidism,” we may experience higher oil production in both hair follicles and the skin.

Let’s Talk About Puberty

First up on our list is puberty, AKA the introduction of our menstrual cycle. Experiencing one of the less favored aspects of being born female, our periods introduce a crashing wave of hormones at least once a month that can quickly disrupt our skin’s appearance and overall health. For many women, the first half of our periods is characterized by a flood of estrogen, which can lead to a clearer complexion and higher sun sensitivity. The second half is where things get tricky - this often involves an influx of progesterone, which will in turn increase the skin’s oil production and can lead to more breakouts.

Even if you’re feeling extremely unwell during your period, it’s important to try to maintain your skincare routine to keep your skin’s health and appearance balanced. If it becomes too much to manage, many birth control options, such as oral contraceptives and implants, can help keep this issue under control as well.

Let’s Talk About Pregnancy

Next up on our list of major life events is pregnancy. Unlike menopause, which we’ll go into more detail about shortly, pregnancy often involves an influx of estrogen hormones. As a consequence, this can lead to significant changes in your skin’s appearance and texture, including a higher sensitivity to sunlight and ingredient sensitivity. Always consult with your doctor to ensure that your skincare products are safe to use while pregnant and before you add anything new to your routine.

And once you’re done with a pregnancy, the hormonal skin changes don’t just disappear. Our bodies will self-regulate, attempting to swing back to their ‘normal’ state, which can lead to further changes in our skin. Keep an eye on skin sensitivity and texture in this state - you may find that you’ll be more prone to breakouts and maintain sensitivity to the sun and harsh chemical ingredients. At this point, it’s important to slowly transition back to your normal skincare routine rather than jumping right back in.

Let’s Talk About Perimenopause and Menopause

Last, but certainly not least, on our list of major life events to discuss is our move into perimenopause and menopause. Perimenopause refers to that awkward transitional period when your body moves from its reproductive state into menopause. This is the phase when hormonal changes often make their initial and forceful comeback.

As we move into menopause, our bodies naturally begin to produce less estrogen. As we mentioned before, estrogen plays a key role in the health and appearance of our skin. When our bodies don’t produce enough estrogen, our skin will tend to become drier and more prone to showing signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. At this point in life, many women begin hormone therapy (HT) to maintain their estrogen levels, keep their youthful appearance, and battle other negative symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes.

Achieving your desired skin condition involves more than just the choice of skincare products and their application methods. Sometimes it comes down to something a little more internal - your hormones. Not only do your hormones affect how you feel and perceive the world around you, but they can also have a significant effect on the appearance and health of your skin. By keeping an eye on changes in your skin at each stage in life, you can help balance out this effect and achieve your ideal complexion for years to come.


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