Skin Healing Series: How do Hormones affect our skin?
Hormones are the body’s natural messengers. They are made and stored in glands located throughout the body and are secreted into the bloodstream when needed. Once in the bloodstream they travel to organs and tissues to help them carry out their specific jobs. It is thanks to our hormones that different areas/organs of our body can communicate with one another to support our health.
Our hormones are essential for growth, development, reproduction, and metabolism. Each hormone producing gland plays an important, unique role within the body. Below are a few examples:
Adrenal glands – releases hormones such as cortisol to manage our stress response.
Pancreas – releases insulin to help us use food as energy and balance our blood sugars.
Thyroid – releases thyroid hormones that control the way we receive energy into our cells.
Ovaries – releases sex hormones to regulate the reproductive cycle.
Pineal – releases melatonin to regulate our sleep-wake cycle (body clock).
Hormones are incredibly delicate and can be easily impacted by the simplest of life changes. What impacts one hormone, will impact another, as they are all in communication with each other, providing constant feedback to maintain balance.
The most important thing to note when supporting hormonal health and skin health, is that our hormones don’t just go out of balance on their own. Our hormones are influenced by how we take care of ourselves – mind, body, and soul. There can also be a genetic or autoimmune reason for our hormones to go off tilt. In these cases, the way we treat ourselves still plays a powerful role in how these hormonal imbalances play out.
HORMONES & THE SKIN
When we begin to look at the role hormones play in skin health, we like take a deeper look into our:
Sex hormones - Oestrogen, progesterone & testosterone
Blood sugar balancing hormone – Insulin
Stress hormone – Cortisol
These hormones can be thrown out of balance by the slightest alterations to our diets or lifestyles (poor diet, lack of sleep, stress, medications), and although many changes are happening inside our bodies/behind the scenes, most of the time the first place we notice this imbalance it is on our skin.
High sugar diets can impact our insulin levels and cause our skin to produce more sebum (oil) leading to congestion and break outs.
Stress raises our cortisol levels which can increase inflammation within the body and cause our skin to become red and irritated.
The main message to take away from this journal is that it’s not necessarily our hormones that are the issue. What it comes back to is understanding why our hormones are out of balance in the first place by reflecting on how we treat our bodies every day. Once we find and address the cause, our hormones are intelligent and make their way back into balance naturally.
Simple tips to support hormonal health:Eat balanced regular meals with healthy fats to support synthesis of hormones, protein, and fibre to balance blood sugar levels.
Tune into what movement the body is craving – does the body feel stagnant and need stimulating exercise, or depleted and need gentle, restorative practice.
Implement a calming nightly routine to wind down the mind/body and support a healthy sleep.
Create a moment in the day to connect with the natural world, step away from the technology, and allow the sunshine to embrace the skin.
Learn what makes the body and mind feel safe and relaxed and allow these things into each day – this can be as simple as a deep breath, listening to a favourite song, or diffusing a favourite smell.
Be mindful of your coffee and alcohol consumption and minimise/limit where needed.
WRITTEN BY HUNNA ARMSTRONG + KAT BIBBY FROM TOTUM NATUROPATHY
Beautiful image series by Holly Blanchard