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How hormones effect your skin and a few things you can do to correct issues

Hormones affect your skin and health as you age more than you may realize…

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If you think of your body as a symphony, and hormones are the instruments, it all has to be in sync and working together in order for you to function (and sound) your best. If one instrument is off balance, problems are more likely to develop including issues with skin such as dryness, acne, fine lines, wrinkles, and rosacea.

There are several things you can do to support the hormone balance in your body: 

  • Manage stress
  • Eat whole foods

  • Get 7+ hours of sleep

  • Exercise regularly

If you are already doing these things and there is still an underlying issue, you need to start manipulating the 4 hormones to your will

Estrogen

As we age, estrogen levels decline to create significant changes in how the skin looks and feels. It becomes dry, less elastic and more fragile. In women over age 40 the biggest culprit of dry and sagging skin is declining estrogen. Skin appears thin and sallow, with fine lines turning into deep creases. The areas around the eyes and lips may droop slightly and lose firmness and because of less blood flow and circulation, skin starts to appear less vibrant. If you’re over forty and have any of the symptoms of declining estrogen like bone loss, hot flashes, insomnia, mood changes, night sweats, or vaginal dryness you may need additional estrogen support.

Phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) are compounds found naturally in plant foods, one you may have heard of is flaxseed. Although it’s known as a natural estrogen mimicker, eating flaxseed actually helps estrogen metabolism improving the breakdown and removal of estrogen helping to avoid excess levels in your body.

Having estrogen levels that are too high is not good either. Eating Cooked seaweed and cooked cruciferous veggies (broccoli, kale, cabbage, bok choy, and brussel sprouts), seasoning foods with turmeric, and taking supplements such as DIM (diindolylmethane, found in cruciferous vegetables) can help boost your metabolism of estrogen, which can naturally help lower the levels.

Testosterone

It stimulates the sebum-producing glands, which are important for protecting skin with natural oils, but overproduction can lead to acne.

One way to help curb extra sebum production is to avoid dairy. Dairy products are made from the milk of pregnant and recently pregnant cows, which means it contains hormones that can potentially throw your own hormones out of balance. In addition, for many people, eating dairy products triggers inflammation in the body. 

I also recommend getting enough omega-3s from fish oil and zinc. You can get more zinc from green beans, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

Thyroid

An overactive thyroid can cause warm, sweaty, and flushed skin, while an underactive thyroid can lead to dry, coarse skin with a reduced ability to perspire.

If you suffer from any of these skin problems and have weight, digestion (constipation or diarrhea), or energy issues (fatigue or feeling overly stimulated), talk with your doctor about thyroid testing.

TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), Free T3, Free T4, thyroid antibodies and reverse T3 are the blood tests to ask your doctor to run.

Cortisol

Cortisol is your stress hormone. It’s released from your adrenal glands and a surge in this hormone can cause an increase in sebum production, a trigger for acne. 

Excess cortisol also amps up inflammation, which can make almost any skin condition worse. If you have chronically high levels of cortisol this will also lead to sugar cravings, and we know that eating sugar increases skinflammation and breakouts.

You can also support your skin externally with skincare products containing adaptogenic herbs like ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) root extract. Ginseng is a powerful adaptogen herb that increases the overall resistance to all types of stress and helps rejuvenate and invigorate tired-looking skin.

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