How to Know if Your Hormones Are Putting a Damper on Your Skin Journey

Haute Living posted "How to Know if Your Hormones Are Putting a Damper on Your Skin Journey." The article includes Visha Skincare founder, Dr. Purvisha Patel's expert insight on the connection between hormones and healthy skin.

Skincare products are a great way to quickly deliver active ingredients to your skin. Although, sometimes these external products need a helping hand from a stronger oral antibiotic due to the effect our hormones play on our skin's health. To figure out if hormones are a factor in your skin journey, Haute Beauty sat down with Haute Beauty experts to hear what they had to say.

Dr. Purvisha Patel | Skin | Memphis

Hormones are important to everything in the human body, especially the largest organ of your body- the skin. Hormone changes, change the barrier and blood flow of the skin and can influence inflammation and skin integrity. If you think hormones are a culprit to your skin conditions, see a dermatologist, and have the levels checked. Medications such as spironolactone can be prescribed topically and orally to hormonally help with acne. Skincare brands such as Visha Skincare, have taken hormones and skin into consideration, and have developed creams such as RejuVenating Moisturizer, to help with moisture loss over time, and with a cycle- specifically made for the face, decolletage, neck and vaginal area.

For more information, visit Dr. Patel's website, Instagram, or Facebook!

Dr. Harlan L. South | Anti-Aging | San Francisco

Hormones directly affect the quality and aging of our skin. For many reasons, our hormone levels of all types decrease with aging. For females, their estrogen levels are associated directly with the physical appearance of the skin. As estrogen levels decrease, there is a loss of skin volume and firmness that is related to the loss of collagen and hyaluronic acid in their skin. Thus, wrinkles and a sagging appearance are demonstrated. For men, testosterone represents an important hormone, and its deficiency can lead to drier skin due to loss of sebum within the skin. For both sexes, the thyroid hormone is an equally important hormone that regulates skin laxity and moisture quality. In many cases, a skin condition can be the first sign of thyroid dysfunction in our bodies.

Our hormone levels can be identified by simply checking the levels in our blood through a laboratory draw. Furthermore, a hormone expert physician can decipher these levels and recommend appropriate therapy to augment and support healthy hormone levels in our bodies.

The best hormonal replacement therapy centers around the use of bio-identical based hormonal products since synthetic hormone products have serious side effects. These bio-identical hormone products come in many forms including creams, pellets, and oral capsules. In addition to hormone replacement, a twice-daily facial routine that centers on a gentle organic cleanser, use of serums (hyaluronic acid, vitamin C- ferulic acid, niacinamide, etc ...), and then the overlay of moisturizing cream (squalene with omega acids, ceramides, etc ....) can enhance our skin appearance.

For more information, visit Dr. South's website, Instagram, or Facebook!

Dr. Tamara Lazic, Hudson Dermatology & Laser Surgery | Skin | New York

Dermatology, like a photograph, is an open secret. The lesions present on the surface, the diagnoses, however, can lead to the most remote of etiologies, making the clinical work of a dermatologist a daily discovery. The skin may seem like a border between individuals and their environment, but really it is a window to the diseases experienced by the body. What can our skin tell us about our hormones?

First and foremost, what are the normal effects of hormones on our skin throughout our life? During the teenage years, we experience increased testosterone, during menopause and with aging decreased estrogen is expected. Declining estrogen levels as we age lead to less moisture, decreased elasticity (more wrinkles), reduced wound healing, easy bruising.

What can happen to our skin when there is an underlying problem, disease, hormonal issue… how do those changes manifest on our skin?

Skin can be one of the early indicators of a hormonal problem called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) (too much testosterone in a female), which presents with acne, hirsutism (unwanted facial hair), hair loss, irregular menses, weight gain, and sometimes even infertility. The most successful treatment for PCOS-associated skin issues is an oral medication called spironolactone. Acne in the setting of PCOS tends to be quite resistant to topical treatments. Spironolactone helps acne, hirsutism, as well as hair loss in PCOS patients. I see this condition very commonly as a dermatologist. We diagnose it based on the above-mentioned clinical findings, as well as blood testing and an ultrasound of the ovaries, done typically by a Gynecologist.

Another hormone that can affect the skin is the thyroid hormone. An overactive thyroid hormone can cause warm, sweaty, and flushed skin, while an underactive thyroid can lead to dry, coarse skin with a reduced ability to perspire, as well as hair loss.

To summarize, the main skin findings that could be a clue to an underlying hormonal imbalance are acne and hair loss. Additionally, melasma is a disorder of skin hyperpigmentation of sun-exposed areas, which can be linked to high estrogen and progesterone levels, commonly seen in women on birth control pills. Dry, itchy skin can be a sign of a thyroid problem. Treatments I often recommend:

Hormonal acne

  • Trial of topicals first: prescription-strength retinoids (my favorites are Skin Medicinals tretinoin customized with HA + antioxidants, as well as Arazlo lotion), topical antibiotic/anti-inflammatory prescription creams
  • Skin barrier repair is always important: studies have found that acne-prone skin has a compromised skin barrier in many cases, despite the increased oil production (La Roche Posay Double Repair Moisturizer, SkinFix)
  • Spironolactone and/or birth control pills play an important role in more than mild cases of hormonal acne

Hair loss in the setting of PCOS

  • My fave topical treatments: HairStim customizable prescription serums (containing minoxidil, spironolactone, retinoids or topical finasteride in men)
  • Oral treatments may be necessary- again spironolactone for women, finasteride for men


  • Sunscreen and antioxidants to PROTECT (AlumierMD is one of my favorite new products- moisturizer with SPF 40, called Sheer Hydration). For antioxidants, I love Vichy’s Vitamin C serum for sensitive skin, Paola’s Choice C15 SuperBooster.
  • Lightening creams to CORRECT (containing hydroquinone, retinoids or topical steroids, again I use compounded customizable formulas by Skin Medicinals most commonly)

Dry skin

  • My favorite body moisturizer: Lipikar AP Balm by La Roche Posay. Cerave moisturizing cream

For more information, visit Dr. Lazic's website or Instagram!

Dr. Amy B. Lewis | Skin | New York

Hormonal acne occurs when a patient’s hormone levels cause the overproduction in the skin's oil glands. I find this to be a very important element when developing an effective skincare routine for my patient. This is also an important fact to remember when you are reassuring your patient that their skin is treatable. Frequently, patients, especially teenagers find it very discouraging when they believe they are doing everything “right” and they are still experiencing breakouts. Many times, it does not matter how perfectly you wash your face, if you eat correctly, wash your pillowcases often, etc., you can still find yourself with breakouts.

If you find yourself with stubborn acne that seems to persist regardless of what you do, you may be suffering from hormonal acne. Making an appointment with a trusted Dermatologist is your best defense in getting this under control.

During your first appointment, your doctor will examine your skin and obtain a history as to what you are currently using on your skin and past treatments you may have tried. For girls, figuring out if your periods are a history of the menstrual cycle, whether regular, irregular or non-existent are extremely important. They will also ask you about sleep and stress factors, as those can contribute to hormones changes and possibly acne.

Your doctor may order blood tests to look for hormone imbalances. Prescription medication may be the best way to fight your hormonal acne if this is the case.

Most teens may want to start with the most conservative treatment first. This would be to address the possible factors including stressors and discuss how to diminish these outside causes. The next line of defense would be topical treatments. A medicated wash Is often prescribed. Retinol and other creams/ serums that can contain topical antibiotics to help fight the acne topically.

Oral prescriptions can range from antibiotics (such as doxycycline), spironolactone (a hormone medication that is acne specific), all the way to Accutane aka Isotretinoin.

(A Vitamin A derivative akin to Reti-A in oral form) Accutane can be a miracle drug and it is the losers we come to a cure for acne as it shrinks the oil glands permanently. These glands secrete the sebum that traps the bacteria which in turn causes acne. By getting to the source, we can eliminate breakouts, reduce the chance of scarring and years of battling acne. Your dermatologist will review these choices with you to help you make the best decision.

In addition to prescription medications, regular skincare products can be your friend as well. When selecting any type of face cream or makeup, you want to review the ingredients to ensure they do not contain any “pore-clogging” ingredients. Look for products that say “non-comedogenic”. Most mineral-based make-ups are safe for acne-prone skin. Properly moisturizing your face, is just as important and applying the treatments.

Laser treatments can also be effective in not only preventing new breakouts but treating the discoloration that has occurred. IPL (Intense Pulse Light) or Vbeam laser has options to not only reduce redness from past breakouts but help heal current breakouts.

For more information, visit Dr. Lewis's website or Instagram!

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