When your skin breaks out and you’re feeling moodier than normal, you tend to say that you’re “hormonal.” But we found out that it’s actually the opposite, when you feel this way your body is really lacking hormones, particularly estrogen. In fact, estrogen plays a key role in the health and look of your skin and body.
Louisville, KY, gynecologist and co-founder of VENeffect Rebecca Booth, MD, says, “Estrogen is actually the hormone that’s responsible for all of the elements of the feminine aesthetic as we know it. It inspires the curve in the waist, the health of the hair, it suppresses body hair and it stimulates collagen, elastin and keratin in the skin.” Think of the image in the Boticelli painting “Birth of Venus” with her long flowing hair, beautiful skin and perfectly proportioned body. It’s estrogen that makes this possible.
Dr. Booth says that women experience what she calls a “Venus Week” where they feel the most attractive. When a woman comes into those days in her cycle, the estrogen is flowing…revealing better skin and less bloating. Because estrogen also increases our metabolism, it helps us achieve that smaller waist to hip ratio, like the sexy curve on the classic Coca-Cola bottle, that makes us feel more attractive.
As for acne, estrogen helps reduce pore size and gives the skin a porcelain appearance. It also prevents the overproduction of sebum, a property of testosterone, which can be comedogenic. A reason why many experience clearer skin while on the birth control pill is because of the estrogen it contains and its ability to even out the hormone fluctuations throughout the month.
“As we age and pass thru menopause, veins become more visible on our hands and arms due to thinning of the dermis which is related to decreased estrogen levels,” says Duxbury, MA, facial plastic surgeon Christine Hamori, MD. A good way to increase your estrogen levels is through a diet loaded with plant sources of phytoestrogen that can be found in nuts and seeds, and berries rich in flavonoids like raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and pomegranates. It’s also good to eat sources of plant protein such as those in soy products like soymilk, tofu and edamame.
You can also apply it topically to your skin. Dr. Booth says there are estrogen receptors in the dermis and epidermis of our skin that are activated by the molecules of estrogen and phytoestrogen. Once activated, the receptors turn on the cellular machinery to produce more elastin, collagen fibers, hyaluronic acid and keratin. This increases the plumpness of the skin and water content of the skin which gives skin that subtle glow.
For the summertime, Dr. Booth recommends VENeffect Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 15 ($145) because it contains a significant level of phytoestrogen in addition to SPF protection.