Hormonal imbalance is a common phenomenon triggered by deficiency or excess levels of hormones in the bloodstream. Due to its critical role in the body’s functioning, hormonal imbalance may cause severe side effects. Hormonal imbalance can affect our skin, hair, and mind to a large extent.
We are delighted to have Dr. Keira L. Barr answer some of our readers’ queries in this episode. Dr. Keira Barr is an author, mentor, life coach, and physician who helps high-achieving women let go of perfectionism, self-doubt, and isolation and embrace confidence and courage instead. She has helped thousands of women quiet their inner critic to amplify their voices and live their most authentic life. She is the proud author of The Skin Whisperer, which is a roadmap to vitality, self-awareness, and resilience.
Dr. Keira is a dual-board certified integrative dermatologist, certified as an Advanced Practitioner of Mind-Body Medicine and a trauma-informed life coach. She is also the founder of the Resilient Health Institute and creator of the Skinny Dipping Method.
BG – Dr. Keira, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. We often get queries related to hormonal imbalance and its impact on our skin, hair, and mind. It seems there is little ambiguity w.r.t. hormonal imbalance and ways to rebalance it from a holistic perspective.
Dr. Keira – Thank you so much for having me. I will be happy to answer and address problems arising from Mind-Body Connection, midlife crisis, and hormonal imbalance.
BG – How to know if you suffer from hormonal imbalance? When should you have your hormones checked?
Dr. Keira– When it comes to hormone imbalance, many people may think only of sex hormones, but when it comes to our skin, hair and mood, there are many more hormones at play, including thyroid, insulin, and our primary stress hormone cortisol. When women seek my help, they struggle with feelings of stress, anxiety, overwhelm, and often have difficulty sleeping. All of these symptoms point towards hormonal imbalance. By diving deeper into the specifics of what’s happening in their daily lives and lifestyle, we can better determine which hormones may need closer evaluation.
BG – If you have symptoms you think are hormone-related, what do you do?
Dr. Keira – It depends on what the symptoms are, which will determine the next best steps. Even if a woman is experiencing hot flashes, night sweats, brain fog, weight gain, and signs pointing toward estrogen deficiency and perimenopause, similar symptoms can also be seen from blood sugar dysregulation and stress. That’s why when I work with women; we do a deep dive into lifestyle first to help sort this out to create their roadmap to resilient health and wellbeing.
BG – How does hormone imbalance affect our skin, hair, and mind?
Dr. Keira – Upwards of 90% of doctor visits are for stress, and skin issues are the number one reason people go to their doctors, highlighting the intimate connection between our minds and skin. Derived from the same embryologic tissue, our brain and skin are linked on a cellular level, but it goes much deeper. What we see on our skin impacts our mood, and our mood impacts our skin through a complex series of hormonal messages and signals transmitted bidirectionally between our skin and brains. Although hormones including thyroid, vitamin D, and estrogen play an important role in maintaining healthy skin, it is an imbalance in cortisol that plays one of the most significant roles, as it throws all of these other hormones further out of balance.
BG – How to care for your skin as we approach menopause?
Dr. Keira -Moisturizing with soothing and nourishing skincare ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, ceramides, Gotu kola, and sea buckthorn oil, can help minimize dry, irritated, and dehydrated skin. Also boosting your hydration with water and foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin C, and antioxidants could help you ease inflammation and irritation. In addition, using gentle non-foaming soapless cleansers and avoiding too many active ingredients may help, including easing up on topical retinoids if you find it’s too irritating. Alternatives to retinoids that aid in skin cell turnover without the photosensitivity and increased irritation include bakuchiol, which is a naturally-derived plant extract.
BG – How do we rebalance female hormones to attain a perfect body-mind balance? Are there natural ways to support healthy hormones?
Dr. Keira – The good news is that there are many natural ways to support healthy hormones. Moving your body in ways that feel good, nourishing our body with nutrient-dense foods for fuel, prioritizing sleep, decluttering your physical, mental, and emotional environments, and learning the skills to manage your mind to quiet your inner critic so that you can create more calm, confidence and ease in your daily life are key. When I work with clients, these are the skills and tools I teach women so they can create the life they truly crave.
BG – How Resilient Health Institute is addressing Mind-Body Connection, midlife crisis, and hormonal imbalance?
Dr. Keira – When it comes to the mind-body-skin connection, especially in midlife, it boils down to the compound effect….shifting hormones compounded by the stress and strain of juggling care for aging parents, kids, careers, and navigating how to live through a pandemic…and the list goes on.
With little education about menopause in mainstream medical training, limited access to providers because of time constraints in an insurance model to get holistic care, familial and cultural taboos for discussing the topic…women feel isolated, confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed.
My work focuses on creating a space where women can feel seen, heard, and validate their experiences. Knowing they are not alone makes the difference and it gives a feeling they are just trying to survive menopause to thriving through it. I work one on one with women, but I also know that being in a community and creating connections is essential, especially at this stage of life. This is why I’m launching an intimate community of women where they can learn the tools and be equipped with resources to manage their stress and prioritize their wellbeing. Unfortunately, no hormone replacement pill, patch, or pellets can replace the missing link.