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Whether you’re 20 years old or heading into your 60’s, there are certain hormonal skin changes that all women will experience.
Women and hormones go hand in hand. Throughout the various stages of life, whether it’s puberty, pregnancy or menopause, our bodies experience significant changes due to hormonal fluctuations. These changes in our bodies can bring about many different changes in our skin. Whether we are 20 years old or heading into our 60’s, there are certain hormonal skin changes that we will experience.
For most of us, when we are in our 20’s and 30’s, our skin is pretty healthy. Our collagen and elastin levels are positive and are continuing to produce. We usually don’t have any major wrinkling or discoloration, and our skin maintains a very youthful appearance. But when our hormones start to fluctuate, we begin to experience hormonal skin changes. And I’m not just talking about menopause. What are these changes and what can we do about them?
As we age our skin changes, and some of these changes occur at the hands of our hormones. Hormones, simply put, are chemical messengers that are produced in our ovaries, adrenal glands and thyroid glands. And they can affect certain tissues of the body.
Women can chalk up many skin concerns to the effects of hormones, and there are countless manufacturers who market and sell products to women in hopes of countering these hormonal changes. Yes, menopause seems to be the most popular, but these changes can occur well before menopause strikes. Women in their early 20’s can experience the negative effects of hormones in various changes in their skin.
Blemishes and Breakouts
Unfortunately, one of the very first hormonal influences on our skin comes in the form of pimples. You may experience just a few small pimples or some major breakouts. In either case, these breakouts seem to appear at just about the same time as your monthly friend. This is probably the biggest skin problem that young women face, because in our 20’s and 30’s the body tends to be in reproduction mode. This is directly related to our hormones. These breakouts will be most prominent on the lower cheeks, chin and along the jawline. But they may also appear on the tops of arms and on your back as well. To help clear up acneic skin, use an OTC anti-acne product. If the problem is serious, see your dermatologist to pinpoint the actual cause and determine the best solution for you.
During that certain time of the month when your hormones are going a bit bonkers, you may notice your skin is starting to look and feel greasy. These monthly hormonal changes encourage our oil ducts to produce a lot more oil than we would like. So, with our monthly period also comes excess oil production and buildup on our skin. Is there something you can do to help? Absolutely. Cleanse your skin with a gentle facial cleanser designed for oily skin. Look for one that doesn’t just remove excess oils from the surface, but one that will also help to reduce sebum production as well. And keep some blotting papers on hand to help remove the oil as a quick fix between cleansing.
Itchy, Dry Skin
If you’ve ever been pregnant, you may remember your skin feeling dryer and more uncomfortable than normal. This is very common for most women and also very normal. Your skin is stretching to accommodate your little bundle of joy, and also to allow for some expected weight gain. With that stretching and pulling of the skin sometimes comes a bit of dryness and itchiness. Keep your skin moisturized with a rich, hydrating body lotion. This will keep your skin more flexible and help alleviate the urge to scratch. Apply your body lotion immediately after your bath or shower when your skin is still damp.
Another hormonal skin condition that seems to go hand in hand with pregnancy is hyperpigmentation, or discoloration of the skin. To be fair, hormones and sun exposure are the main causes of the discoloration, which shows up in our skin in the form of melisma. You may notice the skin on your chest, armpits and certain areas of the face begin to darken during pregnancy. Any birthmarks or existing scars may also begin to darken during this time. Much of this discoloration will fade after the baby is born. But you’ll need to be patient, as it may take some time for your hormones to level out and for your skin to change back to its pre-pregnancy state.
Hyperpigmentation doesn’t only apply to those who are pregnant. Keep in mind that if you’re taking birth control pills, you too may notice some darkening of your skin. Speak to your dermatologist about skin care products that will help to lighten these dark spots by inhibiting melanin production. It’s the melanin that provides pigment to the skin. Some drug products are available to address hyperpigmentation and other skin discolorations. Ask your doctor about the right product or treatment.
All women will experience hormonal skin changes. Nutrition and skin care won’t address changes in hormone levels or the skin conditions they cause.
Eating a nutritious diet, living a healthy, active lifestyle and practicing a daily skin care regimen, are good steps for any woman to take. Remember, the healthiest skin is always the most beautiful.