To start off, what exactly are hormones? Well, they’re biological compounds that act as chemical messengers in the body. They essentially act as the “master switches” of the body, controlling everything from hunger, metabolism, and energy to emotions, mood, and reproduction.
Balanced hormones create a ripple effect of positive health benefits in your body. Unbalanced hormones, on the other hand, can create a cascade of unpleasant symptoms. These include irregular periods, unhealthy skin, bloating, and fatigue). Your organs are trying to create the perfect hormonal symphony, producing each hormone in the right amount—not too much or too little.
Below I’ve tried to answer some of the most popular questions I get asked about hormones. Plus, I’ve detailed my favorite hormone supplements to make sure your hormone health is in tip-top shape.
How are your hormones linked to skin health and aging?
Hormones play a really significant role in the appearance and health of your skin. You may be suffering from some of these issues and not even know it. Low levels of estrogen can result in dry and fragile skin, whereas balanced estrogen levels can support healthy production of hyaluronic acid and collagen.
Women don’t produce nearly as much testosterone as men, but the small amount that is produced is important for stimulating sebum production. Low testosterone therefore results in dry skin, while healthy testosterone protects the skin with natural oils. Excess testosterone can in turn lead to acne. An overactive thyroid can cause flushed skin and sweat rashes, whereas an underactive thyroid can result in dry, coarse skin. Keep reading for more tips on how to fix these issues.
What makes hormones imbalanced?
The toxicity of the modern world, too much stress, not enough rest, poor diet, sedentary living, and gut issues can all wreak havoc with our hormone balance and leave us struggling with a variety of symptoms.
How do you know if you’re balanced or not?
First off, you can Google “hormone health questionnaire.” There are many questionnaires you can fill out that will give you a basic idea of how healthy your hormones are.
The next step is to have a complete hormone panel test done, which you can do with a qualified healthcare professional for about $400-500. Then you can better understand which of your hormones are not within a healthy range, and how to best address the issues.
How does stress interfere with hormone health?
Chronic stress, which so many people experience nowadays, can lead to elevated cortisol (stress hormone). In the right amount and at the right times, cortisol is essential for keeping us alive. But when cortisol is always high, it increases inflammation, which worsens many skin conditions like acne, eczema, and rosacea. The sugar cravings (and resulting overindulgence) that elevated cortisol can cause also increase inflammation and breakouts.
It’s also important to understand that chemicals in many of the products that we use on our bodies and in our homes such as oxybenzone, fragrance, and parabens are powerful endocrine disruptors that can interfere with our natural hormone balance.
What skin issues arise when your hormones are out of balance? In your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s?
In a healthy woman, the 20s and mid-30s can be the best time of your life in terms of hormones and skin health. The hormonal fluctuations of puberty have balanced out as the ovaries reach maturity. The testosterone dominance that can sometimes happen right before ovulation during puberty years is now balanced out by a strong estrogen spike. However, unhealthy diet, stress, endocrine disruptors, and other toxins can still cause problems like breakouts, rosacea, and eczema.
Decreasing estrogen levels in the late 30s and 40s lead to lower production of collagen and elastin. This results in drier and less elastic skin. Towards the late 40s, the hormonal transition into perimenopause can also manifest in adult acne. Finally, once women fully transition into menopause, gradually decreasing estrogen produces less collagen with each successive year and skin becomes drier, thinner, and more prone to wrinkling.
How can you improve your hormone health?
It’s very important to get stress under control. Also, make sure you get enough rest and combine a healthy diet with exercise. In addition to that, supplements can be an important component of good hormone health.
My favorite supplements for supporting healthy hormone production are vitamin D3 taken in combination with the MK-7 form of vitamin K2, shatavari, gelatinized maca, Indole-3-Carbinol, DIM, ashwagandha, and the traditional Chinese formulas “Ginseng & Longan” and “Bupleurum & Peony.”