Hormones are the body’s chemical communicators, relaying information like growth, metabolism, and fertility. “When glands make too much of too little of a hormone, the message gets lost in translation,” said Jahangir Cyrus, MD, an endocrinologist with Baptist Health Medical Group. Hormonal imbalances account for a number of problems affecting hair and skin.
An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) causes body functions to slow down, which can cause hair loss and dry skin, while an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can cause oily skin.
In women, an excess of the male hormone androgen can be caused by polycystic ovarian syndrome, whose symptoms include unwanted body hair, acne, and patches of dark skin. Too much testosterone, produced by the adrenal gland, can also cause extra body hair in women.
Dr. Cyrus warns against focusing on the symptoms instead of their cause, as hormonal imbalances can have consequences beyond the effects of hair and skin. Your primary care physician can test for you for hormonal imbalances and refer you to a specialist if needed.