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Unveiling the Harmony: Hormonal Balance and Skin Health Explained by Naturopathic Insights

The skin serves as a vibrant canvas, reflecting the harmony or discord within the human body. Naturopathic doctors recognize the profound relationship between your skin and hormones. In this blog post, we delve into the intricate relationship between hormonal balance and skin health from a naturopathic standpoint.


At the heart of skin health lies a delicate symphony of hormones orchestrating various physiological processes. Hormones are chemical messengers produced by glands in the endocrine system and released into the bloodstream. These molecules travel throughout the body, regulating various physiological processes and maintaining homeostasis. Hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, thyroid hormones, and insulin are among the key players influencing skin integrity, hydration, pigmentation, and resilience.


dried clay with cracks

First, let’s talk about estrogen.

Estrogen helps with skin thickness, elasticity, and hydration. According to one study looking at the Role of Estrogen in Cutaneous Ageing and Repair, “Females are particularly at risk of age-associated pathology, spending more of their lives in a post-menopausal state. Menopause, denoted by a rapid decline in serum sex steroid levels, accelerates biological ageing across the body's tissues. Post-menopause physiological changes are particularly noticeable in the skin, which loses structural architecture and becomes prone to damage. The sex steroid most widely discussed as an intrinsic contributor to skin ageing and pathological healing is 17β-estradiol (or estrogen), although many others are involved.” [1] Since estrogen starts to decline after age 30, women will notice a difference in their skin as they start to age due to this rapidly declining hormone.


Next up is progesterone.

Progesterone, often overshadowed by estrogen, plays a pivotal role in skin health by modulating sebum production and inflammation. Imbalances in progesterone levels can manifest as acne, dryness, and premature aging, emphasizing the need for equilibrium. According to another study, “Research into the effects of progesterone suggests that the presence of various dermatoses correlates with peak levels of progesterone.


Dermatoses that are exacerbated perimenstrually include acne, psoriasis, atopic eczema and irritant dermatitis, and possibly also erythema multiforme. Exacerbations occur at the peak levels of progesterone in the menstrual cycle.” [2] Meaning if your progesterone is not sufficiently balanced with estrogen, you could experience skin flaring.


Lastly, let’s talk about testosterone.

Testosterone (an androgen) is synonymous with virility, but it can tip the scales of skin health when in excess, stimulating sebum production and fostering acne. Optimal testosterone levels are essential for maintaining skin vitality, yet excessive levels can disrupt harmony. Another study looking at sex hormones and acne concluded, “Androgens not only regulate embryology and lipogenesis/sebum synthesis in sebocytes but also influence inflammation in acne.” [3] Meaning too much testosterone can create too much sebum, therefore acne can occur.


It's important to note that while hormone assessment and testing can provide valuable information, skin conditions are often multifactorial, and hormonal imbalances are just one piece of the puzzle. A comprehensive approach that considers factors such as genetics, skincare habits, diet, stress levels, and environmental influences is usually necessary for effectively managing skin conditions such as acne, premature aging, melasma, and PCOS.


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References:

  1. Wilkinson HN, Hardman MJ. The role of estrogen in cutaneous ageing and repair. Maturitas. 2017 Sep;103:60-64. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2017.06.026. Epub 2017 Jun 23. PMID: 28778334.

  2. Raghunath RS, Venables ZC, Millington GW. The menstrual cycle and the skin. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2015 Mar;40(2):111-5. doi: 10.1111/ced.12588. Epub 2015 Feb 11. PMID: 25683236.

  3. Ju Q, Tao T, Hu T, Karadağ AS, Al-Khuzaei S, Chen W. Sex hormones and acne. Clin Dermatol. 2017 Mar-Apr;35(2):130-137. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2016.10.004. Epub 2016 Oct 27. PMID: 28274349.





Disclaimer:


This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.

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