It can happen in a flash. You wake up one day, look in the mirror, and notice that your skin seems…off. Maybe it's an angry red bump on your chi, or a bit of unnatural dryness around your mouth. Either way, it’s a complete and utter bother. Ugh.
But before you reach for the next trendy skincare product, pause. Those sudden skin changes are likely not coincidences but rather the physical result of your fluctuating hormones.
Hormones are tiny chemical messengers that impact our overall health and well-being. If you suspect that your skin issues are cyclical or hormone-related, it may be useful to get your hormone levels checked—which requires testing them at the right time.
In this article, we'll unravel the ins and outs of hormone imbalance testing, including the reasons and timing factors you should consider.
What is a Hormone Imbalance Test?
Before we answer when is the best time to test for hormone imbalance levels, let's shine a spotlight on what a hormonal imbalance test truly entails.
As of now, research shows that humans possess over 50 hormones in our endocrine systems. Hormone imbalance testing reveals which of these hormonal changes are causing symptoms in your day-to-day life.
When it comes to skin health, in particular, the endocrine system holds incredible power, controlling everything from oil production to wound healing. For this reason, if you’re testing for skin issues, you may receive a hormone panel that includes your:
- Thyroid hormones (T3, T4, TSH)
- Luteinizing hormone
- Follicle-stimulating hormone
How Does Timing Impact Hormonal Imbalance Tests?
Imagine trying to capture a photograph of a runner in a race. The precise moment you click the shutter can make the difference between a clear, focused picture and a blurry mess.
Similarly, the timing of hormone tests can either capture a clear picture of your hormonal health or leave you with incomplete and potentially misleading results.
Across your endocrine system, almost all hormones fluctuate regularly over the course of days, weeks, and even years. To help you test your hormones accurately, let's explore how your menstrual cycle, age, and even the time of day can impact these tests.
For adolescent and adult women, hormonal levels are anything but static. The menstrual cycle runs on the ebb and flow of hormones, which significantly change throughout your cycle (and can create pesky PMS skin conditions in the process).
Depending on the phase of your current cycle, you may test very differently for certain hormones that affect skin health. Typically, menstruating women experience the following hormonal fluctuations during their menstrual cycles:
- Follicular phase (Days 1 to 14) – During the follicular phase of your cycle (the first day of your period to ovulation), estrogen and follicle-stimulating hormone take center stage.
- Luteal Phase (Days 15 to 28) – During the luteal phase of your cycle, estrogen levels decrease while progesterone rises.
Additionally, menopause (or the cessation of menstruation) will come with further hormonal shifts. In fact, as estrogen and progesterone dip during menopause, women will often see changes in their skin, such as dryness and loss of elasticity.
In the world of hormones, timing can also mean the years in your life. Across decades, your hormones (particularly your sex hormones) will gradually shift into different medically healthy windows for your age.
Typically, you’ll experience the following changes in hormones as you age:
- Lower thyroid hormone levels
- Higher parathyroid hormone levels
- Lower aldosterone levels
- Lower cortisol levels
- Lower DHEA-S levels
- Lower testosterone levels (especially in men)
- Lower estrogen levels (especially in women)
Time of Day
Your hormone levels in the morning are not the same as your hormone levels at night. Depending on the time of day, certain hormones will fluctuate up or down in what’s called diurnal variations.
In particular, hormones that control sleep and stress will have diurnal variation. These may include the following hormones:
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
- Growth hormone (GH)
- Testosterone (in men)
Other Factors That Impact Hormone Imbalance Tests
While timing is a significant factor that can influence a hormone test, several other variables can impact the accuracy of your functional lab testing results. Here are some additional factors to consider when receiving a hormone panel:
- Stress levels
- Sleep patterns
- Hormonal birth control
- Illness or infections
- Diet and exercise
Find Hormonal Acne Solutions with CLEARSTEM
In the intricate world of hormone testing, timing can determine whether you capture a clear or blurry snapshot of your health. By considering your menstrual cycle, age, and other factors, you can plan the best time to take a hormonal test for acne, understand how to interpret your results and start the process of finding an effective solution for your skin issues.
And we can help.
At CLEARSTEM, we offer natural, holistic solutions for acne-prone skin. Our hormonal acne supplement and range of non-comedogenic skincare products utilize ingredients like dandelion root and glutathione to fight acne from the inside out. That means you get all the glowing benefits, with none of the harsh medications or irritants found in other skincare products.
Uncover your clearest skin yet by building your personalized acne-fighting skin routine with CLEARSTEM.
DermNet. Investigations in acne. https://dermnetnz.org/topics/investigations-in-acne
Johns Hopkins Medicine. Introduction to Menopause. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/introduction-to-menopause
MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Aging changes in hormone production. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/004000.htm
NIH. The Normal Menstrual Cycle and the Control of Ovulation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279054/
Society for Endocrinology. 24 hours in the life of a hormone: what time is the right time for a pituitary function test? https://www.endocrinology.org/endocrinologist/134-winter19/features/24-hours-in-the-life-of-a-hormone-what-time-is-the-right-time-for-a-pituitary-function-test/
Town and Country Magazine. How Hormones Became Part of the Skincare Conversation. https://www.townandcountrymag.com/style/beauty-products/a38667886/hormones-affect-skincare-beautiful-skin/
US EPA. Overview of the Endocrine System. https://www.epa.gov/endocrine-disruption/overview-endocrine-system