Fluctuating hormones and the female body
Our endocrine system is a complex communication network in which hormones are essentially chemical messengers sent from the brain to the rest of our body, directing and regulating cell and organ activity. Understanding the many and varied influences that hormones can have on our body and skin gives us a greater mind-body connection and allows us to tune in, finding harmony with our body.
In the menstruating phase of our lives, the female body is in a constant state of hormonal flux. Our bodies produce fluctuating levels of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone throughout the menstrual cycle - these differing levels of hormones can manifest physically, mentally and emotionally. One of the most common issues from this imbalance is ‘hormonal acne’ - occurring towards the end of the menstrual cycle when progesterone and oestrogen levels are imbalanced, which in short causes the skins sebaceous glands to become overactive, producing greater amounts of sebum and increasing the risk of inflammation which can result in skin breakouts. This is very common among women of all ages, we recommend being as kind as possible to your skin, use gentle cleansing and moisturising products and allow yourself foods rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Remember that happy, positive thoughts promote the feel-good hormone dopamine which can have beneficial effects to body, mind and skin. The more you feel stressed, or have negative thoughts, the more cortisol (the stress hormone) your body will produce which increases inflammation in the skin and the all important gut which can have a detrimental effect, even worsening existing skin conditions; particularly inflammatory conditions such as acne and eczema.
The constant ebb and flow of oestrogen eventually causes a decline in the skin’s ability to bounce back, meaning that as we reach perimenopausal and menopausal age, our oestrogen levels are so low that our skin is more dry, vulnerable and far less elastic. It is therefore particularly important to nourish, fortify and hydrate ageing skin with topical rejuvenating products such as face and body oils and with regular stimulating massage which can help boost collagen levels. It is also important that we incorporate plenty of good fats into our diet - foods like oily fish, nuts and avocados. This helps our body absorb vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals. We also see a decline in the production of testosterone when we age and as a consequence, many women feel a drop in their sexual libido and energy.
A heathy functioning endocrine system needs to work in symbiosis and harmony with all of the other complex networks in our body. Viewing our hormonal changes in this wider, holistic context allows us to feel more in control and connected. When they are in proper balance, hormones help the body flourish, but even seemingly slight hormonal problems can have serious repercussions so if you have any concerns we suggest you consult a qualified endocrinologist.