You may be used to hearing how external factors like sunlight affect your skin. You likely know the importance of wearing sunscreen year-round and using skin care with antioxidants to combat free radicals in air pollution. But what about internal factors affecting your skin health?
Did you know that hormones are linked to skin health? Our team at the Center for Women’s Health wants you to know how your hormones and skin health are intimately connected.
Here's how it all comes together and why balanced hormones are key to healthy skin.
What is intrinsic skin aging?
Intrinsic skin aging refers to internal aging factors that are linked to your biological clock. There are several factors that contribute to intrinsic aging, but hormones play a significant role. Your endocrine system regulates your hormones and is responsible for keeping skin plump and firm.
Imbalanced hormones can cause acne breakouts, skin dehydration, fine lines, and wrinkles. Many women who haven’t had skin problems find that they start having skin issues when they reach perimenopause and menopause.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can not only help ease symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and brain fog, but may improve skin health.
Estrogen and skin health
Estrogen levels have a significant impact on skin health. While men have some estrogen, average levels in women are much higher.
Estrogen refers to three hormones that are converted from androgens using key enzymes:
- Estradiol, which is the most abundant over a lifetime
- Estriols, which are more common during pregnancy
- Estrones, the weakest type of estrogen common during menopause
Estrogens work together to influence skin thickness, smoothness, and hydration. Estrogens also support hyaluronic acid levels and collagen production for a plumper, more radiant appearance by helping to maintain the structure and moisture content of skin.
But as your estrogen levels fluctuate, your skin health may suffer. A decrease in estrogen levels can cause an increase in inflammation, triggering skin problems.
Your skin becomes thin, elasticity declines, and wrinkles form as collagen production declines. With lower estrogen levels, your skin receives fewer nutrients that support healing and skin cell renewal, resulting in paler, thinner skin.
Higher levels of estrogen, on the other hand, can increase the risk of pigmentation, particularly in areas that are frequently exposed to sunlight. Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation that is hormone-related and commonly occurs during pregnancy.
Androgens and skin health
Androgens are a type of male hormone, but are also present in women. Increased androgen levels can cause overstimulation of the oil glands, resulting in excess sebum. As skin cells prepare to shed, they become stickier, causing a buildup in hair follicles that results in pimples and inflammation.
There’s a delicate balance between estrogens and androgens in women. Women tend to have higher rates of adult acne because that balance becomes skewed with age and the onset of menopause.
Thyroid hormones and skin health
Your thyroid produces two key hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), both of which need to be in balance for good skin health. If you produce an excess of these hormones, your skin may appear flushed and feel sweaty and warm.
When there aren't enough, the lipid barrier's hydration plummets and your skin becomes dry and coarse, emphasizing fine lines and increasing the appearance of deep-set wrinkles.
Managing hormone effects on skin health
A simple blood test tells us more about your hormone levels. If you have a hormone imbalance, we work with you to bring your levels back into balance, which can help you feel better and improve any hormone-related skin problems.
If you’re concerned about your hormone levels, schedule a visit at our office in Wichita, Kansas. If you’re interested in bioidentical hormone replacement, we use BioTE pellet therapy, which has many advantages over traditional hormone replacement.
To learn more, contact us to set up a visit. Telehealth appointments are also available. Please call our clinic to determine if your visit is eligible for a telemedicine appointment.