We all experience the effects of fluctuating hormones on our body on a monthly cycle, and across our lifetime. But we may not be aware that fluctuating hormones also have a huge impact on our skin. Understanding how changing hormones affect our skin can help us to look after our skin better.
We chatted to Jersey Beauty Company skin therapist Christine to get the truth about how hormones affect our skin. She gave us the lowdown on how that changes as our skin ages, the problems this can cause and what we can do to keep our skin healthy through the changes. Christine explained to us the kinds of products that we can use, to best respond to our skin’s current needs in our thirties and forties and deal with any hormonal skin problems.
1. Oestrogen versus Testosterone – the effects
Our bodies produce hormones - they are fantastic and are key to keeping loads of processes in our bodies running smoothly. You have probably heard of oestrogen which is sometimes known as the 'female' hormone and testosterone which is sometimes call the ‘male’ hormone. Puberty sparks the changes in these hormone levels in our bodies. Women produce more of the female hormone oestrogen than testosterone but we do both produce both hormones within our monthly cycle.
Both oestrogen and testosterone have key roles to play in the health of our skin. Oestrogen helps to build collagen and elastin, giving our skin its elasticity and firmness; it decreases pore size, giving our skin a smooth surface; and it can help our skin to heal and retain moisture. In short. Simply put, oestrogen helps to keep our skin looking healthy. Whereas testosterone is responsible for producing oil in our sebaceous glands called sebum. This oil is key in protecting our skin and helping to lock in moisture.
During our twenties, our levels of oestrogen and testosterone are balanced naturally, and this can help our skin to look and feel healthy. As we get older, this balance changes, we produce less oestrogen, which in turn means the effects of testosterone on our skin are more visible. As the levels of oestrogen begin to drop, collagen and elastin production also decrease, which can cause the skin to get drier and to loose its elasticity. Skin therapist Christine, explains the effects these changing hormone levels,
“your skin will probably have more oil production, it will probably clog a little more, it will probably break out and have a little more blemishes, even pimples, but that is because the female hormone is slowly fading away and the male hormone is coming in.”
What products should we use?
When we understand the changing levels of the oestrogen and testosterone hormones in our body and the effects it can have on our skin, we can more effectively look for products that respond to those changes in our skin.
To counteract an increase in sebum production and the resulting excess sebum on the skin from the effects of hormone changes, Jersey Beauty Company would suggest using the Ark Age Defend Conditioning Cleanser, an ultra-nourishing cleanser that helps with skin’s natural exfoliation and effectively removes not only make-up but also excess sebum from pores, to leave skin exquisitely clean, plump and supple.
Following this up with Ark’s Age Defend Replenishing Moisturiser will help to keep the skin toned and plump. This moisturiser is packed full of great ingredients to help combat the effects on the skin of reducing oestrogen levels, including Vitamin A to help increase collagen production; Kiwi and Passion Fruit lipids with Omega 3 fatty acids to boost skin’s moisture; and Blue Lotus, a powerful antioxidant which boosts firmness and elasticity.
Age Defend Conditioning CleanserThe best cleanser for your 30s and 40s.Skincare200ml: £25.00
2. Hormonal pigmentation - Melasma
You may have heard this called ‘pregnancy mask’, but Melasma is not just a condition that affects pregnant women – quite simply, it is a change in pigmentation of the skin due to hormones. It is a common skin condition in which light to dark brown or greyish patches of pigmentation develop on the face. It can be caused by pregnancy hormones, birth control pills and medical conditions that affect your hormones.
Skin therapist Christine explains it’s important to know whether pigmentation is being caused by hormones, in order to be able to effectively treat the skin. Depending on the cause, it may be a temporary condition and we may just need to look after the skin as it heals itself.
Ark’s Triple Action Exfoliator can help to reduce the appearance of pigmentation, whilst caring for your skin and helping with skin renewal. It is a revolutionary triple effect exfoliator with physical, fruit acid and enzymatic action to create exceptionally smooth skin.
It has a Skin Regenerating Enzyme which dissolves desmosomes, the intercellular junctions that hold cells together, which has the effect of releasing dead skin cells, which fades pigmentation and improves nutrient absorption. It also has Abyssinian Oil which diminishes skin imperfections and increases cell regeneration to promote radiant, youthful skin, while its bamboo micro particles gently slough dead skin and debris from the surface, creating a flawless, polished texture. Finally, Alpha Hydroxy Acids from Bilberry, Sugar Cane, Sugar Maple, Orange and Lemon increase the range of cell renewal, helping to diminish acne scars and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Using the exfoliator leaves the skin feeling exquisitely smooth with a renewed radiance and plump, conditioned texture.
It’s our thyroid gland that produces the hormones that regulate our metabolism and enable our cells to produce energy. Our thyroid gland is affected by our oestrogen levels. So, as skin therapist Christine explains, as our oestrogen levels begin to drop, we may also see a change in our thyroid functioning levels, “when your thyroid function is low, your skin becomes dry and scaly, it’s your epidermis it affects”.
Christine explains our skin is structured in layers, with the epidermis being the top layers, essentially the layers we can see on the surface. The effect is that skin can become scaly and dry to the touch. This is because one of the effects of oestrogen on our skin is that it helps with the production of hyaluronic acid, a natural moisturiser, which Christine is keen to point out, can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water”. We need to use skin care products that help to replenish the hyaluronic acid in our skin and help us to avoid dry itchy skin.
The Ark Skincare Skin Perfector Hydration Injection Masque is an intensive multivitamin hydration injection masque to quench skin, plump wrinkles and restore vibrancy. It has a Hyaluronic Acid Booster, which drenches skin with moisture, optimising the circulation of water through all skin layers and providing 24-hour protection against water loss.
Hydration Injection Masqueplump wrinkles and restore vibrancySkincare75ml: £35.00
Understanding the effects hormones have on our skin, and the problems it cause for our skin, will help us to choose the best treatments to respond to our skin’s current needs. It’s important we recognise that as our hormone levels change, our skin changes, so the way we treat our skin needs to change. With good skin care, hormonal skin problems can be minimised. The Ark Age Defend range, formulated especially for women in their thirties and forties, is a great place to start.
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