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How hormones affect skin diseases and aging

The Affects of Hormones on Skin Diseases and Disorders


As the body begins to develop and goes through puberty, conditions such acne begins to surface. Hormone levels directly affect the rate at which sebocyte enzymes synthesize lipids. As sebocytes differentiate and mature, they accumulate, increasing the amounts of lipids. With time, mature sebocytes migrate toward the central excretory duct of the sebaceous gland, and eventually break apart, releasing their lipidic contents. These lipids and disintegrated sebocytes are then released through the excretory duct onto the skin. The activity and size of the sebaceous glands can vary according to circulating hormone levels and age. With acne, the affects of stress and inflammatory responses should be considered.


With age, the body produces lower levels of hormones, and hormones lose their ability to communicate messages. This miscommunication also known as hormone miscommunication can cause an imbalance in the endocrine system, and accelerate the aging process. Hormone miscommunication can occur when the body is under constant physical and emotional stress.

The results of hormone miscommunication are:

Excess Blood Glucose – destroys collagen
Excessive Free Radicals – oxidative damage to cells
Increase in Insulin Resistance – body cannot recognize insulin
Increased Cortisol Levels – stress hormone which causes increase in blood sugar

Immune Function and Longevity

With age, there is a deterioration of immune response in the body. This deterioration is a result of continuous exposure to viruses, bacteria, pollution, and food among others. In middle age, this exposure is accelerated by increased levels of hormones such as cortisol, and decreased levels of DHEA. A decrease in immune responsiveness is also linked to an over production of inflammatory cytokines, which makes inflammation the largest contributor to aging and disease, and is why an anti-inflammatory diet should be considered.

Anti-inflammatory Diet; Essential to Health

An anti-inflammatory diet will help prevent and reverse oxidative damage cause by free radicals on a cellular level, and is essential to aging and total body health. Studies have shown that anti-inflammatory foods and antioxidants are the key to prevent intrinsic aging and disease.

Estrogen Deficiencies; Contributor to Skin Aging

Research has suggested that estrogen deficiencies following menopause may contribute to aging in skin. Although the exact mechanisms are not known, the reduction in estrogen is believed to increase skin thickness, dryness, and loss of elasticity. Estrogen receptors have been detected in the skin, which makes topical estrogens effective to treat aging skin. Topical estrogens have been shown to have antioxidant properties, and have anti-aging benefits. Phytoestrogens which are found in plants have shown to mimic estrogen, and have antioxidant affects.

Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is a genetic skin disorder, which is an excessive buildup of keratin within the hair follicle. Keratosis pilaris is a benign condition that appears like tiny tan, red, or white bumps that occur on the upper arms, legs, buttocks, or cheeks, and is often associated with other dry skin conditions such as eczema and ichthyosis. In children, keratosis pilaris affects adolescents during puberty, but can also occur in adults. Keratosis pilaris affects nearly 50-80 % of all adolescents, and affects approximately 40 % of adults, and is believed to be linked to hormonal fluctuations as well as imbalances. Keratosis pilaris may occur when there is an excess of estrogen in ratio to progesterone, and can occur if ovulation does not take place, or if there is insufficient progesterone due to a defective luteal phase. Keratosis pilaris is commonly found during hormone fluctuations that occur during pregnancy or menopause, as well as with hormone replacement therapy.

Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

The process of inflammation is a contributing factor to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. When treating inflamed acne or dark skin phototypes, reducing inflammation and inflammatory responses of white blood cells should be considered to reduce risk factors to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Women are most affected by pro-inflammatory responses and the affects of androgens in the body, and are more susceptible to adrenal hormone stimulation. The affects of androgens in the body should be considered as a risk factor to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Linda Gulla is a physician endorsed Master Esthetician who offers CME and CE to licensed professionals and has authored the first in a series in Medical Aesthetics. Her resource material and correspondence certification can be found at


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