How hormonal imbalances affect our skin
“Your skin is a window to your internal health”
We often hear beauty and wellness experts repeat the same advice: Good skin comes from the inside out. In our virtual Instagram edition of ELLE Masterclass with dermatologist Dr Jaishree Sharad, we learnt that our hormonal health is one of the major factors determining our skin as well. The founder of Skinfiniti Aesthetic Skin and Laser Clinic, Dr Sharad chatted with ELLE’s Beauty and Health Director, Mamta Mody about the various effects of hormonal imbalances on our skin and the holistic approach to treat it. Keep reading for the main takeaways from the conversation…
The big players
“Hormones are chemical messengers that form connections between the brain, endocrine system and other parts of the body,” explains Dr Sharad. The ones that typically affect skin and hair are oestrogen (it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties), testosterone (controls sebum production and hair growth), androgens (regulates oil production), insulin (metabolises blood sugar), melatonin (detoxes skin) and vitamin D (controls PCOS). Oily skin and acne are caused by excess testosterone and androgens, and insulin resistance results in pigmentation.
According to Dr Sharad, getting acne close to your period is normal and so is having better skin right after. “The menstrual cycle is divided into three parts. The first one is the follicular phase, that’s the period right after menstruating, when the body has higher levels of oestrogen,” she explains. This is when you’ll have the most radiant and calm skin. The last part of the cycle is the luteal phase when you start experiencing PMS symptoms. “Oestrogen is at its lowest and progesterone which stimulates androgen is higher.” The receptors in the skin start producing more oil, leading to acne and clogged pores. To combat hormonal acne, Dr Sharad recommends being more intuitive towards your skin’s needs and switching products to suit changing requirements.
Breaking outs along the jawline is most commonly a sign of hormonal acne. To rule out adult acne, Dr Sharad suggests consulting a dermatologist and getting your hormones as well as thyroid tested for a wholesome treatment.
Foods and supplements
Dr Sharad recommends boosting oestrogen levels with healthy food and supplements. “If you have hormonal issues, start with inositol, magnesium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and D3 supplements,” she says. You can also eat good-for-hormone-health foods, like cinnamon, ginseng, methi seeds, and nuts like almonds, walnuts and pistachios.
“Adopting a holistic lifestyle is the best home remedy,” advises Dr Sharad. This includes, sleeping for seven to nine hours every night, eating right and cutting back on dairy and sugar, especially if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome.
During menopause there’s a drop in oestrogen, collagen and hyaluronic acid levels and our skin loses its natural moisture content, leading to pigmentation, lines and loss of elasticity. Skin tends to go lax and pores become more pronounced and visible, “Try having chromium, vitamin D3 and E and omega-3 supplements to combat this.”
Consult your doctor or dermatologist before taking any supplements
Photograph: Jatin Kampani