In an earlier post, we talked all about the damaging effects of stress hormone cortisol. In this post, we will focus on the harmful beauty effects of estrogen, another stress hormone.
Hormones & The Endocrine System
One of the most important factors involved in determining either healthy or unhealthy skin is the endocrine system. Most skin diseases, including the accelerated aging of the skin, can be traced back to disruptions of the endocrine system.
The endocrine system is responsible for the production and regulation of hormones, especially youth hormones like DHEA, HGH, and Thyroid Hormone. As the body ages, or is under chronic stress, these beauty hormones are produced less and less, leaving the body (and the skin) vulnerable to oxidative stress.
The Role of Hormones in Skin Health
Hormones are chemical messengers produced by our organs and glands such as the testicles, ovaries, adrenal glands and thyroid glands. Each hormone sends a different message or signal to the body, telling it to perform a unique function. Sex hormones, thyroid, and growth hormones, for example, play key roles in regeneration, growth, immune function, reproduction, and metabolic functions. They also signal sensations like hunger and stress.
The hormones can affect the skin in both direct ways (such as making you crave junk food) and indirect ways, like modulating the quality of the skin.
While biological aging of the skin is a very natural and part of human life, there are many factors today that drastically accelerate the aging process resulting in dryness, wrinkling, and overall decreased skin health.
Additionally, there are many intrinsic ways hormones affect the health of the skin. These include the activation of negative genetics, increased inflammation, and more.
Estrogen and Beauty
Estrogen is one of the most widely discussed hormones; however, it also has the most misconceptions. One misconception about estrogen is that it is a female hormone. While it is primarily made in the ovaries, it is also found in males.
Another misconception is that estrogen is just one hormone. However, there are many estrogenic hormones, including estradiol, estriol, and estrone, which is produced during menopause.
Estrogen & Male Hormones
Furthermore, estrogen is derived from male hormones, known as androgens. Androgens are derived from cholesterol, a steroid that manufactures steroid hormones like testosterone. Then, via enzymatic activity, these androgens are turned into estrogens.
Something else not many people know is that among the many functions of the skin, it has the abilities to both produce cholesterol and derive sex steroids from it. This is just one of the reasons the skin is so vulnerable to hormonal shifts.
Estrogen & Thyroid Hormone
One of the more direct ways that hormonal imbalance affects the skin is by affecting collagen production. Estrogen could be classified as an adaptive stress hormone and when overproduced it inhibits many important protective hormones like thyroid hormone.
If thyroid hormone isn’t being produced efficiently, then prolactin and cortisol are increased. This leads to oxidative damage, alterations in collagen production, and oxygenation of the skin cells – all attributing to aged skin.
Estrogen & Skin Aging
Another harmful beauty effect of estrogen is that it affects the thickness of the skin. It can both increase wrinkle formation and downregulate collagen production.
Estrogens & Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid increases collagen production in the skin, which can be beneficial or harmful. In the right amounts, increased hyaluronic production can improve skin thickness and allow it to remain plump, hydrated and free of wrinkles. However, in excess, this can lead to calcification of the skin, and skin hyperpigmentation.
Estrogen affects skin moisture by increasing the production of glycosaminoglycans, such as hyaluronic acid. While these are necessary for fluid balance in the skin and physical structure, there is a downside as noted above.
The liver’s role in detoxifying estrogen
The liver is responsible for detoxifying estrogen in the body. When the liver becomes impaired (hypothyroidism or cirrhosis), estrogen tends to build up in the liver. In excess, estrogen is toxic to the liver and impairs its function.
The liver has many important roles in achieving healthy hair and skin, primarily in detoxification and regulation of inflammation. Furthermore, estrogen excess increases the production of inflammatory prostaglandins D2, which are known to inhibit hair growth.
In essence, there is much confusion around the effects of estrogens on our skin and hair. To clarify, it is more so progesterone and thyroid hormone that are responsible for a youthful appearance.
What Can Be Done About It?
If you sense that the health of your hair and skin are at the ill end of estrogen dominance, then there are a few things you want to do…
Support Your Liver & Thyroid
It is imperative to support the health of the Thyroid and Liver. These are key “beauty glands” and have roles in managing estrogen. The liver detoxifies estrogen, where thyroid hormone keeps estrogen in check. You can learn more about how to care for these glands in previous posts linked at the end.
Boost Collagen Production
If estrogen is dominant, it is likely that collagen production is not optimal. You can use retinoids, which are antioxidants that are part of the Vitamin A family. These compounds are key to increasing collagen, which will regulate pigmentation and wrinkle formation. This ends up evening out skin tone and tightens the skin.
Hydrate your Skin
A dehydrated epidermal will appear dull, dry and lifeless. You can control this by increasing your intake of essential fatty acids and phytosterols and avoiding lifestyle triggers such as alcohol consumption, lack of sleep and stress.
There are various antioxidants in our Revitalize formula that help to stimulate the production of Superoxide Dismutase, which protects the skin from oxidative damage.
Various essential oils can provide hydration, nourishment, and protection to the skin. Using oils like Rosewood and Jasmine help to hydrate the skin, while others like Carrot Seed, Argan and Rosehip oils protect the skin.
They also improve elasticity. These are just some of the basic reasons we feature organic essential oils in most of our product line. To learn more about essential oils, read our previous post on them.
In order to rejuvenate aging skin, we want to increase cell renewal. Exfoliation is one way to stimulate this regeneration process. However, most exfoliants are too harsh and damage the skin. Instead, try dry brushing your body.
For exfoliating the face, we recommend our Clay Mask. It is gentle on the skin, but capable of promoting rapid microcirculation to the skin’s surface for renewal.
A diet rich in nutrients and antioxidants is a staple part of natural beauty. Aim to consume sufficient healthy fats, especially from grass-fed meat, butter, ghee, and wild-caught fish. These help to nourish your skin from the inside.
Remember, aging is inescapable, it’s a beautiful and natural part of the cycle of life. The goal isn’t to escape aging, but rather, to optimize the quality of our lives and health so we can experience a rich and fulfilling life.
Were you already aware of these harmful beauty effects of estrogen? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.