Hormones play a critical role in various physiological processes, including skin health. Ever wondered how different hormones can have varying effects on your skin? Here’s an in-depth look at the hormones that significantly influence your skin’s appearance and function.
Estrogen and Your Skin
Estrogen contributes to skin health in several ways. It aids in collagen production, helps maintain skin moisture through the enhancement of mucopolysaccharides and hyaluronic acid, and may even bolster the barrier function of the stratum corneum, the skin’s outermost layer.
Studies using topical applications of 0.3% estriol cream or 0.01% estradiol cream have shown remarkable improvements in skin elasticity, firmness, wrinkle depth, and pore size1. Another study involving topical or oral estradiol with or without progesterone found notable enhancements in skin surface lipids, skin hydration, elasticity, and thickness after six months2.
Progesterone’s Role in Skin Health
Topical applications of 2% progesterone cream have shown to increase skin’s elasticity and firmness while reducing the number and depth of wrinkles3.
Thyroid Hormones and Skin Function
Thyroid hormones influence the skin through multiple mechanisms. They not only directly impact the skin but can also manifest symptoms based on their activity in other tissues. Additionally, both the thyroid and skin can be affected by autoimmune responses in the body.
Symptoms to Look For
- Low Thyroid Function: Rough and cold skin, puffiness, edema, pale complexion, decreased sweating, and rashes of purple spots.
- Excess Thyroid Function: Smooth and warm skin, increased sweating, and skin reddening.
- Autoimmune-related Disorders: Conditions like Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can cause eczema, hives, and vitiligo4.
Cortisol: The Stress Hormone
Cortisol levels spike under stressful conditions, leading to immune system dysfunction and inflammation. This can exacerbate conditions like psoriasis, acne, and atopic dermatitis.
Impacts on Skin Aging
Increased cortisol and other adrenal-related hormones can accelerate skin aging through mechanisms like DNA damage5.
Testosterone’s Impact on Skin
Androgens such as testosterone affect skin functions like the growth of sebaceous glands, which produce sebum, and maintaining the skin barrier. An imbalance of testosterone can lead to acne6.
Melatonin: More Than Just a Sleep Regulator
Poor quality sleepers with low melatonin levels show signs of increased skin aging, including fine lines and uneven pigmentation. Topical melatonin combined with vitamins E and C has been shown to offer sun protection for the skin7.
Skin’s Endocrine Function
Recent research reveals that the skin itself can produce hormones like Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione, which are converted to testosterone and 5 alpha dihydrotestosterone (5 alpha DHT). This ongoing research aims to deepen our understanding of skin and hormonal health8.
Understanding the various ways hormones influence skin health can offer valuable insights into effective skincare. Keep up with the latest research to adapt your skincare regimen accordingly.
- Schmidt JB, et al. “Treatment of skin aging with topical estrogens.” Int J Dermatol. 1996;35(9):669-74. PubMed ↩
- Sator PG, et al. “The influence of hormone replacement therapy on skin ageing: a pilot study.” Maturitas. 2001;39(1):43-55. PubMed ↩
- Holzer G, et al. “Effects and side-effects of 2% progesterone cream on the skin of peri- and postmenopausal women.” Brit J Dermatol. 2005;153(3):626-34. DOI ↩
- Safer, JD. “Thyroid hormone action on skin.” Dermatoendocrinol. 2011;3(3):211-15. Landesbioscience ↩
- Chen Y, Lyga J. “Brain-Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging.” Curr Drug Targets Inflamm Allergy. 2014;13(3):177-90. ↩
- Zouboulis CC, Degitz K. “Androgen action on human skin.” Exp Dermatol. 2004;13(suppl):4:5-10. DOI ↩
- Dreher F, et al. “Topical melatonin in combination with vitamins E and C protects skin from ultraviolet-induced erythema: a human study in vivo.” Brit J Dermatol. 1998;139:332-39. ↩
- Zouboulis CC. “The skin as an endocrine organ.” Dermatoendrocrinol. 2009;1(5):250-52. Landesbioscience ↩