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Estrogen for Younger Looking Skin

Estrogen and Skin-Aging

Well-known for its influence on osteoporosis and mood, estrogen also appears to exert strong influence on aging of the skin. Estrogen receptors are located in the skin, and studies show that estrogen increases the activity of skin fibroblasts, cells that produce collagen. Collagen is the connective tissue that adds ''plumpness'' to skin, giving it structure, tone, and thickness. It helps keep moisture in the skin by insuring the production of hyaluronic acid and acid mucopolysaccharides.


Declining Hormone Levels Correlate With Declining Skin Integrity

During menopause, when the production of hormones in the ovaries diminishes significantly and eventually stops altogether, it is not surprising that most women notice changes in their skin, most noticeably dryness and wrinkling. Studies show declining levels of estrogen associated with menopause are linked to a decline in skin integrity and function. The skin thins out and loses its elasticity causing wrinkles to deepen, and the process of cell renewal slows down, resulting in less radiance and a duller complexion. Some estimates show that skin loses up to 30% of its collagen in the first five years after menopause, and without intervention, post-menopausal skin will continue to degenerate.


Estrogen Replacement Improves Skin

Maintaining optimal levels of estrogen, however, appears to safeguard against many of these effects. Women who use estrogen therapy after menopause have been shown to have thicker, healthier skin. A study in the British Medical Journal found that the collagen content of skin in postmenopausal women who underwent estrogen replacement therapy was 48% greater than in those who did not - suggesting that, in aging women, estrogen protects skin similar to the way it protects bones. Skin wrinkling may also diminish as a result of the effects of the hormone on the elastic fibers and collagen. The same study also showed women who take both estrogen and testosterone have skin that is 48 percent thicker (and healthier) than women who don't take either hormone.


The Benefits of Topical Estrogen Creams

For women who cannot tolerate or are not interested in estrogen replacemen, topical forms of specialized estrogen creams, using the estrogen, estriol, can produce similar beneficial effects on facial skin without raising the level of estrogen in the body.

Considered the ''weakest'' of the estrogens, research shows estriol may turn out to be the estrogen that is a good alternative for a wide array of anti-aging and hormone replacement applications, including hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal atrophy, and facial wrinkles.

In a study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, topical estrogen appeared to increase the amount of collagen in skin with marked improvement in skin elasticity and firmness after six months of treatment.

The study showed topical estrogen cream:

* Decreased wrinkle depth and pore size by 61% to 100%
* Increased skin thickness by 7% to 15%
* Increased skin lipid sebum production by 35%
* Markedly improved skin hydration

Other Benefits

In addition to its influence on skin aging, it has been suggested that estrogen also increases cutaneous wound healing by regulatind the levels of a cytokine. In fact, topical estrogen has been found to accelerate and improve wound healing in elderly men and women. The role of estrogen in scarring is unclear, but recent studies indicate that the lack of estrogen or the addition of tamoxifen may improve the quality of scarring.
Hormone Testing

As always, hormone level testing can help take the guesswork out of hormone therapy and determine a program that is just right for you.
published by at 2:22 PM
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: Estrogen for Younger Looking Skin
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