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The affects of hormones on the skin

Hormones are chemical messengers secreted by cells or glands, which act as messengers that are sent out from one part of the body that affect cells in other parts of the body. Hormone signals play a major role in homeostasis which control and regulate the body's internal environment, and are often released directly into the bloodstream, but may also be secreted into ducts. Hormones can have a wide range of effects on the body such as regulate metabolism, control the reproductive cycle, induce hunger and cravings, stimulate or inhibit growth, and prepare the body for changes such as puberty, childbirth, or menopause.

The Affects of Inflammation

Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect us from infection such as bacteria and viruses. Studies have shown that there is a connection between sugar and inflammation in the body. Inflammation is the single greatest precipitator of aging and age-related diseases, and does damage by stimulating free radicals which accelerate aging by attaching to and damaging cells. With acne, the stimulation of the oil glands brought on by pro-inflammatory responses can result in clogged pores, and an increase in pro-inflammatory fatty acids.

The Affects of Stress on Hormones and Inflammatory Responses

Other factors to consider are the effects that stress has on hormones. Systemically, stress stimulates hormones which can affect acne breakouts. Elevated hormone levels prior to menstruation, or excessive androgen (male sex hormone) production produced by the adrenal glands, can make acneic conditions worse in both men and women. Women are more affected than men by pro-inflammatory responses related to cortisol and insulin, and the affects of androgens in the body. A woman’s androgens are synthesized in the adrenal glands, and they are therefore, more susceptible to adrenal hormone stimulation, and more prone to inflammatory responses in the body. Hyperandrogenism may be caused by disorders such as polycystic ovarian disease, which can indicate insulin resistance with acne patients.

Treatment for Excessive Androgen Levels, Hormonal Imbalance

Prescription drugs such as low dose estrogen birth control pills, can help reduce androgens produced by the ovaries, whereas, low dosed corticosteroids can be used to suppress androgen produced by the adrenal glands. Anti-androgen drugs can be used to reduce excessive oil and sebum production, but do have associated side effects. Vitamins such as B6 help maintain blood glucose levels within a normal range, and may help reduce inflammation in the body. A vitamin such as B5 reduces inflammation and stress responses, and also balances hormones that are needed for proper function of the adrenal glands.

Linda Gulla is a physician endorsed Master Esthetician who offers CME and CE to licensed professionals, and has authored the first series in Medical Aesthetics for the Licensed Professional. Her resource material and correspondence certification can be found at For more information please email:

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