Beauty is far more than skin deep – how to put your health first to feel, look and mentally feel like a younger version of yourself
Taking a deep dive into hormonal health exploring which hormones are needed to keep us looking fresh and young, but also feeling at the top of our game mentally and physically. This article includes insight into the hormone balancing market, including the use of bio-identical hormones and how they differ from their synthetic counterparts. Compounding pharmacies are integral to bioidentical hormones as they offer personalised doses which for some patients can be far more effective than standard hormonal medications available from your GP. In many cases a lower dosage of the same hormone is actually needed, or hormones can be compounded to be given transdermally (through the skin) or through the oral mucosa, bypassing some of the unwanted side effects of the traditional oral route, which highlights the benefits of personalised medication. Rizvan Faruk Batha MPharm, PGDip GPP, MRPharmS, Superintendent Pharmacist and Director of Operations at Specialist Pharmacy explores how this trend is set to transform the medical aesthetics market.
We all know how important it is to put our health first, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly, however these things can only go so far in improving our physical and mental health and there’s actually far more that can be done to keep your body supple and your mind sharp. Hormones within our bodies are integral to our health and although levels of hormones within women tend to fluctuate throughout their cycle and depending on their age, often they need to be balanced for optimum health. Unbalanced hormone levels can cause an array of different symptoms that can affect physical looks, general health and mental wellbeing and later on in life can actually lead to health complications like osteoporosis and heart conditions.
Hormones are produced by various glands in our bodies and play an essential role in sexual function, reproductive health, brain function, mood, regulation of sleep and maintenance of body temperature. Many of us know about the importance of exercise, healthy eating, and limiting sun exposure to prevent ageing, but hormones don’t tend to get mentioned so much, which is strange as hormone levels play a huge role in the ageing process.
As we age, our hormone levels naturally decline, which can manifest in wrinkles, thinning hair, decreased mental acuity, aches and pains and reduced energy, to name a few! It is important to know how hormones can affect us and our bodies:
Oestrogen. This hormone keeps the skin looking plump and glowing, stimulates collagen production (providing structure, volume and elasticity to the skin), and keeps eyes moist and sparkling.
Progesterone. Keeps hair full and healthy by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone into DHT, which causes hair loss. It reduces bloating, helps keep your mood positive and is soothing and relaxing, which helps with anxiety and a good night’s sleep.
Testosterone and DHEA. Often considered male hormones, they are produced in much smaller quantities in women but are incredibly important for energy, confidence, joie de vivre, stamina and improving muscle mass.
In order to keep rejuvenated and looking young, we need to ensure that these hormones are balanced and restored! Hormones are also incredibly important in keeping you on top of your game mentally too. A little-known hormone, pregnenolone, can be extremely helpful for women who have difficulty word finding and with memory loss. Declining levels of oestrogen can also contribute to memory loss, so by restoring levels, mental performance can be improved. Testosterone is also important for mental clarity and sharpness.
Feeling great is linked to confidence and looking younger can help us mentally be ready to overcome any challenges we face in our day to day lives and work. As oestrogen declines skin becomes less elastic and can start to sag or look less luminous which can have a detrimental effect on our confidence. Hormone balancing is an effective way to address signs of ageing skin and with personalised hormonal skin care, individual concerns can be addressed as the ingredients can be tailored to your skin, whether that be deep wrinkles or a lack of radiance.
For many women who experience the symptoms of unbalanced hormones, there are treatment options to help ease symptoms. Bioidentical hormones are used in bioidentical restoration therapy (BHRT) and have an identical chemical structure to the naturally occurring hormones produced by the body and are sometimes referred to as body identical hormones. These differ from synthetic hormones often used in standard HRT which have a different chemical structure and are often associated with negative side effects and long term complications of therapy.
Most bioidentical hormones are derived from Mexican wild yam or soy, which then undergoes processing to make the hormones into a powder. BHRT isn’t just for women who are menopausal or perimenopausal, for many much younger women a small dosage of progesterone is needed from the early 20’s to counter low mood, painful periods or skin flare ups. The dosage of progesterone available in standard preparations from your GP can be too high for many women which can present unnecessary symptoms and ultimately lead to discontinued use.
BHRT is created in a compounding pharmacy, meaning the hormones are individually compounded into a medication, such as a cream, lozenge (troche) or sublingual drops, based on your individual needs. Your prescriber will write this prescription following a full consultation, taking into account your current symptoms, full medical history, relevant exams, such as hormone bloods tests, and the appropriateness of standard formulations. BHRT can be prescribed in formulations and strengths that are not available on the NHS. This can provide the additional benefit of improving ease of use and potentially fewer side effects, thereby highlighting the benefits of personalised medication. This trend is set to transform the medical aesthetics market as clients are no longer satisfied with only looking younger, they want to feel younger too.
About the author, Rizvan Faruk Batha
Rizvan Faruk Batha (MPharm, PGDip GPP, MRPharmS) is the Superintendent Pharmacist and Director of Operations at Specialist Pharmacy. With over 14 years of experience within the pharmacy sector, he has an extensive portfolio of experience ranging from working within GMP facilities, quality assurance & quality control roles, clinical trials & research and within many specialities as a clinical pharmacist. Rizvan’s broad experience and background of working in licensed MHRA and unlicensed facilities has led him to now manage and drive his team to successfully lead the compounding industry in the UK, increasing access to medicines for patients needing a more personalised approach to their therapy.
About Specialist Pharmacy
Specialist Pharmacy is the first compounding pharmacy of its kind in the UK, producing custom-made medications across a wide range of treatment areas such as bioidentical hormones, pain management, dermatology, haircare, sports medicine and veterinary medications.
Specialist Pharmacy is a full-service pharmacy with over 25 years of expertise and unrivalled experience. Using first-class pharmaceutical ingredients (GMP standard) they are dedicated to creating safe, quality personalised medication. Specialist Pharmacy operates at the highest quality standards, in a state-of-the-art laboratory, based in the UK and fully regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council.