Hormones are signaling chemicals released by cells that can lead to a wide variety of reactions. In different stages of your life cycle, hormones can have different effects on both the appearance and the quality of your skin.
For women, puberty begins somewhere between the ages of 9 and 14 and lasts about four years. At the beginning of a girl’s menstrual cycle is when hormone fluctuations are the highest. During the first seven days, estrogen levels peak, causing the skin to be relatively free of acne breakouts. When the estrogen levels begin to drop, testosterone levels become more dominant, causing the skin to produce more oil which can cause breakouts later in the month.
Use of contraceptives
Contraceptives are a popular way to help clear up acne, as the pill gives your body extra estrogen which suppresses androgens (the hormone that causes excess oil production). When your skin isn’t producing a lot of excess oil you are less likely to get breakouts. However, when you decide to go off the pill, you will likely experience some breakouts again while your skin adjusts to your natural hormones. This is likely a temporary issue, however, and will clear up over time with the help of a good skincare routine.
Pregnancy is another stage which can cause a shift in hormones. While everyone is different, melasma (a condition that causes dark spots) and acne can be quite common. When you are pregnant, your body has extra hormones, which can cause your oil glands to secrete more oil, ultimately leading to more breakouts. These conditions will go away after pregnancy as your hormone levels begin to regulate again.
Perimenopause and menopause
Women as young as 35 can begin entering the perimenopause stage of their lives. This marks the start of infertility and can cause a constant fluctuation in estrogen and progesterone levels in the body. When both estrogen and progesterone levels are low, testosterone levels rise causing acne breakouts to occur. The irregular shift in hormones can also cause pigment changes such as melasma.
Between the ages of 40 and 58, most women will enter menopause. This is when the production of estrogen begins to decline. Estrogen helps produce collagen and elastin and since you aren’t producing as much estrogen, wrinkles and other signs of aging become more visible.
The good news is that, to a certain extent, we’re able to naturally balance hormones through diet and exercise. Reducing stress and getting enough sleep are also two other factors that can help balance out our hormones naturally without the help of medication. Balanced hormones are what keep our skin clear and looking its best, so by keeping them under control, we are able to have our most beautiful skin. While you’re still going to age and are bound to get a pimple every now and then, it is quite possible to prolong the look of aging skin and reduce breakouts by naturally keeping our hormones balanced.