Remember your teenage years, when hormones first came on the scene? While we normally associate ‘raging hormones’ with teen angst and hormonal acne, the truth is that hormones are always working behind the scenes, affecting our skin and how our bodies function throughout our life.
Hormones influence everything from growth and development, reproduction and sexual characteristics, to appetite, metabolism, mood, and even sleep. And unlike your teenage self, hormones are excellent communicators!
The endocrine system is made up of glands in the body that release and regulate hormones that work like chemical messengers throughout the body. Some of the major hormones that affect the skin are released by glands such as the ovaries, testes, adrenals and thyroid.
Hormonal fluctuations that put extra stress on the skin can happen at any time (insert any stressful life event!). But specific stages of life can be particularly acne-causing- namely puberty, and for women, perimenopause and menopause.
This is it, when cystic acne can become the bane of your existence, and most of us try a revolving door of purifying cleansers to treat acne-prone skin.
Androgen hormones, which are primarily produced by the testes and ovaries as well as the adrenal glands, start to stimulate the sebaceous glands of the skin. The more active, the more oily, and the higher the likelihood of clogged pores. The most prominent androgen, testosterone, promotes thicker sebum, which can make skin especially oily and perpetuate hormonal acne. Testosterone levels in both male and females have also been linked with coarser, thicker skin.
Peri is Greek for ‘around’ or ‘near’, referring to the transitional period before you officially enter menopause. This extended period can vary from just a few months to more than 3, 4 or even 10 years! (that wasn’t a happy exclamation point!).
Estrogen levels, which regularly rise and fall during peak reproduction years, start to vary and become unpredictable as you approach menopause. Menstrual cycles may become irregular, while sleep, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and vaginal dryness can all be symptoms of perimenopause. Hormonal adult acne can also indicate the onset of menopause, as female hormone estrogen levels begin to drop.
This officially begins one year after your last period and can cause significant changes to your skin. While there are environmental stressors at work here as well, such as sun exposure and smoking, intrinsically, menopause causes the skin to quickly lose collagen. Studies show that women lose about 30% of skin collagen in the first 5 years of menopause.
The decline in estrogen during menopause has been linked to a number of skin issues:
- Hormonal acne.
- Loss of firmness and increased wrinkles.
- Increased skin irritations, especially rashes, eczema and rosacea.
- Thinner skin
- Decreased ability for skin to retain moisture
- Slow wound healing
5 Ways to Help Combat Hormonal Acne
Aside from fluctuating hormones, your skin is affected by many factors- nutrition exercise and lifestyle can all work in tandem to help brighten and invigorate your skin.
Steps to support your skin and add to your arsenal of acne treatment during puberty, perimenopause and menopause include:
- Drink plenty of water - flush out toxins, keep hydrated and stay regular.
- Add lots of healthy oils to your diet - take Omega-3 fish oil and flaxseed oil.
- Practice deep breathing and mindfulness - calm those stress hormones.
- Exercise – release those endorphins.
- Sleep – set up a regular sleep routine, and remove artificial ‘blue light’.
Where should you start with Acne Treatment?
The best acne-fighting routine that helps balance oil levels and calms your skin. Often, a simple skincare routine, without using too many harsh exfoliants or chemicals is best.
Avoid over-stripping your skin of natural oils, which could cause your skin to over-compensate by producing even more sebum. Regular, effective and antioxidant-rich skincare can help with hormonal acne as well as combating free radicals that accelerate the aging process.
Timeless’ Senior Product Knowledge Advisor and Esthetician, Shelly Leggins, encourages an adaptable approach to your skin’s changing needs during the various stages of hormonal acne.
Try this skin care routine:
- Vitamin B5 Serum with Hyaluronic Acid is an ideal skin care product for hormonal acne, helping to regulate oil production, and stimulate the skin’s natural healing process. Apply Vitamin B5 hydration serum morning and night to help alleviate increased sensitivity and redness. For those sudden “hot flashes”, this serum can soothe irritated skin and reduce inflammation.
- CoEnzyme Q10 Serum To replenish the natural production of CoQ10 that our bodies lose as we mature, apply Coenzyme Q10 Serum (AM or PM) to energize the cells for healthier function on a cellular level. CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that combats free radicals and helps cells rebuild collagen and elastin.
- Squalane Oil 100% Pure is an anti-bacterial ‘dry oil’ that helps regulate oil production in the skin and protect the skin against pollutants. Protect your skin from environmental stressors with Squalane Oil to seal in your serum (s) and hydrate, before applying your moisturizer with SPF for the day.