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How Do Hormones Affect the Skin in Your 20s?

Intrinsic ageing is determined by heredity, your genetic programming that controls the hormones responsible for ageing. The skin will certainly behave differently under the influences of these hormones, but how do they affect skin from ages 20-30? Particularly in the early to mid-twenties (ages 22-25 in particular), hormones from the teenage years should start to level out and breakouts should be less. However, fluctuations in hormone levels right before and during a woman’s period can stimulate sebaceous glands to produce excess oil. Also, since many in their twenties take birth control pills, this may have an impact with breakouts since it can affect your natural hormonal balance. But aside from hormonal breakouts, the skin is generally much calmer, but dehydration (Trans epidermal water loss) is more prevalent because of increased progesterone levels affecting water retention. Drinking Nettle and Dandelion tea (of which I’m addicted!) can help with fluid retention and Nettle is a great blood builder…who knew!

De-stress and get plenty of sleep. Many of our clients in their 20s are busy studying, working and socialising, and getting the much needed 7-8 hours of sleep a night isn’t always happening. Did you know that stress and therefore lack of sleep can negatively affect the skin? Stress not only affects acne flare-up, in general it worsens the overall skin condition. It induces the adrenal glands into overproduction of cortisol, a steroid, which in turn makes sebaceous glands produce more oil and make skin extra oily. This the reason why in stressful periods, people experiencing an increase in acne get more inflamed, angry, puss-filled papules than simple whiteheads or blackheads.

Consult with your doctor to experiment with different types of birth control pills. If you are someone who takes birth control pills, particularly for a long period of time, I would greatly recommend checking with your GP to possibly experiment with different types. Many of my clients have found that making a change can have a positive influence in lessening acne and occasional hormonal breakouts. Don’t think that you can’t take control and explore different options. Im also a big advocate of using herbal tinctures to support the body when you are taking the pill such as Agnus castas and milk thistle.

Go easy on anti-ageing products. There is much awareness about preventative skin aging and many young women are very conscious about putting in the effort earlier than later. While I certainly applaud and encourage this effort, it’s important not to overdo it in a home care regime. Many anti-ageing products have potent active ingredients in them that increase the metabolism of the cells (such as certain vitamin combinations and peptides) and may be too active for a younger complexion. Since skin in the 20s is already metabolically active, the stimulation of anti-aging products could possibly increase breakouts. Especially in the 20s, it’s very important to use products for your skin type.

Load up on topical skin hydrators. To combat dehydration in the skin, intriduce ingredients such as the humectant Hyaluronic Acid which holds up to 1000 times its weight in water. Simply put, your skin gets a great drink and the skin cells get plump and moist and the skin has a fresh glow.

Did you know the chemistry of your skin changes during your menstrual cycle due to a spike in progesterone? Think about changing your cleanser during this time to one that contains AHA’s/BHA’s which utilises Lactic and salicylic acid to deep clean the pores. If you start about three days before your period hits, as that’s when hormones begin to change, and continue through the week you can head off any nasty outbreaks.

Limit sugary carbohydrate foods in your diet. Another key aspect of preventing hormonal breakouts may have to do with what you put in your mouth. Those sugary carbs so many young women crave during their period may be the very thing causing the breakout to occur. They can cause a prolonged increase in insulin levels and increase acne. So try cutting back on the carbs, especially prior to your period, and you may find you’ll experience less monthly blemishes.

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Information courtesy of Louise Thomas-Minns Celebrity Skin Therapist & founder of

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