Hormones are responsible for many of the physiological changes that happen in the entire body, which almost always affects the skin. Hormonal changes can cause (or worsen) a range of problems in the skin, from acne breakouts and rosacea flare-ups, to pigmentation problems like melasma (“pregnancy mask”) and “liver spots”, to dehydration and dullness.
Hormones: a devious enemy
If our bodies were fighting a war, hormones would be a formidable opponent. They always seek to attack the body at times of our lives when we are most vulnerable. During adolescence, pregnancy and nursing, and menopause our self esteems are already compromised; we really do not need all of the extra emotions brought on by hormones.
And hormones don’t just attack women, men are just as susceptible. They may not have to deal with pregnancy or menopause (how nice for them), but testosterone is a tricky hormone, one which is directly responsible for acne breakouts. Changing levels in testosterone can wreak havoc on a man’s skin and entire body.
If you recall, I have dealt with acne for a long time, but for a few years in my early twenties, it went away. I loved looking in the mirror and seeing a clear face, after so many years of looking in the mirror and immediately strategizing my camouflage tactics for the day. Things were good. And then I became pregnant with my first child. Pregnancy is a wonderful time in one’s life, but is also very emotional. Even though I knew weight gain was part of the deal, when I actually saw it on my body for the first time it was difficult to process. Add the nausea, fatigue, and other little discomforts and the self esteem started to head south. Then one morning I looked in the mirror and saw not one or two, but several acne breakouts and that was it. The white flag went up and I surrendered to the hormones.
Hormones do not attack only during normal physical life changes; they can also attack when the immune system is compromised because of illness or certain medications, or has been traumatized from surgery.
Work with your body, not against it
When your body is going through a hormonal attack the most important thing to do is understand that (possibly permanent) changes have happened to the body and how it functions. This is not something that we have control of. Allowing negative thought processes and stress to take over is only going to make matters worse. You have to be kind to yourself, and be kind to your body.
This is a time to renew your body, mind, and spirit. After a hormonal attack, the body has gone through physical changes; but the mind and spirit have as well. Anxiety, stress, and depression are all common events that happen before, during, and after hormonal changes.
We already know that stress ages us and can allow illness into the body. If artificial hormones, antibiotics, and anesthetics were taken during the change, those will also have a negative effect on the body in the long term. These medications stay in the body for a long time, and create too many free radicals for our bodies to fight off alone. Antibiotics and other medications can also cause colonization of Candida. All of this creates inflammation and unbalance in the body. Every part of the body needs to adjust to all of these changes, and recover from them.
Going back to “normal” is rarely possible
Often after life changing hormonal events, life as we knew it is no longer a reality. Although it would be nice if once the life changing event was over, the skin and body would return their previous state, it often takes a lot more time to do so. The mind, body, and spirit have been completely overhauled. The body is in detoxification mode, and is trying to eliminate all of the foreign residue left by hormones and medications. The skin may now have a more aged appearance.
Restoring the skin after a traumatic or life changing hormonal event is not an overnight process. It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of time for the hormones to settle down to normal levels, and it takes a lot of time for foreign substances to leave the body. Proper hydration, good nutrition, and an internal detoxification, or cleansing program will help.
Be kind to yourself
Looking in the mirror and seeing a different person looking back at you can be a very upsetting, frustrating thing. The most important thing is to accept the things we cannot change, be kind to ourselves, be peaceful, and embrace this new stage of life. In order to achieve this, holistic therapies that treat the mind, body, and soul are very helpful.
You can try meditation, prayer, counseling, massage therapy, aromatherapy, reflexology, Reiki, or Qi Gong. Sometimes, putting ourselves in someone else’s care in a difficult time is the best way to heal.
Your skin care regimen
After hormonal attacks, practicing good skin care is more important than ever. If you have never seen an aesthetician or skin care therapist, now would be the perfect time to start. Keep your skin care regimen simple; stick to the basic “Cleanse, Tone, Hydrate” skin care mantra, and make sure your products are all from the same line. Look for ingredients that are gentle, soothing, and restorative. Taking vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants internally, as well as applying them topically will help the skin (and the entire body) neutralize free radicals, reduce inflammation, and rebuild its immune system. Drinking freshly brewed, high quality, loose teas is a great way to get your antioxidants and soothe the soul.
Be patient with your skin, as it recovers. Realize that it will take longer to see effects than before. Give your product line anywhere from six weeks to three months to work. If you do not see results at that point, ask your aesthetician to recommend a different line.
Remember that the skin is a window to the state of the entire body. Once the body has finished its healing process, and balance is achieved, the skin will show that.
Want more holistic skincare tips to help see an improvement in your skin in 30 days?
Check out my 10-video email course, Must-Have Secrets for Gorgeous Skin!