What is the relationship between testosterone and the skin? Does it have any benefits? Are there any effects of low or high testosterone on the skin? Testosterone is the hormone responsible for the development and maintenance of male characteristics. Women also have testosterone- in small amounts.
Testosterone is an important male hormone. It supports the development of male reproductive organs such as the testis and prostate gland. It also promotes secondary sexual characteristics growth of body hair, increases in bone and mass and deepening of the voice.
Most men have enough and sometimes more than required levels of testosterone. Others may have too little.
In males, testosterone is produced as early as seven weeks after conception. The hormone helps in the development of his internal and external reproductive organs.
The production will remain constant throughout childhood. The levels rise and peak during puberty. In middle age, the levels of testosterone begin to slightly taper off every year.
Testosterone supports a number of body functions. In the same way, too much or too little of this hormone can affect body systems.
This hormone has been used as a basis for understanding how the male skin works. An important aspect in the manufacture and use of male skin care products.
Testosterone and the Skin
Testosterone and the skin relate in a number of ways. Both low and high levels of this hormone can have significant effects on the skin. The difference between male and female skin is attributed to male hormones. Testosterone is the chief sex hormone in this group.
Men’s skin appears to be tougher and firmer as compared to women and this can be attributed to the existence of natural or synthetically occurring steroid hormones known as androgens. The hormones encourage the growth and sustenance of male physiognomies. They occur in three forms and include:
- Dihydrotestosterone produced in the skin and reproductive tissues
- Androstenedione produced by the testes and ovaries though in smaller quantities.
- Testosterone most dominant and produced by the Leydig cells found in the testes and in smaller portions by the adrenal gland. It is also a result of the metabolic conversion of Androstenedione hormone. It is majorly found in both men and in women though in small quantities.
How Does Testosterone Affect Skin
Positively the testosterone hormone contributes to the skin as it:
It works through attaching itself on the muscles and boosting the regeneration of the cells surrounding the muscle, firming them. When they are rigid, there are fewer chances of unwanted fat deposition in the skin leading to body weight.
Thickens and tightens
In men the testosterone level is high and it helps to thicken the tissues surrounding the dermis and epidermis layers of the skin. Thicker tissues stimulate the fibroblast cells for more collagen production creating a high collagen density that allows for more absorption into the skin thus create more elasticity.
Testosterone binds the sensory receptors of the sebaceous glands, this stimulation activates the glands to produce more sebum, and the hormone also creates a similar effect on the pores making them larger. Due to the large pores, the skin is able to quickly absorb the oils which make moisturize and make it supple.
Promote hair growth
Testosterone hormone works by attaching itself to tissues, follicle, and cells and uses its steroid capability to foster growth. Since it is in high levels in men it attaches to the hair cells and stimulates the growth on the skin and especially on the face. This acts as a form of protection for the skin.
Protection against Wrinkles
Testosterone stimulates the hair follicles leading to the growth of facial hairs that protect the face area from wrinkles. Facial hair, for example, contains cells that provide moisture to the hair so the skin covered by the beard is often moisturized and doesn’t lose its elasticity.
UV ray protection
The presence of hair and sebum protects the skin from direct harmful UV rays by refracting the light waves and reduce chances of skin cancer.The thicker the hair and the collagen the stronger the protection.
Testosterone levels in the body should be moderated and when the body is unable to produce enough testosterone, the condition is referred to as hypogonadism. The condition may affect the skin through:
The presence of testosterone in men increases the mass and activity of the sebaceous glands. The heightened presence of the hormone during puberty stimulates the sebaceous glands which secrete thicker and stickier oil. When in excess it clogs the already big pores and bacteria is attracted leading to an outbreak of acne. The production of testosterone hormones is high in males from puberty to young adulthood and with the increased sebum production they are likely to have acne for longer periods.
Low Levels of Testosterone in the Body
Many men begin having problems with low testosterone from middle age. Men experience a number of symptoms when the hormones drop below normal levels.
Weakening of bones
Testosterone acts as a steroid to stimulate muscle mass if, in low levels low in the body, the muscles are weakened resulting in weak bone muscles and consequently sagging of the skin
Testosterone increase muscle size, if low the muscles are constricted and allow for fat deposit that results in stretched skin
With low testosterone the sebaceous glands are inactive and hence the oil they produce is converted into fats that deposit in the body. The weight gain results into stretching of the skin and can lead to stretch marks if the weight is rapidly lost
The low levels of testosterone don’t stimulate the hair follicles for growth and this exposes the skin to a lot of damage from the UV rays and wind that cause dryness and sagging.
- Increased body fat
- Low muscle mass
Factors That Lead To Low Testosterone Levels
Over -exposure to the sun-
Most men spend a lot of their time in the outdoors and rarely use sunscreen. The direct exposure can affect the testosterone levels and eventually affect the skin.
At puberty the level of testosterone is quite high up to the age of thirty, however, after that, the levels begin to drop at a constant rate every year and this may be fast in some cases.
Such as the lack of exercise which may lead to obesity and lower the levels of testosterone.For example, athlete and models have higher levels of testosterone than those who work longer hours in the office.
Consumption of natural foods that are rich in protein, zinc and Vitamin E such as green tea, beans, brown rice, fenugreek seeds, olive, coconut and avocado oil.
Use of supplements that contain testosterone and anabolic steroids and whey protein
Exercises and sleep
Exercises that firm the body muscles, reduce body fat and increase testosterone levels.The workout can include ten reps of bench press, deadlifts, and squats for thirty minutes a day.
Stress and lack of sleep contribute to low levels of testosterone which affect the skin, especially around the facial area.For better results, seven to nine hours of sleep are recommended.
Testosterone replacement therapy
They are done to improve muscle size and include:
Transdermal which involves daily use of testosterone skin patches that are worn on upper body
Use of testosterone pellets through injection these are inserted in the skin on the rectal skin and they release the hormone every four months.
Mouth patch where a tablet is specifically stuck on one side of the tooth twice a day to release the hormone into the system
Use of gels that are applied daily and provides testosterone boost. Examples include Axiron, AndroGel, and Testim.
Testosterone injection implanted in soft tissues of the body and slowly release the hormone into the body.
The side effects include headaches, numbness and increased hair growth and should not be used for patients who have cancer, chronic illnesses or above forty years of age.