The insides control the outside
Whether we realize it or not, hormones affect our beauty treatments throughout our lives. See how these body regulating chemicals control our skin, hair and body — and how to deal with them effectively.
Remember your teen years when your skin had breakouts? You can thank androgens, a group of male hormones (both men and women have androgens) for the flare-ups. These hormones cause a surplus of oil which in turn causes acne. As we get older, many women experience acne in their 30s and 40s — even if they did not have it as a teenager. The unwelcome bumps are caused by estrogen levels (known as the female hormone) declining faster than oil-producing testosterone (one of the androgens). If you find yourself with mid-life breakouts, try a skin-care product that will fight both acne and wrinkles, such as Neutrogena's Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Clear Skin Cream (Walgreens, $13).
We all love the glow of pregnancy, but for many women, the over-abundance of the hormone estrogen stimulates the production of melanin, the chemical that gives our skin its pigment. The excess melanin can cause melasma, which are brown patches of skin around the face. Birth control pills can have a similar effect, so women can experience melasma at any time in their lives if they're on an estrogen-based pill. To guard against the excess pigmentation, remember to wear sunscreen every day and use a skin care regimen designed to control hyperpigmentation, such as Demalogica's Chroma White TRx Brightening Regimen (dermstore.com, $188).
Women approaching menopause will find that their skin feels and looks drier than ever. This crocodile-like skin can be attributed to falling estrogen levels. Estrogen helps with hyaluronic acid production, so less estrogen means less hyaluronic acid. To ward off extreme dryness, use a pure hyaluronic acid serum daily, such as Derma e Hyaluronic Acid Rehydrating Serum (drugstore.com, $30).
Saggy and baggy
As women approach and enter menopause, testosterone levels drop dramatically, resulting in dehydrated and sagging skin. To combat these skin ailments, try using a skin care regimen targeted at women approaching, and during, menopause, such as Murad's Resurgence (murad.com, $40). These products help increase skin's firmness, suppleness and help combat wrinkles.