If your skin is dry, dull or often flushed or breaking out, it might be down to your hormones - which means skincare will only do so much to improve matters. Bring your skin back to its healthy best with facialist and author Abigail James' top tips for rebalancing your hormones...
1. Reduce toxins in the form of pesticides and certain plastics and household chemicals. Bisphenol is a chemical commonly used in water bottles and food packaging. Phthalates and PVC are found in some cosmetics and hair products.
2. Eat organic where possible. I realise that it costs more, but if your body is showing signs of toxic overload it might be an investment worth trying.
3. Cook food at home rather than grabbing pre-packed foods on the go.
4. Increase your intake of magnesium . The best way to get magnesium is topically, so try an oil or a spray.
5. Use a water filter.
6. Support your liver. As a key elimination organ responsible for metabolising hormones, it’s crucial that you keep it healthy. Do this by eating foods such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips and leafy greens.
7. Cut down on coffee. It tends to send hormones haywire, so switch to herbal teas. If you still crave the taste of coffee, try decaffeinated or roasted dandelion tea. And if you must have a coffee, drink it before 3pm as it will reduce its the impact. Always follow it with a large glass of water to help flush it through your body.
8. Consider cutting out alcohol. It puts extra stress on your liver and imbalances blood-sugar levels. Try not to drink on an empty stomach and match each glass of wine with one of water. Taking a vitamin B supplement the morning after will help your liver’s detoxification process. Chlorella is also a fantastic supplement to counterbalance the harmful effects of alcohol.
9. Avoid bad fats. Sunflower, corn and peanut oils are often included within processed foods. These are what I call ‘bad fats’. Foods high in omega-3 fats are ‘good fats’ that fight inflammation. These can be found in flax and chia seeds, cod liver oil and sea buckthorn.
10. Be wary of phytoestrogens. These are naturally occurring substances in plants that have hormone-like activity, found in foods such as soy . While some soy is good for us, too much can prevent the body from processing iodine, which is stored in the thyroid gland, breasts and ovaries and responsible for cell metabolism and supporting hormone balance.
11. Don’t exercise to excess. I’m not suggesting that you give up your gym membership and your fitness routine. Yet very strenuous cardio, repeated day in day out, can unbalance your hormones and affect your menstrual cycle. So everything in balance! Mix it up with some lighter swimming, walking, Pilates or yoga.
12. Take supplements of iodine, a trace mineral most of us are deficient in, found in seafood and seaweed ; vitamin D3, found in cod liver oil; magnesium, which supports hundreds of processes in the body and often contributes to better sleep, and milk thistle, good for supporting the liver.
Your healthy hormone shopping list:
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Pine nuts
- Eggs – including the yolks
- Oily fish