Got the winter blues, new year resolutions weighing hard on your body? You're not alone! When combined, the colder temperatures and fewer daylight hours interfere with body's circadian rhythm, our natural internal “clock” that regulates everything from energy and sleeping patterns to mood and appetite, and hormones too.
Skin is also a reflection of these changes, and hormonal imbalances can increase skin’s exposure to environmental damage and dryness, acne and inflammation.
For example, when oestrogen hormones dip so do hyaluronic acid and collagen in skin, leading to fine lines, dryness and loss of elasticity. Equally, when cortisol is in overdrive, skin produces more sebum, which results in acne, but with low cortisol we see slower healing.
At Saint Iris we believe hormonal imbalances play a key part in skin’s wellness, its appearance and longevity, yet too many skincare products are formulated to be narrowly targeted, meaning the effects of ongoing hormonal fluctuations are left untreated.
Our modern lifestyles call for a holistic approach, and at Saint Iris we favour Adriatic’s wellbeing practices to reconnect to our circadian rhythm and live fully!
Your skin cells function to their own circadian rhythm, and daytime signals the highest sebum production (it peaks at midday), highest skin thickness and requires most protection. Night time is the period when our blood flow and internal temperature are at their peak, skin loses most moisture, cell renewal and barrier permeability are increased. When these are in balance, skin feels smooth, supple and looks radiant, and just knowing that there are easy ways to restore hormonal skin and circadian imbalances can take the stress out of daily routine.Dry Skin
One of the most common signs of internal hormone imbalances are loss of moisture, dryness, flaky and rough texture, and rosy skin on face or body. Key to treat dry skin are hydrophilic and lipophilic formulas. What are they? Hydrophilic molecules penetrate deeply to function properly, whereas lipophilic molecules remain in the upper skin layers. For example, HA (hyaluronic acid) is a molecule that exists within skin and being hydrophilic means it holds water to skin. Lipophilic or 'lipid-loving' molecules are attracted to lipids (skin's natural fats), which aid the skin’s natural repair process.
For example, our Serenity Salve is formulated with a mix of both HA and fatty acids for skin affinity and increased skin penetration, so to give skin what it needs in the events of seasonal hormone fluctuations.
One area that has seen plenty of misconceptions is adult acne, and a common one is that adult acne is caused by not consuming skin-targeted supplements, not using acne-specific skincare products or not washing your face enough. Above all, it’s mostly caused by hormonal changes.
When it comes to treating adult acne, less is more, over-washing or over-scrubbing can lead to dryness and irritation in the outer skin layer.
Serenity Salve boasts a non comedogenic formula (to avoid any pore clogging), and gently exfoliates and buffs away dead skin cells with salicylic acid and prebiotic enzymes.
Pro-tips for skin balancing routine:
- Press and dab products into skin to stop pores from clogging.
- Work from thinner product to heavier formulas (and allow for each layer to sink in first).
The environmental stress such as sun damage, and busy and stressful lifestyles can lead to fine lines, loss of elasticity and discolouration. Look for oils rich in vitamin E, as they can penetrate deep into the skin, trapping water and other moisturising goodness in, while keeping debris and pollution out. Our Merry-Berry Plump is packed with vitamins A + C + E, and suits all skin types - including those that tend to be on the shiny side.
On days when hormones feel out of balance and skin needs extra protection, apply Merry-Berry Plump on slightly damp skin (or after Serenity Salve) for its high concentration of antioxidants, brightening Ellagic Acid (learn more about acids here) and polyphenols to protect cells against environmental stressors, and provide a gentle way to treat sun spots and fine lines.
The avid users of strong actives (e.g. retinol, AHAs, glycolic acid) may experience a compromised skin’s barrier, and sensitised or irritated skin. This is particularly the case during extreme weather periods and when our hormones are harder to balance, for example during menopause and PMT.
After washing your face and body at night, dab a tiny bit of Merry-Berry Plump on affected areas or all over for its emollients (to soften and smooth), fatty acids (to keep the skin’s natural barrier toned and firm), β-carotene (to restores suppleness), non-greasy, and beautifully fragranced properties.
Diet: strict calorie control diets and highly processed food (typically high with sugar) tend to create spikes in hormones which can lead to stress, changes in skin’s texture and breakouts. Instead, a balanced mix of nourishing proteins (particularly for breakfast), leafy green vegetables, red berries and healthy fats such as oily fish, avocados and nuts - all found in Mediterranean diet - help to curb cravings and keep hormones in check.
Sleep: swap caffeine and alcohol with calming herbal drinks to relax body and mind in the evenings. For anyone going through peri/menopause, HRT and certain supplements (magnesium, zinc, evening primrose oil, St John’s wort, and Omega-7 are some of our founder’s favourites) help to stabilise fluctuations in hormones, leading to improved sleep patterns. (Consult your GP for any HRT and supplement advice to suit your health and personal preferences.)
Active life: seek moments of quiet in nature or stimulating group activities (even board games) for year-round mood, mind and happy hormone boosters. Time away from screens, or physical activity releases serotonin, which promotes a good night’s rest, improves digestion, and skin’s wellness. Try not to stress about what type of activity and opt for anything that makes you happy, after all variety is the spice of life!
Journal: track your hormones and internal circadian rhythm, jot down days when your emotions are unusually high, sleep patterns disturbed (be it voluntarily or not), or life feels out of balance. Equally, acknowledge any positive events or new habits, as expressing gratitude with a daily affirmation can be extremely impactful to your wellbeing, and your inner circadian rhythm.