Hormones significantly influence the overall health of our skin. Regardless if you're in your teens or post-menopausal, hormone health is a relevant topic. From acne to rosacea to improving skin elasticity and anti-aging, the overall health of your hormones need to be considered.
Get your hormones tested
I highly recommend that, regardless of your age, that you get your hormones tested. Many people aren't made aware of the extensive types of hormone testing that's available, above and beyond conventional blood work. My particularly favourite (and most comprehensive) way to test hormones is through urine steroids. There are a couple lab facilities in North America that offer this type of testing, ranging from $250-400. This urine steroids test gives an in-depth look at your urinary hormone levels and their metabolites. It's a great way to check in to see where your hormones are being shunted to and in what ratios.
Optimal gut health
Your liver is incredibly important when it comes to optimal hormone health. The liver is where hormone "detox" happens, where active hormones are conjugated and eliminated from the body. This process is naturally happening in our bodies all day long but when the liver becomes burdened this process doesn't happen as efficiency as it should and we end up with hormones circulating in our bodies instead of being properly eliminated. So what can be done?
Simple measures like consuming bitter foods or using bitters prior to a meal can help stimulate the liver. Bitters also stimulate a "feed forward" mechanism in our bodies which can help with bile flow - another component of digestion that's incredibly important for proper hormone elimination. Lemon water is also great for encouraging proper liver function - starting your day with a glass of warm lemon water is incredibly easy and harmless to do.
Fibre intake is also important. Many of us doesn't consume enough fibre in the day which can encourage the recycling of hormones from the gut and back into the blood stream. Fibre helps bind hormones that have been eliminated by the liver into the gut, instead of allowing them to continuously cycle through. We should be aiming for about 30g of fibre daily, where many of us are only getting about half this. A simple and delicious way to get more fibre into your diet is with chia seed pudding. One serving of this pudding provides about 15g of soluble and insoluble fibre!
Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup unsweetened cashew milk
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Blend in blender (I recommend a Blendtec) on high for 60 seconds or until a pudding-like consistency is achieved. Chill for 30 minutes. Enjoy!
And once again...stress management
I talk about stress management a lot for a very real reason - chronic stress can cause a laundry list of different complaints. When we're constantly exposed to cortisol, it causes shunting of precursor hormones into the generation of this stress hormones, as opposed to the creation of progesterone, a calming sex hormone. Over time, we create more cortisol without adequate amounts of calming progesterone, generating a feedback loop of chaos. Lack of progesterone and an abundance of cortisol can lead to skin changes like acne, dull skin and advanced aging of the skin.