Testosterone & Your Skin
Think your hormones only affect your mood? Think again! Hormones play a pivotal role in the overall health of your skin. When they’re balanced, your skin can seem flawlessly well behaved. But, when hormones are out of alignment, your skin can act out with a medley of cries like acne, oiliness, irritation and more! Many skin health professionals insist that testosterone has the most impact on the appearance of your skin. Let’s take a closer look at this key hormone, how it affects our skin, and what we can do to keep it in balance!
Testosterone is classified as a “sex hormone,” or androgen. In men, it is manufactured in the testes, and in women, the ovaries. To some lesser degree, it is produced in both sexes’ adrenal cortex as well. Testosterone is responsible for the formation of the male-phenotype, and is crucial in the development of muscular tissue, bone density, and to some degree, metabolism.
Testosterone has a colossal impact on our skin and hair. It is directly responsible for our sebum, or oil production, and its predominance controls the thickness of our skin. This is why men’s skin is almost 20% thicker than women’s. (Sorry ladies!)
In addition, testosterone determines where, why, how, and when hair grows on our scalp, face and body! This can range from facial hair beginning to grow during puberty, to men losing their hair as they age! Testosterone can also cause hair to grow in places it shouldn’t, like on a woman’s chest, especially when it is out of whack. It’s no wonder that when testosterone levels go rogue, our skin and hair suffer!
Most of us first hear about testosterone due to its correlation with puberty. Tweens begin to develop new hair, oiler skin, acne and lower voices! When testosterone levels rise in this age group, so does sebum production in skin. Many teenagers find themselves literally being able to blot excess oil from their faces by noon!
Because of this increased oil production, acne is usually not far behind. Young adults are rapidly shedding dead skin cells as they grow. This abundance of dead skin gets trapped in the thick, tacky sebum that is being overproduced. This cluster then irritates the small hair follicles on our skin. This causes inflammation, a proliferation of bacteria, and acne can occur as a result.
The pre-teen years are a great time to introduce young adults to gentle, pH balanced cleansers and exfoliants that help lift away dead skin cells and regulate sebum production. Naturally based products that contain such ingredients as clary sage, are especially effective, as certain essential oils have been found to regulate both sebum production and bacterial growth on skin!
Adult women may find that their testosterone levels cause breakouts during or after pregnancy. This is incredibly common and it is important for women who are pregnant or breast feeding to avoid certain skincare ingredients commonly used to treat acne, such as salicylic acid.
Women of this age also may find that their skin isn’t as oily as it once was and may even be dry. This is a great time to look into products that focus on calming and soothing the inflammation that acne causes. Light facial oils that contain ingredients like birch bark extract, are both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, making them great options for adult skin with acne!
Regardless of your age, it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle to keep ALL of your hormones balanced. Getting plenty of sleep and exercising regularly is crucial to hormone balance, as is diet and nutrition. With the proper lifestyle habits and skincare, many people are able to keep their hormones in a beautiful, healthy balance!