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Reflections: Take That, Hormones

Contact Author Katie Anderson
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In the depths of the human body, there are tiny chemical messengers that are secreted by endocrine glands into the bloodstream highway, where they are carried to organs and tissues to exert their function.

Of course, the messengers I am talking about are hormones. While their functions in the human body are important, their fluctuations up and down during different periods of life (pun intended) can wreak havoc on not only emotions but also organ functionality, including the body’s biggest organ—the skin.

Katie Anderson

This issue of Skin Inc. explores the various stages of life where hormones fluctuate, and the skin might take a beating. Although many associate acne with surging teenage hormones, the condition can occur at many different life stages due to fluctuating hormones, lifestyle, skin type, genetics and stress. Acne afficionado Mark Lees, Ph.D., provides estheticians with the 18 tools they need to combat acne, which he calls the “acne arsenal.” He details not only beneficial ingredients but also important equipment and treatment methodologies. He emphasizes that acne differs by individual, so the tools used fluctuates greatly on a case-by-case basis.

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Another stage in life where hormones increase with purpose is during pregnancy, where many women see concerning skin changes. There are women who have beautiful, happy pregnancies with no hormonal moodswings and lovely, glowing skin, no stretch marks and zero melasma. They will probably visit your spa for a pregnancy massage. For other pregnant clients or new mothers, with concerns about new changes to their skin, Beth Bialko has some recommended ingredients and treatments. Bialko also notes which treatments should be avoided, such as harsh abrasives and actives that might be systemically absorbed.

While estrogen and progesterone are up during a pregnancy, estrogen production is decreased gradually during perimenopause, as the ovaries begin releasing less eggs. In addition to hot flashes, moodiness and sleep disorders, women transitioning to menopause could also experience extreme dryness, hyperpigmentation, acne, thin skin, sensitivity and enlarged pores. Lydia Sarfati discusses how the esthetician can safely and effectively treat the perimenopausal woman for these issues, noting particularly effective ingredients.

Hormones might do great things for the body, but I think we can all agree that they do not do great things for the skin. While there is nothing we can do about these tiny messengers, we can be our most knowledgeable about treating the skin conditions they produce. Now, if you could, please pass the Doritos.

Yours in education,

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Katie Anderson, kanderson@allured.com

Managing Editor

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