Could Hormone Testing Be The Key To Getting Your Skincare Right? Here's What To Know

When it comes to setting up your skincare routine, you already know that skin type and goals are incredibly important when picking out new products. Having a routine tailored to you is key for getting clear and healthy skin — especially for those with sensitive skin. Although no skincare routine will give you immediate results overnight, it will definitely aid you in getting closer to flawless skin. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to check what kind of skincare products would be best for your individual needs.


Hormone testing is a relatively new process that can give you a personalized perspective on your hormone levels. When looking at how hormones affect your skin, you want to look at three important ones: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone (via Axia Women's Health). You can see the effects of these three prominent hormones on or around your period when hormonal acne becomes more prevalent. 

Hormonal testing gives you an idea about your general hormonal level, along with the levels of these three particular hormones and how they correlate with your typical skin issues. Some at-home hormone tests — such as the Veracity Hormone Wellness Test — also provide guidance as to how your diet, lifestyle, and skincare routine can be tweaked to balance out your hormones and benefit your skin. 


How hormonal testing works

There are various types of hormonal testing services available. While you can get hormone testing conducted with your physician, it's not always accessible for everyone. Meanwhile, at-home DIY hormone testing kit can be cheaper and quicker. If you're conducting a test with your physician, you'll probably have to obtain a blood test for your results. After a few days or weeks, you'll receive your results from either your physician or the laboratory. Most at-home testing companies, on the other hand, will have you produce enough saliva to fill a small vial and mail it back to the labs. Healthline explains that some companies also ask for blood or urine samples (though the amount of blood collected tends to be minimal). You will then be emailed your results, or given access to them via an app.


If you're going through an at-home testing company, you should examine your results in detail with your physician for a greater perspective into what your hormone levels mean for your lifestyle. "They can help you determine if there are underlying issues causing the imbalances," Dr. Gabrielle Francis told Well+Good.

How often to get hormone testing

Whenever you test for hormones at home, you should provide your saliva earlier in the morning, since your hormones can fluctuate throughout the day (via Veracity). Your hormones can also change and fluctuate over time. Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause are three critical stages of life that can drastically alter your hormones at any given moment. For that reason, it can be helpful to conduct a hormone test at least once annually to get a general feel for your hormones at different points of the year, per Private MD Labs. If you're going through a significant acne breakout or skin issue, you should probably schedule your hormone testing sooner rather than later. Many hormone testing kits and companies will account for your cycle, but others prefer you to test either on the third or 21st day of your cycle for best results, per Parsley Health Articles.


Another factor that can distort your results is birth control. If you're looking to start birth control or you haven't started yet, a hormone test should be done before you begin. Although birth control won't prevent you from getting hormone testing, Everlywell explains that it can alter your results to show lower estrogen, making it difficult to understand where you truly stand. 

How hormonal testing can affect your skincare routine

Knowing the different hormonal levels in your body will give you an idea of what might be causing your overall skincare issues. You can then make an active plan to target your specific problem areas.

According to Veracity, high levels of cortisol or testosterone can lead to oily skin, so you'll want to ensure your cleansing twice a day with an acne-preventing product. Estrogen is another crucial hormone that can directly affect your collagen production. If you have lower levels of estrogen, which can be caused by certain birth control pills, you'll notice signs of aging as low estrogen causes dryness and less hydration in the skin, per Thrivia. To combat this, add hyaluronic acid to your routine to lock in moisture and increase the rate of collagen production (via Healthline). Meanwhile, Ro explains that progesterone imbalances can cause acne and dermatitis. 


Keeping the impacts of these hormones in mind, you'll need to crosscheck your levels to know what areas need to be addressed in your body. 

Is hormonal testing accurate?

Although most tests conducted in your physician's office can be certified as reliable, at-home testing can be a little less reliable. The biggest difference is the two methods of obtaining a hormone sample. 


At-home testing kits involve saliva samples, while in-office testing usually calls for blood work. One of the differences with saliva testing is that it only tests the unbound, free hormones roaming in your saliva. This means while you only get a small percentage of hormones in your body, you get a better and more isolated image of them. Saliva contains higher hormone concentrations, meaning it's easy for you to see what your hormones look like without any protein or other factor diluting it. 

On the other hand, blood testing can be harder to access and more time-consuming. Instead of having the liberty of conducting the test from your own home, you have to head to a lab to get blood drawn. This can be challenging for those who don't enjoy blood testing or don't have immediate access to a laboratory. According to BodyLogicMD, blood testing of hormones also comes with plenty more hormones than your saliva can pick up. Although this gives you a fuller image of your hormone levels, it can come with plenty of confusion. No matter if you opt for saliva or blood testing of hormones, it's recommended to go to your physician for a full explanation of the results.