The Good, The Bad, The Estrogen?
Working out, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can have huge benefits on your physical health, mental outlook, and skin. But it’s also important to be aware of the negative impacts that overworking can have on your skin, and on your health in general.
When we over-exert ourselves on our runs, or during our work-outs, we risk causing some serious damage to our skin. "Cardio and running can cause more oxygen or free-radical damage, which can break or damage the skin's supportive fibers (collagen and elastin)," says Dr. Annet King, director of training and education at Dermalogica. While breaking or damaging your skin’s supportive fibers might be enough to scare some of you off from ever running again, it’s important to understand, as Dr. King further explained, that “only very strenuous exercise leads to signs of cell damage, while moderate exercise—defined as exercising at 40 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate three to five days per week—has a rejuvenating effect on skin.” In essence, keep your workouts short and sweaty and you'll reap all the fat-burning and anti-aging benefits! At FRÉ we agree! We believe the sweatier the better; after all, it’s why we created our uniquely formulated skincare line in the first place, especially since we know that some of our women like to push themselves by running lengthy, sweaty, marathons.
However, those intense workouts can lead to a hidden negative side-effect: unbalanced estrogen levels.
While we know the effects of exercising on the skin, what is less known is the effect it can have on your estrogen levels and how that affects your skin and health. The body produces more estrogen in women who are overweight (fat cells can produce estrogen), or have high blood pressure or diabetes. Excess estrogen in the body can result in a higher risk of breast and uterine cancer. Moderate to intense exercise has been shown to cut excess estrogen by around 7%. The National Cancer Institute recommends four or more hours a week of exercise to reap the benefits of decreased estrogen. While too much estrogen can be dangerous, it’s important not to go to the other extreme, and work out to the point that you become deficient. Balance is truly the key when it comes to estrogen, as imbalance can lead to melasma, which is when skin pigmentation is exacerbated in certain sun-exposed areas such as the forehead, nose and cheeks. Anyone who enjoys exercising outside may have started noticing those pesky dark “sun-spots.”
So what exactly is estrogen, and can it also be helpful? The word estrogen actually encompasses a group of chemically similar hormones, so it is not a single substance and it is extremely important in the production and upkeep of skin as estrogens affect skin thickness, wrinkle formation, and moisture. Estrogens can increase glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), such as Hyaluronic Acid, to maintain fluid balance and structural integrity. They can also increase collagen production in the skin, where they maintain epidermal thickness and allow skin to remain plump, hydrated and wrinkle-free. Estrogen has many other benefits as well such as protecting the bones, brain, and heart.
Whether you have the skin of a newborn baby, or that of a runner leathered from all her unprotected days in the sun, FRÉ has you covered, literally. Our products aim to not only protect you from the signs of premature aging, and exercise induced stresses, but also repair the damage already done, ensuring you have your best face forward. At FRÉ we chose to use only non-comedogenic ingredients in all our natural and vegan products, like our specially formulated PROTECT ME SPF30 sun protectant and moisturizer, specially curated to ensure it doesn’t drip into your eyes when you sweat. Opting for ingredients like Argan oil and jojoba beans, ensures that any flushed or irritated face will be instantly soothed and taken care of, be it through our gentle PURIFY ME facial cleanser, or our silky smooth REVIVE ME serum for post workouts.