Hormones and your skin: Part 1

Posted by Liz Earle Beauty Co. January 24, 2019 | 5 min read

Skin is the largest organ in the body, reflecting our internal health outwardly like a mirror. If your hormones are out of whack, the chances are your skin will be too. While some flux is normal and necessary, when hormones become unbalanced, so does our skin. From teenage blemishes to dry skin in the menopause, read our handy guide for healthy-looking skin at any life stage.

What’s happening… in your teens

Blackheads and pimples are familiar foes
As hormone levels surge in puberty all kinds of changes start to occur, including in the skin. Breakouts are common as increased amounts of hormones called androgens trigger excess sebum production, which can overwhelm and clog pores leading to blemishes.

And your skin feels extra oily
This can happen with or without the acne side effects, it all depends on genetics, your individual skin type and can also be worsened by overly-aggressive skincare.

“As a rule, skin should feel comfortable, not ‘squeaky clean’ or tight post-cleansing.”

How to help

Commit to a simple, gentle skincare routine twice daily. Avoid harsh formulas, and instead look for products containing plant ingredients, like our Cleanse & Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser, that won’t strip the skin.

Follow with a gentle, alcohol-free toner and choose a light moisturiser to nourish and hydrate skin.

Incorporate a clay-based mask into your routine to help tackle oiliness. Our Deep Cleansing Mask is made with mineral-rich green clay plus manuka honey and aloe vera to help soothe and draw out impurities.

Drink lots of water and get adequate sleep to help skin regulate during times of flux, but be realistic – nearly all teenagers experience breakouts from time to time.

What’s happening… in your 20s and 30s

Stress and tiredness can start to show
Juggling a career and busy social life can mean your 20s are busy with a capital B, and the chances are it’s written all over your face. When stress and sleep deprivation collide the effects can be seismic – the stress hormone cortisol is thought to have a direct effect on sebum production, hence the tendency to break out when you’re up against it.

And your skin looks dull
Cell turnover, largely governed by hormones, begins to slow as early as your 20s, and certainly by the time you hit 30. Where once cells regenerated roughly every 28 days, in your 30s they can take longer to renew. This can lead to a build up of dead cells on the surface contributing to blocked pores and even affecting the way light is reflected, making skin look dull

“Levels of growth hormones that allow our skin to recover from the past day naturally increase as we enter deep sleep, making the regeneration process up to three times faster at night.”

How to help

Woman sleeping

Choose to relax. By lessening stressful situations we give our skin, and hormones, a better chance of balancing themselves. Being in nature, exercising, even spending time with treasured friends will help boost the production of stress-busting chemicals like endorphins, helping to lift your mood and reduce the harmful effects of stress on the body.

Prioritise sleep. Being well-rested will benefit skin at any age, whether you’re 25 or 65.

Jojoba Beads

Exfoliate gently and regularly. Bolster your skin’s cell turnover with a non-scratchy scrub like our Gentle Face Exfoliator*. Made with fine jojoba wax beads it gently buffs away dead cells from the skin’s surface to reveal smoother, more radiant-looking skin beneath.

Try a radiance-boosting mask. Our Brightening Treatment Mask* contains naturally stimulating botanicals like camphor oil and witch hazel to quickly revitalise dull, tired-looking skin. 

What’s happening… when you’re pregnant

You’re suddenly blotchy
Melasma is a common condition where patches of hyperpigmentation appear on the skin, sometimes very suddenly. Studies suggest these irregularities are due to a trio of oestrogen, progesterone and the hormone α-MSH – which stimulates the melanin-forming cells found in the skin – that naturally occurs during pregnancy.

And your skin feels irritated
It’s impossible to predict exactly how pregnancy will affect your skin because every woman, and every pregnancy, is unique. However, if you’re prone to eczema, rosacea or rashes, these flare-ups may intensify as your hormones fluctuate. While it’s usual for pregnant women to report slightly itchy skin, particularly as it stretches to accommodate ‘the bump’, or due to an increased metabolism, if you are concerned about any symptoms you may be experiencing, be sure to contact your GP or midwife.

How to help

Use a broad spectrum sunscreen. Pigmentation will worsen if exposed to UV. While melasma usually subsides after pregnancy, regular exfoliation and brightening formulas, like our Superskin™ Face Serum and Balancing Gel Mask can help to visibly brighten the appearance of uneven skin.

Wear loose, natural clothing and take cool baths to help alleviate itching. Opt for formulas that contain naturally emollient ingredients, like shea and avocado oil, to hydrate and maintain a healthy skin barrier. Our Nourishing Botanical Body Cream contains both.

Want to find out what happens to skin in your 40s and beyond? Head to Part 2 now.

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100ml tube + 2 pure cotton cloths

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30ml pump

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*Not suitable for sensitive skin