Harnessing the Power of Adaptogens in Skincare for Hormonal Balance

Feeling hormonal and breaking out? You're not alone! Hormonal fluctuations can wreak havoc on your complexion. But there's good news: adaptogens can help! Adaptogens are like stress fighters for your body, helping it adapt to various stressors, including emotional and hormonal ones. In the world of skincare, this translates to calmer, more balanced skin even when your hormones are acting up.

Harnessing the Power of Adaptogens in Skincare for Hormonal Balance - The Sabi

By Hilary Metcalfe

Ever feel like your skin is freaking out and then realise your hormones are following suit? This is valid. Although it’s really skin acting as your early warning signal. Hormonal fluctuations can wreak havoc on our complexions, leaving us with everything from breakouts to rosacea and dryness. But what if there was a natural way to help skin stay balanced and healthy, even when our hormones are a little crazy? Enter adaptogens – these botanical superstars are taking the skincare world by storm, and for good reason!

Nature's Chill Pill for Your Skin

Adaptogens are basically like stress fighters for your body. They're a group of herbs that help our bodies adapt to all sorts of stressors, whether they’re physical (like lack of sleep), emotional, or even environmental (like pollution and pesticides). In the world of skincare, this translates to helping our skin stay balanced and calm, even when our hormones are sending mixed signals.

Adaptogenic Allies for Hormonal Harmony

Here are some key adaptogens and their benefits for skin health:

Rhodiola: The Resilience Booster

Rich in antioxidants, Rhodiola, also known as "golden root," combats oxidative stress – a common culprit behind hormonal imbalances and skin issues. It can provide much-needed support for women experiencing nearly all types of hormonal changes by promoting skin regeneration, reducing inflammation, and enhancing overall well-being. It’s a great all-rounder. Studies have shown it can even help with fatigue and improve mood – bonus!

Water Hyssop (Bacopa Monnieri): The Cognitive Enhancer

Don't let the name mislead you, this herb goes beyond cognition support. It’s a superstar for clear, balanced skin. It promotes clarity and balance, alleviating stress-related skin concerns like acne, inflammation, and dullness during hormonal fluctuations like menstruation or menopause. Its calming properties soothe the skin while enhancing resilience, making it an invaluable ally for hormonal harmony. Research published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2012) suggests its ability to modulate the stress response and improve cognitive function - double win!

Gotu Kola: The Skin Savior

This "herb of longevity" lives up to its name by helping boost collagen production, which is key for keeping your skin plump and youthful. It also improves circulation and helps wounds heal faster – perfect for those dealing with dryness or other sensitive skin concerns. Think of it as a skin-firming superhero! Additionally, its anti-inflammatory properties can be helpful for conditions like Endometriosis or PCOS, where inflammation plays a significant role in skin upset. 

Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis): The Liver Defender

This berry, native to China and Russia, is a champion for overall well-being. Research suggests it can improve liver function, reduce oxidative stress, and enhance physical endurance. It might be a great ally for women experiencing symptoms of oxidative stress, like fatigue and sluggish digestion or hormonal imbalances that affect liver health such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and oestrogen dominance. PCOS is associated with insulin resistance, which can lead to fatty liver disease. Oestrogen dominance (such as during perimenopause or with obesity) can impair liver function, affecting its ability to process and eliminate hormones, which could potentially lead to liver issues, which this wonder berry can help!

Ashwagandha: The Stress Shield

Perhaps one of the most well-researched adaptogens, Ashwagandha is well known for its ability to modulate the body's stress response and reduce inflammation. Studies have shown it can lower cortisol levels, alleviate anxiety, and improve overall well-being. For women experiencing stress-related hormonal imbalances, such as those with adrenal fatigue or cortisol dysregulation, Ashwagandha may offer significant benefits.

Choosing the Right Adaptogens for Your Skin

Just like with any skincare routine, it's important to find the adaptogens that work best for your specific needs. Here's a quick guide to get you started:

  • Menopause: Hormonal fluctuations during menopause can lead to hot flashes, mood swings, and skin changes. A 2019 study published in the journal Menopause found that Rhodiola supplementation improved menopausal symptoms like anxiety and depression in perimenopausal women. Water Hyssop and Gotu Kola may relieve stress-related skin issues while supporting overall well-being.
  • PCOS & Endo: They often result in symptoms like acne, hirsutism (male pattern hair growth), and irregular periods. Research on individual herbs like Rhodiola and Gotu Kola suggests potential benefits. A 2020 study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that Rhodiola extract improved insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS.
  • Endometriosis: Struggling with chronic pain and inflammation? While research on adaptogens for endometriosis is limited, Gotu Kola's anti-inflammatory properties may offer some relief. Additionally, adaptogens' ability to manage stress might indirectly benefit women with Endometriosis by reducing pain perception and improving overall well-being.

While adaptogens are powerful allies, a holistic approach is key. Think of them as part of your overall wellness toolbox rather than a catch-all. Combine them with stress-management techniques, a balanced diet, and consulting with a healthcare professional for personalised advice. By taking a multi-pronged approach, you can optimise your hormonal health and achieve that healthy, glowing complexion you deserve.

So, explore the world of adaptogens, find the perfect plant posse for your needs, and unlock the natural potential of your beautiful skin!

-Darbinyan, V., Kteyan, A., Panossian, A., Gabrielian, E., Wikman, G., & Wagner, H. (2007). Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue—a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 28(2), 207-211.
-Bylka, W., Znajdek-Awiżeń, P., Studzińska-Sroka, E., & Brzezińska, M. (2013). Centella asiatica in cosmetology. Advances in Dermatology and Allergology/Postȩpy Dermatologii i Alergologii, 30(1), 46–49.
-Asghar, N., Naqvi, S. B., Hussain, Z., Riaz, U., Shahzad, S. A., & Gulzar, M. (2020). A randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled clinical study to assess the safety and efficacy of water hyssop extract for improving skin barrier function in subjects with atopic dermatitis. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 19(9), 2238-2243.
-Englande, R. (2010). Adaptogens in Mental and Behavioral Disorders. Psychiatric Times.
-American Botanical Council. (n.d.). Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. HerbalGram: Journal of the American Botanical Council. 
-Winston, D., & Maimes, S. (n.d.). Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief.
Hilary is the Co-Founder of the SABI, a Holistic Nutritionist, natural, whole foods Chef, product developer and advocate for women getting to know their bodies, cycles and selves better. Born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Baja California, Mexico, she now lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands with her partner Kees, a curly-tailed rescue dog from Curacao, Flint and her rainbow baby, Paloma. 


Created as a brand to help women navigate the toughest moments in pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum — and practically every stage of life –– The SABI aims to change the narrative around our hormones from one of taboo, embarrassment, and loneliness to awareness and pride. As more than a wellness brand, The SABI offers a carefully-crafted line of products to carry you through your hormonal journey, including rituals, supportive tools, and ancient herbal remedies that have been tested time and time again by women and now come backed by medicine. The SABI is a blend of science and nature conceived by women who have experienced the joys and deep struggles of bringing a child into the world, the pains of a heavy, difficult period, miscarriage, and difficulty conceiving.
We offer you an invitation to get to know your body and its cycles better –– an invitation to really understand what is going on inside. Learn to use your hormonal cycle to your advantage no matter your stage of life, and know that you can support and balance your hormone levels. Look for the right sources of information. Know that there is help, and know that you’re supported.

The SABI blog and articles are not meant to instruct or advise on medical or health conditions, but to inform. The information and opinions presented here do not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals for your unique situation. 


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