3 Ways Itchy Skin Can Be Caused by Hormone Imbalance
Updated: Apr 13
Itchy skin is difficult to deal with. If you are like most people, you probably try to find a quick fix just to ease the discomfort. Besides just being uncomfortable, itchy skin oftentimes ends up looking red and irritated and can even lead to wounds, scars, and infections if itched too much.
Hormone imbalances caused by daily problems could be behind your constant itch. Inflammation is often the cause of itchiness, and it’s important to target what is going on in your body that is causing your irritation.
Hormone Imbalances and Your Skin
Your hormones are chemical substances that are regulated by your endocrine system. They control the growth, reproduction, and health of the body. They require a delicate balance to keep us feeling our best. When they are out of balance, our bodies tend to suffer whether that is emotionally, mentally, or physically – like having itchy, irritated skin.
If you are someone who suffers from itchy skin, here are 3 ways your itch may be caused by a hormone imbalance:
1. Poor sleep: Sleep deprivation and quality of sleep can negatively affect your hormones and in turn, your skin. Chronic sleep deprivation will cause an imbalance in your hormones leading to imbalances in the skin. Healthy sleep habits result in normal patterns of hormonal secretions. Cortisol, your stress and immune regulating hormone, should peak in the morning and lower throughout the day. At the end of the day, your body should secrete melatonin, signaling the body to slow down and make you sleepy.
Studies have shown that sleep informs your inflammatory signaling. Lack of sleep can damage our skin’s microbiome, leading to chronic inflammation during the day that shows up as skin disorders and constant irritation such as itching.
2. Stress: Chronic stress can do a number on your endocrine system and throw your hormones out of balance. Eventually, psychological stress can show up on your skin as a result of this hormonal disruption. Cortisol is the main hormone responsible for protecting your body in times of stress. Unfortunately, overexposure to cortisol over time can lead to a myriad of health problems including the breaking down of certain tissues, including collagen in the skin. This breaking down disrupts the formation of new skin, causing your skin to become weaker and more susceptible to skin issues.
Inflammation is how the body protects itself against harmful, stressful stimuli. Inflammation is necessary to kill invaders and to heal the body, but it can also be the cause of skin problems like itchiness, as well as autoimmune disorders.
3. Your monthly cycle: Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone during our monthly cycle can show up in many bodily changes including the skin. Estrogen is related to the increased barrier function and better wound healing while the peak in progesterone (right before your period) is correlated with many aggravated skin conditions including atopic eczema and irritant dermatitis. Your skin barrier is weaker and more permeable during this peak in progesterone which makes the skin more susceptible to environmental allergens and general irritants. Hormonal variations can be to blame for many exacerbated skin conditions, especially itchy, irritated skin. Paying attention to hormonal shifts in your body may help you find what is behind your itchy skin.
Although dealing with chronically itchy skin may seem hopeless, there are natural ways to cope!
Holistic estheticians can work with you to find solutions for your itchy skin in the treatment room as well as at home.
By Amanda Wettstein, Esthetician