HORMONES & PREGNANCY

EFFECT OF TEENAGE HORMONES

Hormones have a significant effect on our skin throughout our entire life. Men and women are uniquely different creatures because of hormonal differences that shape us from our first foetal weeks, through adolescence and into our later years. Hormones have power over every cell in our bodies, and nowhere is that power more visible than in the skin.

Let’s take a closer look at the most prominent hormonal influences on the skin during various stages of our life.

TEENAGE HORMONES

The power and presence of hormones explode during puberty. The physical transformation that occurs can be at times, unattractive and overwhelming. Hormones wreak havoc on teenagers at a time when their self esteem can be quite fragile. One of the most troubling skin problems triggered by teenage hormones is ACNE.

Acne is inflamed lesions on the skin triggered by androgenic hormones. The effect of hormones is to increase the secretion of sticky oil in the hair follicle. When mixed with dead skin cells, this produces a plug, the initial event in the acne cycle. An in-depth description of acne and recommended best treatments are discussed in the chapter Acne, Pores and Scarring.

EFFECT OF PERIMENOPAUSAL HORMONES

 

PERIMENOPAUSE

The physical changes that occur during our late forties through our fifties and beyond can be somewhat complicated.

Ageing: Once our prime fertile years are behind us, the reduction in female hormones causes significant changes in appearance. Dwindling hormone levels, coupled with cumulative sun damage, further cause our skin to get blotchy and thinner.  To help us lead the best possible lives, it’s important to look after our skin for as long as possible. We want to help you keep your skin in tip top condition and for you to enjoy great skin at any age. Skin can be beautiful when it is nourished, well cared for and sun protected. Looking good until your 100th birthday is something that is achievable and will make life's exciting ride ever so much more wonderful.

Acne: During the reproductive years, women have a natural balance between the masculinizing androgenic hormones such as progesterone and the feminizing hormone oestrogen. Beginning in our thirties, a natural reduction in oestrogen causes the ratio of oestrogens to androgens to decrease. In other words, our feminine hormones begin disappearing, and our masculine ones start increasing. As a result, our sebaceous glands secrete thicker sebum, which clogs the pores and produces acne in some adult women. This acne is not temporary; in fact medical studies have documented that adult female acne lasts on average 20 years. That's why it is so important, especially at this stage of your life that you have a suitable skin care routine which will help combat any hormonal disruptions and eruptions.

EFFECT OF MENOPAUSAL HORMONES

MENOPAUSE

Menopause causes a decline in oestrogen which for some women can be very abrupt. Perimenopause is the precursor to menopause, typically lasting four to six years, and postmenopause refers to the years following menopause. The physical manifestations of perimenopause and menopause such as dry skin, wrinkling, acne, thinning hair, brittle nails, and overall weight gain are just some of the most common complaints.

Skin Dryness: Dryness and menopause go hand in hand. With the decline in hormone production, oil secretions from the sebaceous glands slow resulting in skin dryness. Further compounding the problem, skin cell reproduction slows, causing an overall thin and crepey texture. Dead cells accumulate on the surface, causing the skin to look dull, drab, and sallow. Exfoliation can help increase cell turnover and therefore brighten the skin. Chemical exfoliants are ingredients such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid and poly hydroxy acids. These work by dissolving the bonds between cells in the outermost layer of the skin, enabling effective shedding of dead cells. Physical exfoliants manually slough away dead or excess skin cells. These include abrasive pads, textured sponges, and skin care products containing micro beads. Exfoliation can make your skin look refreshed and renewed. Exfoliation also ensures better absorption of your wrinkle fighting skin care products.

Loss of Fat, Collagen and Elastin: The middle layer of our skin produces two important structural proteins: collagen and elastin. Collagen gives skin its strength and fullness while elastin gives skin its elasticity and stretch. In our forties and fifties, skin starts to wrinkle, droop, and sag seemingly overnight. Lack of hormones and cumulative sun damage result in a loss of these collagen and elastin fibres. An astounding 30% of skin collagen is lost in the first five years after menopause. The bottom layer of our skin consists of fat pads. Fat gives skin its full, firm cushion and softness however as we age, we tend to naturally lose our natural fat pad. The result is hollow cheeks, sagging skin and a tired, gaunt appearance.

Our philosophy of anti ageing treatments is based on the power of combination therapy. The best available non invasive option is dedicated skincare containing active ingredients such as peptides, alpha hydroxy acids, poly hydroxy acids, Vitamin A, antioxidants and sunscreen. Here we can recommend one of the best dermatological based skincare regimens for ageing skin.

PREGNANCY & SKIN

It is not just the joy of expecting a new baby that makes a women's face luminous; there is actually a scientific origin to that glow. Pregnant women produce between 30%–50% more blood than nonpregnant women. The result: skin appears brighter, pinker, and more vibrant. And that’s just the beginning. Because of the profound hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, nothing is quite the same. From thicker hair and strange discolorations on your skin to protruding veins, you will probably notice something new almost every day.

What’s Happening to My Skin?

Every inch of your skin from your head to your toes experiences changes that are unexpected and, at times, disconcerting.

Melasma: Commonly known as the “mask of pregnancy,” is the most visible manifestation of the effect of hormones on the skin during pregnancy. Melasma appears as symmetrical dark brown patches along the other margins of the face, cheeks, upper lip, and forehead. It results from the overproduction of melanin triggered by oestrogenic hormones in conjunction with sun exposure.  While it affects women of all ethnicities, darker complexions tend to have the most persistent forms. Melasma can be embarrassing for some women who see it during pregnancy, and unfortunately, it doesn’t always disappear spontaneously after giving birth. Strict daily sun protection during your pregnancy is your best defence in preventing melasma. If you do experience melasma, pigment-fading skincare is quite effective but should definitely be delayed until delivery and once you have finished breastfeeding.