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When we think of hormone imbalances, we often think of puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy and menopause, but did you know that it’s not all about the sex hormones?
Hormonal imbalance means either excessive or reduced secretion of a certain hormone. Even a little change in our hormone secretion can cause adverse effects to both our bodies and our skin.
Our skin is more than just a protective barrier between our internal organs and the outside world. It is the largest organ of the body and connects directly with our brain via the hypothalamus gland which is the hormone control centre in our brains. The connection between or brains and our skin has been studies since ancient Roman times.
Hormone changes happen to everyone throughout our lives and can impact our skin in many different ways. Sex hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone fluctuate at different times of life, with females experiencing greater fluctuations due to menstrual cycles.
The sebaceous glands under the skin generate sebum, a natural oil which is secreted through the pores. When there is an imbalance of androgens (male sex hormones present in both genders) excess sebum may be produced. This becomes the root cause of various skin issues like acne and inflammation.
Hormone imbalances can trigger skin conditions such as:
1. Acne breakouts
4. Skin Sensitivity
7. Under eye dark circles
8. Skin tags
And the list goes on!
Cortisol – the stress hormone – plays a major role in our skin health too. High levels of cortisol can supress our immune systems which has a knock-on effect for our other hormones, leading to a total imbalance.
As well as delivering messages from the inside out, our skin also delivers messages from the outside in. Take sun exposure as an example; exposing the skin to UV light causes it to produce beta-endorphins and proopiomelanocortin (POMC), the hormone that triggers pigmentation.
As hormones influence almost every function of our bodies, from physical development to mood swings, it’s important to keep our hormonal balance in check. Lifestyle changes like regular exercise, a balanced diet, good sleep routines and managing stress levels can help us maintain hormonal harmony which can help prevent both unwanted skin problems and more severe health issues.