As the years go by, time leaves its marks on your skin — it’s part of life. Fine lines, wrinkles, sunspots, and sagging — they’re all part of the “fun” of aging. Now, there’s a good chance you already know that things like sun exposure and cigarette smoke play a big role when it comes to increasing the visible signs of aging. But here’s something you maybe haven’t considered: Can hormones age skin? It’s a question worth exploring. After all, hormones are integral to so many of your body’s organs — including your skin.
Hormones Aging Skin: A Piece of the Puzzle
Your body is an intricate and complex machine, performing a dizzying array of functions — even while you’re fast asleep. Think about it — you continue to breathe, digest, and pump blood, even while you’re drifting off to dreamland. You don’t even have to think about it! How does the body achieve so much with (seemingly) so little effort? Well, for starters? It relies on hormones.
If you need a quick refresher — hormones are chemical messengers that travel through your blood, relaying information to your body’s various organs.
Once there, hormones help dictate the performance of your organs, ensuring that everything runs smoothly.
And skin — your body’s largest organ — is no exception. Hormones have a profound influence on the development and health of your skin.1 Hormone levels can affect how slowly or quickly your skin changes, how much oil your skin produces, and whether or not you struggle with acne. In other words, there’s an intimate and inextricable connection between your skin and your hormones.
And this is great news! Understanding how hormones might be affecting your skin is a powerful piece of the anti-aging puzzle. Along with other anti-aging measures, like diligent (Gundry-approved) sunscreen and moisturizer use, it’s not a bad idea to look toward hormone balance for the most youthful looking skin possible.
Hormones Aging Skin? Which Are The Worst?
That’s a trick question. No hormones are specifically the worst for your skin. In fact, you need them all! But when your hormones get out of balance, problems begin. But some specific hormones do play a bigger role in your skin’s health than others. These hormones include:
- Stress Hormones
I’ll briefly detail how each hormone can contribute to skin health — and what steps you can take to help promote greater hormone balance.
Keep in mind, a significant hormonal imbalance requires a doctor to diagnose, and it may require hormone therapy. Hormone therapy utilizes prescription medications to eradicate hormonal imbalance, boosting your hormone levels when they naturally become too low due to age or genetic predisposition.3 You’ll want to check in with your doctor if you’re concerned about an imbalance.
Now, without further ado, here’s how hormones might be altering your skin…
How Estrogen Affects Skin Health
Like testosterone and progesterone, estrogen is one of the primary sex hormones, which are produced in the ovaries, testes, or adrenal cortex.
Estrogen is present in both men and women, but women have much higher levels of it. With age, however, women’s estrogen levels drop dramatically.
This drop in estrogen has a pretty significant impact on the skin.
You see, there’s a direct correlation between how much estrogen your body produces and how much collagen your body produces.4
Now, collagen is a naturally-occurring protein, and one of its functions is to provide a framework for your skin. Skin that’s rich in collagen looks “young” — it’s firm, smooth, and elastic. Skin that lacks collagen, on the other hand, tends to take on a more wrinkled and saggy appearance. (Again, the “fun” of growing older!)
But there’s good news. Supporting healthy estrogen levels could help fight against collagen loss, so talk to your doctor about the best way to do this.5
It’s also a good idea to incorporate free radical-fighting polyphenols into your skincare regimen.
Now, free radicals are damaging molecules that scavenge the body. These molecules have an unpaired number of electrons — and electrons like to be paired. When they’re not, they’ll scavenge your body, looking for a pair. This sets up a condition in the body known as “oxidative stress.” Oxidative stress can lead to the development of many health problems. It can also lead to the visible signs of aging.6
How Testosterone Affects Aging and Skin Health
Testosterone is thought of as the “male” sex hormone, but just like other sex hormones, it’s present in both men and women. With age, testosterone levels decrease in men and increase in women. And because high levels of testosterone are associated with acne, this rise of testosterone may trigger “hormonal acne.”7
Hormonal acne is exactly what it sounds like — acne tied to hormonal fluctuations. This type of acne breakout can happen at any age. When you’re young, hormonal acne tends to appear in your “T-zone” — your forehead, nose, and chin. But as you age, it may begin to show up on the lower part of your face, like your cheeks and jawline. Hormonal acne can take on the form of blackheads and whiteheads, which can give your skin a dull and uneven appearance.
How Stress Hormones Affect Aging and Skin Health
One of your body’s most primal reactions is the “fight-or-flight” response, which is triggered when you experience the threat of potential danger.
The fight-or-flight response increases your awareness and energy to either flee or fight off whatever threat is looming. Stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, play a big role in the fight or flight response.8
And stress hormones do more than just heighten your awareness when faced with immediate danger. They also help mediate your body’s immune response to potential illness, and they help keep irritation in check.9
So, stress hormones are pretty useful, right?
But here’s the thing… studies have shown that chronic stress and heightened stress hormone levels can trigger the production of free radicals.
Remember those?10 They can contribute to the visible signs of aging, like wrinkles, age spots, and sagging skin.11
How can you combat oxidative stress? Here are my three recommendations:
1. Incorporate polyphenols into your skincare regimen. Just as dietary polyphenols can boost the health of your body, topical antioxidants can help keep your skin healthy. By using formulations that include polyphenol and other antioxidant ingredients, you can diminish the appearance of dark spots, preserve skin firmness, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
2. Take steps to manage stress in order to keep your stress hormones low. You can start by getting regular exercise and a full night’s sleep. You may also want to talk to a trusted friend or experiment with various meditation techniques.
3. Try my Herbal Mood Support. This supplement uses natural ingredients to help keep stress in check, boost mental clarity, and support a balanced mood.
How Insulin Affects Aging and Skin Health
Insulin is produced by your pancreas, and its main function is to convert sugar — also known as glucose — into energy for your cells. This hormone also aids in the breakdown of fat and protein, which are also used for cellular energy.12
But as you age, your glucose tolerance changes, which could lead to imbalanced blood sugar levels. Not only can this lead to serious health problems, it can actually make you look older. Scientific studies have shown that people with unbalanced blood sugar levels are perceived by others to be older than they actually are.13
Here are a few ways you can encourage healthy blood sugar levels:
- Limit refined sugars and carbohydrates in your diet.
- Eat high-fiber foods, which are known to help regulate blood sugar. Try okra, kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and asparagus.14
- You can also try my Glucose Defense — a supplement designed to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Hormones Aging Skin… No More?
Armed with an understanding of how hormones can affect your skin, you can begin the work of bringing them into balance. Of course, it’s always a good idea to check in with your doctor if you’re concerned about hormone imbalance.
In the meantime, you can take steps to promote hormonal balance, for a healthier, more youthful-looking you. Hormones aging skin? No more!