Hormones and Skin Health: A Naturopathic Approach to Radiant Skin

by Kelly Trotter

Your skin serves not only as a protective barrier but also mirrors your overall health. Conditions ranging from acne and rosacea to dermatitis and perioral dermatitis can be exacerbated by hormonal imbalances, significantly influencing your complexion. In this blog, we’ll dive into how hormones affect skin health and explore various skin conditions that can be linked to hormonal imbalances. At Hormone Health Studio, our team of Naturopaths understands the intricate connection between hormones and skin, and we’re here to guide you on your journey to achieving clear and radiant skin. We’ll also share five essential tips below for naturally improving your skin.

Hormones and Skin Health: The Connection

Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate numerous bodily functions, including the health of your skin. They influence oil production, collagen production, inflammation, and the overall appearance and texture of your skin. When hormones are in balance, your skin tends to look its best. However, when imbalances occur, it can lead to a range of skin issues.

Acne: The Hormonal Culprit

Acne is one of the most common skin concerns, and hormones play a significant role in its development. Androgens, such as testosterone, are the primary hormones responsible for acne. These hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce excess oil, which can clog pores and lead to acne breakouts. This is why acne often appears during puberty when hormone levels surge. [1]

Some women experience acne flare-ups after discontinuing oral contraceptives. This is often due to the hormonal fluctuations that occur as the body adjusts to its natural hormone production. We can help to balance hormones using herbal medicines, nutrients and tailored diet, which can in turn support acne.

PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and Hormonal Acne

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects many women, and it’s characterised by imbalances in hormones like insulin, oestrogen, and androgens. High levels of androgens in PCOS can lead to increased oil production and, consequently, hormonal acne. Our team of naturopaths at Hormone Health Studio often recommends lifestyle modifications, diet changes, and herbal remedies to help manage PCOS-related skin issues. [2]

Rosacea: A Vascular Hormonal Link

While the exact cause of rosacea is not fully understood, hormones may play a role in triggering or exacerbating this condition. Fluctuations in oestrogen and other hormones can affect blood vessel dilation and contribute to the redness and flushing seen in rosacea. Managing hormonal imbalances can be part of a holistic approach to rosacea treatment. [2]

Dermatitis and Perioral Dermatitis: Hormones and Skin Sensitivity

Skin conditions like dermatitis and perioral dermatitis are often linked to hormonal imbalances. Hormones can affect the skin’s barrier function, making it more susceptible to irritants and allergens. Addressing hormonal imbalances can help reduce skin sensitivity and the risk of flare-ups. [3]

Pregnancy Skin Breakouts

Pregnancy brings about significant hormonal changes in a woman’s body. Some women may experience pregnancy-related skin issues like melasma (darkening of the skin), acne, or itching. These skin concerns are often hormonally driven and can vary from woman to woman.[4] Our naturopathic team can offer guidance on managing these issues safely during pregnancy.

Itchy Skin and Histamine Intolerance

Histamine is a naturally occurring compound in the body that plays a role in allergic reactions. Hormonal fluctuations can affect histamine levels, leading to histamine intolerance and symptoms like itchy skin.  Did you know some of the healthiest foods such as tomatoes and avocados are high in histamine? Our naturopaths can help identify which high histamine foods may be triggering your skin and provide individualised guidance on managing histamine intolerance for better skin health.

Gut Health and Skin

The gut-skin connection is a well-established concept in naturopathic medicine. We always look at supporting gut health and reduce inflammation for skin conditions. Maintaining a healthy gut through a balanced diet, strain specific probiotics, and lifestyle choices can support overall skin health.

Stress and Sleep: Hormonal Havoc

Chronic stress can disrupt hormone balance, leading to skin issues like acne and increased sensitivity. Poor sleep can also affect hormone regulation and skin repair. Our naturopathic approach focuses on stress management techniques and improving sleep quality to support healthier skin. [5]

5 Tips for Improving Skin Naturally

1) Simplify Your Skincare Routine

Keeping your skincare routine simple and free from harsh chemicals can do wonders for your skin. Consider using natural and gentle products like the Edible Beauty skincare range. These products are formulated with ingredients that nourish and support healthy skin without harmful additives.

2) Dietary Changes: Reduce Inflammatory Foods and Alcohol

Cutting down on inflammatory foods such as sugar, processed foods, and excessive dairy can help reduce skin inflammation. Additionally, limiting alcohol consumption can benefit your skin by minimising dehydration and inflammation.

3) Stay Hydrated

Maintaining skin health relies on adequate hydration. Insufficient hydration results in higher Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL) and harms the skin barrier. The compromise of the barrier can accelerate premature aging and potentially worsen other skin issues like acne. Aim to consume approximately 2-3 liters of water daily, as this not only keeps the skin well-hydrated but also aids in flushing out toxins and promoting overall health. [1-6]

4) Nutritional Support

Ensure you’re getting essential nutrients like vitamin D, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids.  These nutrients, along with adequate protein are crucial for skin health.  

Consider incorporating fatty fish such as salmon or sardines into your diet; they are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and selenium. Include leafy dark greens like kale, spinach, and collards for a dose of vitamins A, C, and E, omega-3s, protein, and even selenium found in spinach. Eggs are a valuable source of protein, along with vitamins A and E, selenium, and zinc. Integrate flaxseeds for their omega-3 content and selenium. Legumes such as lentils and chickpeas provide protein and zinc. Avocados contribute healthy fats, as well as vitamins C and E. Additionally, incorporating extra virgin olive oil into your diet can supply healthy fats and vitamin E. [1-8]

5) Support Your Gut Health

A healthy gut and having a diverse microbiome contributes to radiant skin. You can support your microbiome with strain specific bacteria including- Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species.[9]  You can find these in yoghurt and kefir, just but be careful that those products don’t have added sugars.

Consume more lacto-fermented foods to support gut health like sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, and miso. These foods undergo a lacto-fermentation process, distinct from other fermentation methods like alcohol fermentation, resulting in a diverse range of beneficial bacteria. In the case of lacto-fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, the proliferation of lactobacilli predigests the cabbage, facilitating easier digestion and making nutrients more accessible for the body. This process also generates beneficial bacteria that aid in repopulating the gut. Scientific studies indicate that the intake of lacto-fermented foods can impact mood and acne by reducing systemic inflammation, while probiotics contribute to the elimination of disease-promoting pathogenic bacteria in the gut. [10]

Eat foods rich in prebiotics. Prebiotics help boost the growth of friendly bacteria. These include non-digestible food substances found in asparagus, bananas, endive, chicory, garlic, globe and jerusalem artichokes, kefir, leeks, onions as well as foods rich in soluble fibre.

How is your digestion, does it need a boost? Lemon juice in warm water before a meal can help stimulate and aid digestion

Lastly by supporting your stress levels – will help encourage beneficial flora. They are not big fans of stress. Think Yoga, meditation, walking, loving and being kind to yourself. 

Achieving clear and radiant skin is not just about topical treatments; it’s about addressing the underlying hormonal imbalances that can affect your skin health. At Hormone Health Studio, our team of naturopaths takes a holistic approach to help you balance your hormones and improve your skin naturally. By following these five essential tips, simplifying your skincare routine, making dietary adjustments, staying hydrated, correcting nutritional deficiencies, and supporting your gut microbiome, you can embark on a journey towards healthier, more radiant skin. Remember that healthy skin starts from within, and with the right guidance and lifestyle changes, you can achieve the complexion you desire.

[1] Bungau., A.F. et al. Oxidative stress and metabolic syndrome in acne vulgaris: Pathogenetic connections and potential role of dietary supplements and phytochemicals. Biomed Pharmacother, 2023. PMID: 37315434 

[2] Wang., J. et al. Dysregulation of immune response in PCOS organ system. Front Immunol, 2023. PMID: 37215125 

[3] Weare-Regales., N. et al. Hormonal Effects on Asthma, Rhinitis, and Eczema.J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract, 2022. PMID: 35436605 

[4] Espósito., A.C.C. et al. Update on Melasma-Part I: Pathogenesis. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb), 2022. PMID: 35904706 

[5] Almutawa., Y.M. et al. Evaluation of Psychiatric Comorbidities and Quality of Life As Well As Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Concentrations Among Patients Suffering From Acne Vulgaris: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Cureus, 2023. PMID: 36751189

[6] Ariffin., N.H. et al. Assessment of non-invasive techniques and herbal-based products on dermatological physiology and intercellular lipid properties. Heliyon, 2020. PMID: 32478187 

[7] Moosazadeh., M. etal.  Comparing Vitamin D Level Between Patients with Psoriasis and Healthy Individuals: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.J Evid Based Integr Med, 2023. PMID: 37936396

[8] Nosewicz., J. et al. The epidemiology, impact, and diagnosis of micronutrient nutritional dermatoses part 1: Zinc, selenium, copper, vitamin A, and vitamin C. J. Am. Acad. Dermatol, 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2021.07.079.

[9] Rodenes-Gavidia., A. et al. An insight into the functional alterations in the gut microbiome of healthy adults in response to a multi-strain probiotic intake: a single arm open label trial. Front Cell Infect Microbiol, 2023. PMID: 37841999 

[10] Louw., N.L. etal. Microbiome Assembly in Fermented Foods. Annu Rev Microbiol, 2023. PMID: 37713453

by Kelly Trotter

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