Besides the obvious (the pill, going through puberty, stress etc) have you ever thought about what else is disrupting your hormones on a daily basis?
Preservatives? Fragrance? Parabens? Chemical Sunscreens?
These ingredients are found in basically all skincare products (besides MOTHER of course!). They are known endocrine disruptors which essentially means they may modify or ‘switch’ on or off our hormones, which interferes with the normal functions of tissues and organs. Which basically means HELLO crazy unbalanced hormones! Short for - Crazy Girlfriend!
Meet Ema Taylor, a Qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist and Certified Fertility Awareness Educator. She is an expert in this space and is on a mission to help us find harmony with our hormones so we can live a more empowered life (and a less emotional one too!)
What's the link between our hormones and our skin health?
A healthy balance of oestrogen and progesterone are important for beautiful skin. Oestrogen supports collagen production, hydration, the skin's barrier function and encourages wound healing, whereas progesterone supports skin elasticity.
An excess in androgens or insulin can cause increased sebum production, which can result in acne breakouts.
If your thyroid hormones are imbalanced you may experience dry, coarse or flakey skin.
Your 5 favourite foods to support our hormones?
- Sardines - rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation in the body, perfect for reducing period pain and acne.
- Oysters and pepitas - rich in zinc, which is required for healthy oocyte development and ovulation. Zinc is an anti-inflammatory and has been shown to help reduce period pain.
- Green leafy vegetables + cacao - magnesium rich foods, which are wonderful for calming the nervous system and supporting hormone production
- Brassica vegetables - to support a health and function of your liver. A compromised liver can lead to recycling of excess hormones and toxins around the body, causing PMS, period pain and imbalanced hormones
- Seaweed - rich source of iodine, which many of us in Australia are deficient in. We need this micronutrient for a healthy functioning thyroid and ovulation.
What are endocrine disrupting chemicals and what effect do they have on our hormones?
Endocrine disrupting chemicals are found in various materials such as pesticides, metals, additives or contaminants in food and personal care products and even some toys. They may modify or ‘switch’ on or off hormonal messengers, which interferes with the normal functions of tissues and organs.
To reduce exposure to these, avoid buying food or water in plastic, buy a stainless steel drink bottle and never heat food in plastic. It’s a good idea to switch from toxic cleaning and cosmetic products to organic and chemical free alternatives. A good rule of thumb is if you cannot pronounce an ingredient it is best to steer clear from it.
Choosing organic or spray-free fruit and vegetables, buying hormone-free meat and avoiding processed foods as much as possible also helps reduce your toxic load.
What endocrine disrupting ingredients in our skincare should we be looking out for?
There really are so many ingredients that are added to skincare that are not great unfortunately. Steer clear of parabens, phthalates, benzyl alcohol and fragrances.
My best advice is to opt for certified organic as much as possible and choose personal care products from reputable companies that you can trust are using good quality, non harmful ingredients.
Any tips on balancing our hormones and keeping them healthy?
- Eat a predominantly anti inflammatory diet and where possible organic
- Support your liver and digestive system
- Get 8 hours of sleep a night or as close to as you can (hello mummas! I know it can be hard)
- Manage your stress levels
- Move your body in a way that serves you - balancing low intensity with more strength training
- Tune in with your cycle and get to know your body's wisdom. A great way to do this is by learning the fertility awareness method
- Reduce chemical and toxin exposure
What personal care items would you highly recommend going clean with first?
Ones that you use on the largest part of your body or most regularly. Such as body moisturizer, body washes, deodorant, toothpaste, cleansers, makeup and suncream.
How do you personally keep your skin glowing from the inside out?
2.5L of filtered water a day + a colourful, whole foods diet rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants.