Healthy Living

How hormones affect our skin?

‘ It’s that time of the month again and I start having some breakout AGAIN.’

Does this sound familiar? Well, you might want to understand a little more on hormones. We can’t be always blaming it on PMS right…. Or, can we?

If you thought that you had all the possible skin aggressors covered, you’re wrong. There are few known aggressors like pollution, junk food, certain beauty products and of course, adding on more to the list- hormones.

The body’s endocrine system is more far-reaching than most people realize. Hormones affect our memory, cognition, and mood, and over time they can alter our metabolism. Of course, hormones play an important role in beautiful skin as well.

So, what are the hormones that are involved

  1. Estrogen.

Estrogen is the feel good hormone in women and is most prominent during the first half of your menstrual cycle ( first 10 – 16 days). It helps stimulate production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid in your skin. Throughout this time, estrogen levels rise slowly, and you might notice that your skin looks and feels plump, hydrated, and all-round clear. You may also notice your mood lift during this time due to increasing levels of serotonin. Around day 14 you will start ovulation, which is when your skin tends to behave itself and you might feel that it looks its best. 

However, Estrogen has also been linked to conditions such as melasma, which is a challenging pigmentation problem to treat. Estrogen levels tend to be high especially when a woman is pregnant and hence, this has been linked to melasma development.

2. Progesterone

Progesterone can be a tad problematic for skin. When levels of this hormone start to increase in the second half of your cycle, you may experience oilier skin as it stimulates the production of sebum. On top of that, the increase in luteinizing hormone during the second half of your cycle may also make the skin more prone to bacteria. Hence, this is why many people start to have acne breakout before menstruation.

3. Testosterone

Testosterone is a hormone which has high amounts in males. However, women do have testosterone hormones too but in a lesser amount. Testosterone is present throughout the cycle and when estrogen and progesterone levels are lower during your period, testosterond becomes more prominent. It is able to stimulate sebaceous glands and produce more sebum too. This is why young males have more oilier skin and are more prone to having acne. Some women who suffer from PCOS ( polycystic ovarian syndrome) may have higher levels of testosterone.

4. Cortisol

Stress is a common human condition, and everyone experiences it at some point in their lives. Cortisol hormones plays an important role in the stress response because it increases energy, enables tissue repair and curbs functions that are considered non-essential. And it’s having a bigger impact on our skin than we might realise. Cortisol increases oil production which can clog pores and lead to breakouts. Additionally, chronic stress leads to inflammation. Inflammation not only prevents acne from healing, but can lead to flare-ups of skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis. It has also been shown to trigger hair loss.

5. Thyroid hormones

Thyroid is a gland located in our neck and it secrets out thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones play an important role in metabolism, brain development, regulation of body temperature,  skin, muscle and bone health. Too much of this hormone can cause the skin to become warm, sweaty and flushed. Too little of these hormones can cause dry , coarse skin and also thinning hair.

Of course, there are many other hormones that play a role in our skin health but these 5 plays a significant role in it. It is imperative to understand more about our body so we can anticipate the conditions of the skin. For example, if you have acne before your menstruation, don’t panic. It’s just a response to the fall of estrogen. A little care and facials will do the trick !

About AuthorDr Chew

Dr Chew's love for discovering new knowledge and keen eye on beauty motivated her to pursue aesthetic medicine where she practices with delectation. Often placing herself in patient’s shoes, she listens with empathy and goes the extra mile to ensure satisfaction from them. She is an accomplished Aesthetic Physician with MBBS, MAC certification and specializes in lasers and injectables.