Hormone’s have a lot to answer for! They are effectively our bodies' chemical messengers, responsible for monitoring and controlling all sorts of outputs including both the physical and the emotional.
All our vital organs take cues from the endocrine system which is the control tower of sorts for secreting hormones that help maintain equilibrium in terms of growth and development, metabolism, sexuality, reproduction and mood. So when our hormones are out of whack, all sorts of things can start to derail, with the skin being a primary exhibit of the inner turmoil taking place within. Throughout a woman’s lifetime in particular, there are two momentous phases that cause hormonal surges that lead to various skin related outcomes - pregnancy and menopause. We are going to break it down for you and look at each of these phases in turn, the problems, symptoms, treatments and care that can be harnessed to help navigate the turbulent waters of hormonal surges.
PREGNANCY HORMONES. WHAT ARE THEY?
During pregnancy there are two dominant hormone’s (and loads of others after that!) that take a relentless hold of the human body; estrogen and progesterone. Without these miracle workers we literally wouldn’t be able to conceive, grow or birth a tiny human. They really are vital to the development and support of the uterus and placenta throughout pregnancy, and in the delivery of nutrients to help the foetus develop and mature. A woman will produce more hormonal output during a single pregnancy than in a lifetime without one, so there is no question on this having a profound influence on emotional wellbeing and physical appearance.
HOW DO HORMONE’S EFFECT THE SKIN IN PREGNANCY?
The thing to note when it comes to hormones is that they can be responsible for just about anything. Having said that, the skin is the main external indicator of hormones at play. Whilst there is a veritable treasure trove of skin ailments that can affect women during pregnancy, there are a couple that are far and away the most common and are directly caused by normal hormonal changes (as opposed to the aggravation of pre-existing skin conditions, or the appearance of lesions as a result of pregnancy). These are;
- Hyperpigmentation (melasma)
RECOMMENDED TREATMENTS & SKINCARE
Rises in pregnancy hormones (estrogen and progesterone in particular) can result in changes to your blood sugar and insulin levels. This, in turn, results in an increase in oil production which can block pores and, ultimately give rise to inflammation and acne. While there are a fair few skin care ingredients that should be avoided during pregnancy (vitamin A/retinol, beta-hydroxy acids, some essential oils), here are some measures that can help;
- keeping up with a gentle daily cleanse routine that maintains the surface of your facial skin and prevents the build up oils
- incorporating Niacinamide (B3) into your skincare regime. It is an anti-inflammatory which helps regulate oil gland activity and target pigment. So, very useful to combat both acne and melasma. We recommend our Complete Daily Armour.
- LED Light Therapy
Pregnancy melasma - also referred to as “the mask of pregnancy” - is a common and bothersome skin ailment in pregnancy that causes unsightly brown patches to form on the face. As it is brought on by both hormones and light, your downright best defence during pregnancy is the consistent use of a good sunscreen. We recommend our Active Combat Zinc Stick as a daily combatant to protect you from both UVA & UVB light Its powerful iron oxides will also help defend your skin against the visible light spectrum (specifically blue light) which is known to cause and exacerbate melasma. There are very few other products available which contain sufficient iron oxides to block out blue light.