How Do Hormones Affect the Skin in Your 20s?

Intrinsic aging is determined by heredity, your genetic programming that controls the hormones responsible for aging. 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 is more prevalent because of increased progesterone levels affecting water retention…

De-stress and get plenty of sleep.
 Many in their 20s are busy studying, working and socializing, and getting 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, puss-filled papules than simple whiteheads or blackheads.

Read: Five Ways to Reduce Oil Production in Skin

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 doctor 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. Some examples of FDA-approved birth control pills that seem to lessen breakouts include Ortho Tri Cyclen, Yaz, and Estrostep but your doctor can help to determine the best course of action.

Go easy on anti-aging 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 regimen. Many anti-aging 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.

Which products are right for your skin? See our nine skin types and get products recommended.

Load up on topical skin hydrators.
 To combat dehydration in the skin, introduce serums like Skin Drink which uses the humectant Hyaluronic Acid which holds up to 1000 times its weight in water. Simply put, your skin gets really hydrated, skin cells get plump and moist and the skin has a fresh glow. Skin Correcting Serum is also a hydrating way to address breakouts.

Use a gentle, antibacterial cleanser to prevent monthly hormonal breakouts. Since the chemistry of your skin changes during your menstrual cycle, switching up your cleanser (not your entire routine) can help head off a breakout. A perfect acne-fighting cleanser is AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel which utilizes salicylic acid and gentle micro beads to deep clean the pores. It was actually awarded “Best Cleanser for Oily Problem Skin” by Allure Magazine. Since it’s sulfate-free, it won’t dehydrate or irritate the skin. Start about three days before your period hits, as that’s when hormones begin to change, and continue through the week. When you’re not experiencing breakouts, Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel is excellent to deep clean the pores, brighten up tired skin and leave the skin feeling refreshed.

Read: Avoid Cleansers Containing the Ingredient Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Use Anti-Cyst Treatment to prevent monthly cystic breakouts. In addition to changing up your cleanser prior to your period, if your breakouts tend to be more cystic (the stubborn, sore “underground” blemishes that develop deep within the skin), apply Anti Cyst Treatment to the area most prone to getting these three days before your period and continue through the week. Even regular pustular breakouts can be prevented using this too.

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.

Which products are right for your skin? See our nine skin types and get products recommended.

Read how hormones affect the skin in your teens, 30s, 40s and 50s.

For more expert skin advice, check out Skin Source–the A-Z guide on all things skin. Also sign up here for our skin tip e-newsletter, follow Renée Rouleau on Twitter and like our Facebook page. You’ll be your own skin care expert in no time!

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