When coming up with the Signature workshop almost 2 years ago, one of the first topics that we wanted to address was hormonal health. You wouldn’t think that an esthetician and nutritionist would be so passionate about this topic but from our own experiences to the increase in conditions affected our clientele, this is a topic we can’t avoid. Most of us have experienced the type of education when it comes to our hormones where it’s split off into two conversations. The first being - “Here is how your body will change and deal with it” and the second being “Sex Education with a focus on abstinence”. Where in all of that do you learn about listening to your body and how to support yourself? The major issue is that hormone health often misses the point and leads men and women to their own devices when trying to connect the dots in their health imbalances.
Let’s face it, we all have hormones, therefore, we’re all hormonal. Most of the time when a woman is experiencing a breakout that comes around the start of their menstruation the solution from dermatologist would be to go on birth control or antibiotics or both (which if this has happened to you - the two medications cancel each other out so you end up taking them for nothing). What if there was a way that you could balance your hormones without the medication? There are ways to start working towards that lifestyle that we want to shed light on over the next few weeks. Today we want to dive into what is going on with your skin and how we think “hormonal acne” is just a myth. To create a new skin condition by simply adding the word “hormonal” in front of it such as hormonal acne, can take away your belief that there is anything you can do to solve the problem. When you think about the first time you can remember your hormones fluctuated you may remember that awkward phase in your adolescence called puberty. Puberty is the perfect example of when your hormones peak to a new high and then drop to a new low. That type of fluctuation, whether you are a man or woman, can be so drastic for your immune system that it feels like you are about to get sick. During this time, we also experience a shift in our skin’s functions including more oil production (hello blackheads!) and decreased turnover (dead skin build up). When you experience this on top of extreme hormonal fluctuation you become more likely to have an infection occur on the skin (aka cysts and painful pustules!). The reality that as unglamorous as this time is, it’s essential that we all go through it because it means we are evolving into another part of our life that will bring experience and growth.
When faced with the extreme symptoms of hormonal change the most important thing to remember that your immunity is at stake. Experiencing those first signs of cravings, cramps, mood fluctuations and fatigue are all signals from your body communicating what you are deficient in or where you need additional support. Next week we will be focusing on the internal support to help you tune into your individual symptoms so you start to find a balance naturally. But when it comes to your topical care it’s important to remember the following:
1 - With the increase in endocrine disruptive imbalances and hormonal disorders (anything from sluggish digestion, increased anxiety, and low libido to PCOS, endometriosis, and infertility), one of the most valuable steps you can take for yourself is reducing the use of products with endocrine disruptive ingredients. We advocate for green beauty not because it’s the current beauty trend right now but because it can make a huge difference in your health. It used to be that people who were sick or pregnant were the only ones who had a need for plant-based, non-toxic ingredients because the absorption of the synthetic toxins would be harmful to the developing fetus or increase risk in their disease. But now it seems like everyone has a condition that needs to be monitored. If you decrease your use of overall synthetic ingredients, whether it’s in your skincare, makeup, hygiene care and even household cleaners - your system will not have to work overtime to filter out potential toxins. Helping your system out in this way will keep your immunity up during shifts in your hormones and (hopefully) not come out in infections on the skin. A great resource to help you get started are available on our SFT approved page but you also the EWG.org site and the Think Dirty app.
2 - When you feel low immunity it’s easy to ignore the symptoms because we all lead busy lives but what is important to try to do is treat yourself as if you are already sick. This includes more rest, less stress, an increase in calming foods that are nutritionally beneficial and simplifying everything else in between. If you treat your entire system with rest and care, your skin will reflect that love. It’s also important to not overtreat the skin when it is infected as well. When you are struggling with these types of imbalances you have to remember that it’s your system working overtime for you. Many people will have the instinct to overtreat the skin but that will only increase inflammation and potentially spread infection. Treat your skin the same way you would treat an upset stomach, back off extra medications and let it self-heal with neutralizing ingredients.
3 - The lymphatic system is essential to flushing out toxins that come out on the skin. Typically when our hormones fluctuate and cause lowered immunity, the stagnations it can cause in our lymphatic passageways are what create jawline infections on our skin. Supporting the lymphatic system with daily self-care practices like dry brushing, at home gua sha or even taking a cold flush after your shower can make the world of a difference. That way your toxins are filtering out properly and not making their way onto your skin anytime your hormones fluctuate.
At the end of the day, this discussion is one that is ever-evolving. We don't want to create shame for those who have taken measures that we advocate against because the missing link is education when it comes to this topic. For so many people to be suffering from hormonal imbalances, it starts with the lack of education we had growing up. We want to empower you to tune into what your individual symptoms are communicating to you. If you don't experience the physical symptoms in your skin it's still a good idea to start tracking other symptoms by using the "My Flo" app for suggestions on each phase of your cycle. Next week we'll go into much more depth on how to support yourself from within and how nutrition is vital in proper hormone health. Feel free to comment below with any questions you may have and have a great rest of your week.