HORMONE SAFE, NON TOXIC SKINCARE & FRAGRANCES: What hormones do to our skin and sense of smell.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU SECRETE:
Wake up glowing, gorgeous, energized and even-tempered some days? Wake up cold, moody, crampy, lethargic and breakout prone on other days? You're not alone. Cyclical hormonal changes, including those experienced during PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) regulate the menstrual cycle and exert significant biological influence on the body's organs and tissues, including the skin.
SKIN CHANGES AS HORMONE HEALTH INDICATORS:
Both physical and emotional changes experienced throughout the month can all be traced back to hormones, making skin changes a good indicator of hormone health and/ other underlying health issues.
WHAT'S GOING ON, DOWN BELOW:
The following is a detailed account of the main hormones that affect the skin during the four phases of the menstrual cycle.
SKIP TO THE END!
Skip to the end if you simply want to know how to care for your skin in each phase of your cycle, using Kavana's non-toxic skincare, bodycare and therapeutic fragrances (Perfume Poems). A handy, 'Pinnable' infographic awaits you!
WHAT ARE HORMONES?
Hormones are chemical messengers produced and secreted by glands and glandular organs of the endocrine system, like the thyroid and pituitary glands and ovaries. Read that ten times fast!
Their job is to regulate different bodily functions and they do this by transferring information via the bloodstream, from one set of cells to another specific set of cells in the body's organs and tissues, at specific times of the month / cycle.
Their effects are both profound - these potent molecules can have an affect with a mere billionth of a gram- and predictable. They are predictable within a spectrum as varied as women's individual cycles and personalities. (source)
HORMONES INFLUENCE ON SKIN:
Hormonal influence on skin, our largest and most visible organ, is considerable. Over the course of a lifetime, hormones control (source):
- The amount of oil (sebum) and water (lipids) produced by the skin and the texture of skin: ie: oily, flaking, dehydrated etc..
- Skin thickness
- Fat deposits
- Skin hydration
- Resident microflora
- Barrier function and dermal collagen content, contributing to skin elasticity and resistance to wrinkling.
- Skin pigmentation and UV susceptibility
- Skin temperature
- Hair growth
WHAT SKIN REVEALS ABOUT HORMONES AND CYCLES:
There are three main hormones that affect the appearance of skin during the menstrual cycle: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
Their fluctuations are responsible for the changes the skin undergoes throughout the month and over the course of the cycle. Understanding which hormones do what and when they do it, can help connect us to our body and identify what part of our cycle we are in and how best to take care of ourselves and live in harmony with our hormones.
ESTROGEN at a glance: .
- WHO: Estrogens are an endogenous group of steroidal hormones.
- WHAT: Estrogens regulate the menstrual cycle.
- WHERE: They are produced primarily by the ovaries at the onset of puberty and affect breast development, in those assigned female at birth.
- WHEN: Estrogens dominate the Follicular Phase and the Ovulatory Phase (first half of the menstrual cycle, weeks 1 & 2 or days 1-14.)
- WHY: While all hormones are low during menstruation, estrogenic hormones are the first to 'return', rising in the second week of the cycle, in preparation for ovulation.
- HOW: Estrogens affect the production of collagen, elastin and moisture retention in skin.
- Estrogens peak before ovulation giving skin a glowing and plump appearance.
At onset of perimenopause and menopause ( late 30's and 40's), the decline in estrogen can cause women to experience more acne, facial hair, and thinning scalp hair. (source). During menopause, after a woman's ovulatory cycle has ceased, research has shown an average decline of 30% in collagen between ages 50-65. Skin is drier, thinner and prone to more fine lines, and rosacea. (source)
EDC'S: TOXIC ESTROGENS
Xenoestrogens (pronounced 'Zeeno-estrogens'), are an exogenus (produced outside the body) group of hormones that are foreign to the body, and also known as 'endocrine disrupting chemicals' or EDC's.
Either man-made or plant-derived (phyto-estrogens like soy), these hormones mimic the body's natural hormones, in this case estrogen. They can have detrimental effects on the endocrine system, particularly on the breasts and ovaries, on neurological and reproductive development, as well as immune system functioning (source) and are particularly dangerous for rapidly developing girls and young women.
They bind to and block hormone receptors made for naturally occurring estrogen and disrupt the complexe and delicate endocrine system's messaging capacities. (source)
There are many sources of man-made xenoestrogens out there, and human exposure can occur via many different sources: inhalation of air, including synthetic, toxic pthalate laden perfumes and fragrance, dust, ingestion of food and water and skin exposure via toxins in personal care products, plastic packaging and lots more (source).
Limiting topical exposure to EDC's, specifically xenoestrogens is important. Choosing non-toxic skincare products, can help limit your exposure to xenoestrogens through topical application of skincare and personal care products. Explore Kavana's range of non-toxic, hormone harmonizing, personal care products for each phase of your cycle.
Don't forget to see the infographic at the end of this post for more detailed skincare recommendations.
PROGESTERONE at a glance:
- WHO: Included in group of steroid hormones, called 'Progestogens'
- WHAT: Progesterone dominates the Luteal Phase, the second half of the menstrual cycle, weeks 3 & 4, days 17-28.
- WHERE: Produced and secreted by the 'Corpus Luteum' ('CL')- the remnants of the ovarian follicle that enclose the developing egg, in the ovary.
- WHEN: Produced in anticipation of pregnancy.
- WHY: Preps and primes the body for pregnancy.
- HOW: Stimulates the growth of breast tissue and development (source).
- Can cause breast swelling, pain and tenderness ('mastagia') during PMS/ the luteal phase (source).
- Has sedating, anxiety busting, calming actions (source)
- As estrogen and testosterone both decrease and progesterone rises in the second half of the menstrual cycle, skin can feel a bit less springy or elastic.
- Helps establish the placenta.
If pregnancy does not occur, the CL breaks down and new menstrual cycle begins as progesterone decreases. If pregnancy does occur, progesterone is essential in supporting the mother and baby throughout gestation. (source)
TESTOSTERONE at a glance:
- WHO: Testosterone is an androgen hormone.
- WHAT: Essential to the development of eggs in the ovaries, androgens play an important role in ovarian follicle development and estrogen production. (source)
- WHERE: Testosterone is produced by the adrenal cortex, the testes (in those assigned male at birth), and the ovaries (in those assigned female at birth). (source)
- WHEN: Peaks before ovulation along with estrogen.
- WHY: Plays a major role in increasing the libido (sex drive)
- HOW: Boosts skin's natural oils (sebum) and giving skin a natural, temporary glow before ovulation.
- Crucial for building muscles and strong bones.
TOO MUCH TESTOSTERONE:
Too much testosterone can be associated with depression, fatigue, low libido and cognitive difficulties.(source) Too much /high a level of testosterone, can signal fertility issues in cis-het men and women.
Excess androgens in women is connected to PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), which can lead to irregular or absent menstrual cycles, acne, as well as excess hair growth (hirsutism), oily skin. (source) Even more severely, excess testosterone in women, is connected to ovarian and adrenal cancers and congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) which can lead to infertility. (source)
NOT ENOUGH TESTOSTERONE:
Low testosterone in women is usually seen during menopause though it can occur at any age. Testosterone levels decrease along with estrogen and other reproductive hormones, leaving skin with less elasticity, bounce and oil (sebum).
SKINCYCLING: (SKIPPERS, SKIP TO HERE!)
How to care for your skin with Kavana throughout your cycle.
If you skipped to here, congratulations! Print this handy-dandy infographic which gives you a brief idea of how your skin feels, depending on the phase of the cycle you're in and which hormones are in charge.
Scroll down for some suggestions for how to support your skin using Kavana's skincare, therapeutic perfume and bodycare products, in harmony with your hormones. Check it out!
MENSTRUATION & MASSAGE (DAYS 1-5)
Skin looks how you feel during the menstrual phase: dull, tired, lackluster and dry. Moisturizing is the priority! Massage and therapeutic scent can also help.
Body Bliss: Kavana's bestselling Phyto-5 Afterglow Body Oil is wonderful to massage into lower back and belly during this phase. Geranium and rosemary essential oils help uplift your senses and soothe your spirit.
Muscle Massage: Kavana's Phyto-5 Muscle Balm is a favourite for tired muscles. Ask someone to massage it into your neck and shoulders. Touch can help boost oxytocin, our pleasure hormone, which can also helps counter depressing period pain.
Stop and Smell the Roses: Studies have shown that the scent of roses can help calm women's parasympathetic nervous systems. (source) Kavana's Rose perfume Poem combines rose with grapefruit and orange, amongst other essential oils, because together, these smell most like yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit that also helps calm the heart rate after only a ten minute inhalation. (Source) Treat yourself to this perfect little gift of calm. *
FOLLICULAR PHASE: YOU GLOW GIRL! (Days 6-14)
As plumping hormone estrogen starts to rise again increasing in preparation for fertilization, collagen and elastin start to replenish and a glow returns to the skin. Supporting cell turnover is key in this phase.
Foaming Face Polish: Boost your skin's natural cell turnover and accelerate the return of glowing skin with Kavana's Foaming Face Polish. Wet hands and add a dime sized amount of face polish. Once it foam's up (just add more water if needed), massage into face with circular motions, to gently buff away dead skin cells. Look polished, never overdone!
The Look of Love: Eyeing the one you love as estrogen rises? Kavana's Phyto-5 Luminous Eye Cream will get them to notice you! Deeply hydrate around the delicate eye area with this rich cream, while imparting a glow, thanks to light-reflecting micas and soft, pale banana coloured pigment that help counter the look of dark circles.
OVULATION: STAY COOL! (Days 14-16)
As estrogen peaks, basal body temperature rises and skin glows and can feel hot to the touch. Skin is glowing, radiant and plump looking in this phase. Stay cool while you glow girl!
Coming in Hot! Kavana's bestselling Rose Glow Mist refreshes your skin as your basal body temperature can rise by a whole degree in this phase, making skin hot to the touch. You can keep this in the fridge for an even cooler spritz in the summer!
Soak it up: Pamper yourself with Kavana's Sunday Salt Soak. Add our citrus scented bath salts, including Dead Sea, Epsom, Himalayan pink and an herbal blend, including citrus essential oils and orange peel, to your bath to energize and invigorate you during this phase.
LUTEAL PHASE: CLEANSE & PURIFY (Days 17-28)
Progesterone takes over as estrogen plummets. Testosterone rises and falls, affecting skin's sebum and hormonal acne. Skin is sluggish, oily, acne, inflammation and blackhead prone. Joy!
Deep Clean & Prevent Breakouts: Tighten pores and purify excess oil by combining Kavana Phyto-5 Purifying Cream Cleanser with Kavana's Foaming Face Polish for a 2-in-1 exfoliating and cleansing ritual. Leave this blend on skin for 15-20 minutes and let all the clays work their purifying magic like a mask, to deep clean the skin. Remove with warm-cool water to tighten pores and feel so fresh and so clean.
Stimulate and soothe: Feeling exhausted and fatigued? PMS exhaustion accompanies progesterone's rise in this phase. This sedating hormone enhances nesting and cocooning feelings, as energy dips. Stimulate your spirits gently with Kavana Grapefruit Perfume Poem. The stimulating grapefruit and sedating lavender essential oils (source), amongst others in this blend, are perfect for PMS. Lavender's well documented, soothing effects on the nervous system (source), make this an excellent blend for this time of the month.*
Cooling support: PMS headaches? Apply Kavana Peppermint Perfume Poem therapeutic roll-on perfume to the back of the neck, shoulders, collar bone and temples to support you.*
PMS Cramps: Power duo of essential oils, Marjoram and Plai in Kavana's Marjoram Perfume Poem combined with Linden Blossom Absolute and orange, help uplift the spirit and soothe PMS cramps. Plai, a Thai ginger, has been used in Traditional Thai massage for many years to combat joint pain and inflammation. (source). Marjoram is proven to significantly reduce PMS camps pain (source) and is an excellent calming and fortifying herbal scent. (source) Apply this blend across the abdomen and lower back as needed to help relieve cramping.*
None of the information herein is intended to treat, diagnose or prevent or cure any diseases. All the information provided on this website, is for educational, informational purposes only, as a self-help tool for your own use.
As with any products, please be cautious for possible skin sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children. If you are pregnant, nursing, or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician. Avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas.