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What’s Love Got to Do with It? How Oxytocin (The Love Hormone) Affects Your Skin

Wondering why being in love makes you glow? Discover how the effects of oxytocin, the love hormone, contribute to your skin's health

Have you ever been told you’re ‘glowing’ after spending time with someone you love? Aside from your radiant smile and blushing cheeks, there are other ways your crush might be influencing your complexion.

Oxytocin, often referred to as ‘‘the love hormone’’, might be why your skin appears better when you’re in love. Produced in the hypothalamus and secreted by the pituitary gland, this hormone is associated with social bonding, trust, and emotional connection. But its effects go beyond a fluttering heart – studies suggest it might influence our skin, from helping wounds heal to fighting breakouts.

At Mazillo, we love love (as much as we love skincare!) so this Valentine’s Day we decided to investigate this connection a little further. In this article, we’ll explore why your Valentine’s sweetheart (or spending time with your friends and family!) affects your skin’s health.

Model skin benefits Gentle Cleansing Oil

Hormones and the skin

Your skin keeps no secrets. What’s going on in your life and how you feel will show up in various ways. How? Through hormone production!

This is the reason why when we’re stressed, we tend to break out, when we’ve had a few too many late nights, our skin looks a little dull and lifeless, and for those who menstruate, it’s why your skin fluctuates throughout your cycle.

Let’s start with the bad news: cortisol and adrenaline, the stress hormones, can contribute to unwanted skin problems. For example, adrenaline can increase the production of sebum (oil) in the skin and can trigger or exacerbate acne. Cortisol can break down collagen, a protein that maintains skin elasticity and firmness, causing skin to sag.

Now for the good news: when you’re happy, energized, and surrounded by love, happy hormones will be released, such as serotonin, dopamine, and (you guessed it!) oxytocin. This magical mix works wonders for your skin by fighting the ‘bad’ hormones and balancing stress levels. 

When you’re feeling good, you’ll also be more motivated to engage in a loving skincare routine, eat a balanced diet, and exercise. The result? Healthier skin!

How does Oxytocin affect the skin?

It’s not in your head, when you love and are loved – whether that’s towards a partner, child, friend, or yourself – you will feel and look healthier.

While its effects on the skin are not as well documented as hormones, such as those associated with stress and menstruation, oxytocin works on the body in many ways that have indirect positive effects on our skin.

1. Stress Reduction

Oxytocin puts you in a positive, relaxed, and anxiety-free state of mind, which can positively affect the skin by reducing stress-related breakouts.

2. Wound healing

They say love heals, and one study suggests that this might be true for the skin. Elevated levels of oxytocin can have a positive impact on wound healing by promoting collagen deposition and the regulation of inflammatory responses.

Model benefits for skin Purify+Nourish Face Mask

3. Immune system modulation

A well-functioning immune system is crucial for maintaining skin health and preventing infections. Lucky for you lovebirds, oxytocin receptors have been found to be present in immune cells, suggesting it has a potential role in immune system modulation.

4. Anti-inflammatory effects

Inflammation is a common factor in various skin conditions, including acne and eczema. Oxytocin has been reported to have anti-inflammatory properties, which suggests it may have a positive impact on certain skin issues.

5. Skin cell repair

Love keeps you feeling young, right? It seems it might have the same effect on your skin. In this study, oxytocin was observed to have an anti-aging effect on skin cells, possibly attributed to increased levels of glutathione (GSH), an antioxidant.

So what’s love got to do with it?

The ‘love glow’ isn’t just a romantic idea, it’s a science-supported reality. The warm fuzzies you feel when you’re in love trigger positive hormones, namely oxytocin, which has tangible benefits for the skin.

That said, it's important to note that research on oxytocin's specific effects on the skin is still in its early stages, and more studies are needed to fully understand the hormone's role in dermatological health. Its effects on skin health are likely to be indirect and interconnected with various physiological processes.

But either way, if we needed another reason to nurture loving relationships (or to practice self-love), healthier and more vibrant skin seems a pretty good one to us. 

Happy Valentine’s Day from Mazillo x

You might also like: 

Solo Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day
How To Love Your Skin: 5 Confidence Tips for Skin Positivity
Gender-Neutral Skincare Products To Share With Your Partner

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