Hormones and Why They are So Important

Thank you to IIAA Ltd, Yeheudi Gordon, Consultant Gynaecologist and Lorraine Perretta, Founder and Development Director of The Advanced Nutrition Programme for this invaluable look at Hormones

WHAT ARE HORMONES AND WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT?

Hormones are chemical messengers that send messages to the cells that they interact with. They can affect several processes in the body, including growth, reproduction and metabolism. Hormones can also influence the immune system as well as our mood, causing changes in behaviour. Unsurprisingly, during the average life journey, numerous hormonal changes can reflect in various ways on our skin’s appearance and condition. For example, skin conditions commonly associated with puberty include acne, while dryness, loss of collagen and elasticity, and reduced volume are noted during menopause, and surprisingly, skin that suffers from breakouts is also common. The bad news is that, as we age these skin changes are inevitable. The good news is that we can stay in control by understanding why and what steps to take.

TEENS – HORMONES & PUBERTY

Although acne can start at any age, hormonal changes during puberty may trigger acne flare-ups. According to the British Skin Foundation, acne affects around 80% of adolescents aged 13-18 years. Why is this? During puberty, hormones that promote natural development will raise testosterone levels in boys and girls. A side effect of this can be the overproduction of sebum which in turn can cause acne. Stress is also a contributory factor. Exams, social pressures and dealing with puberty itself can lead to a rise in the adrenal hormones, again causing the sebaceous glands to overproduce sebum.

  • Avoid harsh scrubs or cleansers.
  • Use mineral-based makeup to avoid artificial chemicals that will clog the skin further.
  • Use vitamin A orally and topically to help normalise sebum production.

Lines – What Lines?

Wrinkles and pigmentation usually start to appear as a result of damage done to skin in teens. The skin will start to appear dull as already skin cell turnover will be slowing down. Now is the time to start investing in active products and treatments to ensure firmer, younger-looking skin. Having regular vitamin A-based treatments and gradually increasing the dosage can help encourage healthy cell production. Using vitamin A and C orally can also enhance collagen synthesis.

  • Use a mild oil-based cleanser and avoid scrubs.
  • Start to introduce vitamin C orally and topically for strong, healthy collagen formation
  • Get your skin analysed and follow with a tailored skincare programme
  • Introduce vitamin A orally and topically to help keep skin looking healthy (skincare expert to advise during pregnancy).
  • Protect the skin from the sun at all times and use an antioxidant-based sunscreen.

FORTIES – THE PERIMENOPAUSE

The lead-up to menopause can be a tricky time. Perimenopause is the phase before menopause actually takes place and normally lasts between 3 – 4 years. During this phase, hormone production begins to decline and fluctuate.

Declining oestrogen levels mean skin becomes thinner with more pronounced wrinkles such as those on the upper lip. Loss of collagen and elastin combined with reduced volume (subcutaneous fat) and bone shrinkage results in loss of structural integrity and the face literally sliding south. The severity of these symptoms will depend on UV exposure from childhood, genetics, lifestyle as well as medication which will each have an impact on the quality of skin.

The hormones that help regulate the sebaceous glands, such as oestrogen also start to decline, leading to stubborn breakouts or acne in some women. This is further aggravated by the slowing-down of the skins cell renewal process in more mature skin. As excess skin cells build up, blocked pores already clogged with sebum, are further irritated causing inflammation.

Steps to take

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