By: Dr. Olivia Rose, ND
Changes in the skin are inevitable throughout the stages of life. Environmental and lifestyle factors such as diet, sun exposure, alcohol intake and smoking status can all play a role in the health of your skin. However, an important, yet often overlooked factor in the appearance of the skin is your hormonal status. Hormones have a large impact on the health of the skin and as you age, major hormonal milestones such as puberty, perimenopause and menopause can all affect the skin in various ways.
The hormone estrogen is associated with increased collagen production and hydration of the skin, providing a more youthful look.1 During menopause, estrogen levels decline, therefore the skin can become more sensitive to damage.1 After menopausal symptoms begin, many women report thinner, drier skin with increased wrinkles and poor elasticity.1 In a study comparing premenopausal women with perimenopausal and postmenopausal women, approximately one third of the peri and postmenopausal women noticed increased sensitivity of the skin.2 Sensitivity included bumps, pimples, dryness, itching, and redness of the skin.2 Due to the declining estrogen and collagen, the skin becomes dry and more easily damaged.
Some individuals notice this same sensitivity to their skin when estrogen levels drop just before menses during the menstrual cycle.1 The hormones estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone are all in a delicate balance in the body. During puberty and at different times in the menstrual cycle, this balance can be thrown off, leading to an increase in androgens and resulting acne lesions. According to a study of 105 participants, 65% reported perimenstrual acne flares.3
In order to manage changes to the skin throughout different stages in life, the following lifestyle factors can be implemented.
- Protect the skin from sun-damage.4
- Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables; these are high in vitamin E, flavonoids, and the carotenoids, β-carotene, lycopene and d lutein.4
- Lower alcohol intake as it can dehydrate the skin and cause oxidative damage, leading to acne.5
- Lower toxic load on the liver by decreasing the use of plastics and products containing BPA. The liver must function optimally in order to metabolize hormones such as estrogen. Reducing the toxic load can increase efficiency of proper metabolism of estrogen.
Lifestyle strategies can help to protect and maintain a healthy look to the skin. However, depending on the stage of life each individual is in, supplementation may be helpful in balancing out hormonal levels to manage the skin’s elasticity, hydration and blemishes as well as to tackle other symptoms.
For individuals experiencing perimenopause or menopause, which is due to a decreased amount of estrogen, we know that this change in hormones can cause changes to your skin’s firmness and elasticity. Supplementation with borage oil may be helpful. Borage oil contains high levels of Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid. GLA is made in the body from linolenic acid. However, with age, the conversion of linolenic acid to GLA is decreased.6 GLA is often used by women who are looking to support healthy skin as they age due to its ability to improve skin moisture, elasticity and firmness. GLA Borage Oil by Smart Solutions nourishes skin from within by providing essential fatty acids that improve skin moisture, elasticity and firmness. It has also been found to reduce skin inflammation associated with acne and eczema.
The liver is an important organ when it comes to skin and hormones, as it’s a main area of detoxification. Two great ingredients to assist the liver in estrogen metabolism are I3C and DIM. Indole-3-carbinole, or I3C is found in vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and turnips. I3C is a precursor for diindolylmethane or DIM. DIM helps to stimulate the detoxification of estrogen through stimulating the enzymes needed for metabolism of estrogen in the gut and liver.7 Proper estrogen detoxification is needed to maintain an appropriate hormone balance. Estrosmart contains I3C and DIM, ingredients that assist in proper detoxification and promotes healthy estrogen metabolism. [CO1] [DO2] [CO3]
So although skin changes are inevitable, it doesn’t mean you can’t live your life with the glowing, dewy skin you’ve always dreamed of. Supporting your hormonal health is the first step in supporting your skin health, from the inside out.
- Stevenson S, Thornton J. Effect of estrogens on skin aging and the potential role of SERMs. Clinical interventions in aging. 2007 Sep;2(3):283.
- Falcone D, Richters RJ, Uzunbajakava NE, Van Erp PE, Van De Kerkhof PC. Sensitive skin and the influence of female hormone fluctuations: results from a cross-sectional digital survey in the Dutch population. European Journal of Dermatology. 2017 Jan;27(1):42-8.
- Geller L, Rosen J, Frankel A, Goldenberg G. Perimenstrual flare of adult acne. The Journal of clinical and Aesthetic dermatology. 2014 Aug;7(8):30.
- Evans JA, Johnson EJ. The role of phytonutrients in skin health. Nutrients. 2010 Aug;2(8):903-28.
- Al‐Shobaili HA, Alzolibani AA, Al Robaee AA, Meki AR, Rasheed Z. Biochemical markers of oxidative and nitrosative stress in acne vulgaris: correlation with disease activity. Journal of clinical laboratory analysis. 2013 Jan;27(1):45-52.
- Gunstone FD. FATTY ACIDS| Gamma-linolenic Acid.
- Thomson CA, Chow HS, Wertheim BC, Roe DJ, Stopeck A, Maskarinec G, Altbach M, Chalasani P, Huang C, Strom MB, Galons JP. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of diindolylmethane for breast cancer biomarker modulation in patients taking tamoxifen. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2017 Aug;165(1):97-107.