Even if we are perfectly healthy and are still as energetic and spry as we were as teenagers, our complexion can still betray the reality of our age. More than any other organ in the body, the skin is susceptible to aging, as it is the layer that protects the body from chemicals, bacteria, pollutants, and the harsh sun. In women, the reproductive hormone, called estrogen, plays a vital role in our skin's health and how young and vibrant it appears. This is why, after menopause, many women see a sharp decline in the quality of their complexion, as the body produces significantly less estrogen.
Estrogen’s primary function is to ensure the female reproductive cycle is working properly. It is made in the ovaries and higher levels when a woman is pregnant, as it plays a role in the baby's health and life. Even men produce estrogen at low levels, just as women produce a small degree of testosterone. Recent studies have found that estrogen has a grave effect on the skin, including dictating when the aging process begins and sometimes even reversing it with a topical application.
Estrogen loss can take a toll on the way your skin looks after the age of 30. Both peri-menopausal and menopausal women can experience accelerated aging due to the lack of estrogen our bodies once produced.
Studies conducted by the University of California found that estrogen often controls how much moisture the skin will hold and how quickly it produces collagen. These two factors are often behind many signs of aging.Improper moisture, a breakdown of collagen stores, and less collagen production can take a serious toll on the skin. The study found that women whose skin was treated topically with estrogen had better moisture retention and much better collagen production. Both of these factors prevented wrinkling in the skin.
It was also discovered that women with age spots who treated them topically with estrogen often found that these brown patches began to fade over time. Latent harm from the sun causes many of these brown patches—the sign of photoaging that occurred much earlier in life and for which there seemed to be no remedy. A topical application of estrogen helped lessen the appearance of these spots. It also improves the skin's overall texture and appearance.
The study also found that estrogen can reduce acne, which many women, even into their mature years, still struggle with, even after leaving puberty behind. Estrogen can help to lessen the amount of androgen production, which, in turn, contributes to regulating oil production in the skin, leading to fewer clogged pores and fewer pimples.
About the Author
Kari Thomas wrote this article.