Rosacea is renowned as a condition with multiple, very individual triggers, from sunlight to spicy food and hot drinks. Here we look at the part the hormone oestrogen can play in flare-ups of rosacea.
What connection is there between rosacea and hormonal fluctuations? Well, while low oestrogen doesn’t cause rosacea, which is a chronic condition that people either are or are not prone to, there is an association between hormone levels and a worsening of the condition.
This relationship between rosacea and oestrogen isn’t as direct an effect as other triggers for rosacea, such as a cup of hot coffee, or a bright sunny day, but it’s still significant. It’s especially important for rosacea’s core demographic, women between 30 and 60, who are also the demographic who are likely to be going through perimenopause.
How does oestrogen affect rosacea-prone skin?
Oestrogen has several effects on the skin: as a hormone that plays an important part in the production of collagen and oil, it normally helps keep skin healthy and supple. As levels start to drop in perimenopause, skin can become thinner, drier and more sensitive.
This newly sensitive skin is more easily irritated by the usual rosacea triggers, such as perfumes or synthetic preservatives in cosmetics or toiletries. Flares can become more severe and more frequent as oestrogen drops in the perimenopausal years.
Another indirect effect that dropping oestrogen levels can have on skin is hot flushes. Hot flushes are caused by low levels of norepinephrine, a chemical which regulates internal temperature, and which is itself affected by low levels of oestrogen.
Without sufficient norepinephrine to properly regulate how hot it is, the body’s temperature can increase dramatically, creating the infamous and uncomfortable waves of heat. These sudden and intense rises in temperature particularly affect the face, which feels hot and bothered. As heat (and botheredness!) is a trigger for rosacea, a hot flush can exacerbate or set off a flare.
The third significant way in which the perimenopausal years can affect rosacea is with heightened stress: low mood, stress and anxiety contribute to heightened inflammatory chemicals in the body, and can worsen skin conditions like rosacea, eczema or psoriasis. The perimenopausal years, with their fluctuating hormones, are often associated with increased stress and anxiety, although the exact mechanism by which low oestrogen leads to depression is unclear.
What can you do to help your rosacea?
Looking after your skin becomes particularly important when oestrogen levels drop, whether temporarily during menstrual cycles, or permanently with menopause.
The key to caring for sensitive or easily triggered rosacea-prone skin is to follow these five steps:
- avoid irritants, whether in skincare products, your diet or the environment
- keep skin moisturised with protective emollients
- give your skin the nutrients it needs to repair and regenerate
- find stress management strategies that work for you
- feed yourself food that will support your health & wellbeing, rich in pre & probiotics, omega fats, and essential vitamins and minerals.
Balmonds products are exceptionally rich in skin-nourishing nutrients, antioxidants, and natural anti-inflammatories, and are also free from the perfumes and harsh synthetic ingredients that can cause problems for rosacea sufferers and can help support the healthy functioning of the skin.
For more information about rosacea and how to manage it, see our blog on Rosacea Awareness.
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If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
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