The following is an excerpt from an article entitled Bioidentical Hormones: Why are they still controversial?
One reason that facial skin "shrivels" as we age is that our normal hormone production markedly declines. To make matters worse, blood microcirculation to our skin is reduced as we grow older, thereby depriving our skin of the small amount of natural hormones our body still makes. A large number of published scientific studies reveal that estrogen exerts potent anti-aging effects on the skin. The topical application of natural estrogen can provide dramatic improvements to the skin without systemic absorption concerns.
The deficiency of estrogen that characterizes menopause exacerbates the effects of both normal and environmentally-induced skin aging. According to the findings of a scientific study published in 2007, "Estrogens prevent skin aging. They increase skin thickness and improve skin moisture." Another recent study came to the same conclusion, i.e. "skin aging can be significantly delayed by the administration of estrogen." (Note from Rosina: I have read both excerpts and the results are indeed impressive in terms of wrinkle amelioration and diminishing of pore size. We are talking about the effects from estriol only, as well as estradiol, and on perimenopausal skin as well as that of post-menopausal women.)
A critical mechanism by which estrogen maintains a youthful plump appearance is by increasing the synthesis of collagen, which is the skin's underlying support structure. Collagen atrophy is a major factor in skin aging. There is a strong correlation between skin collagen loss and estrogen deficiency at menopause.
Skin aging, especially in the face, is associated with a progressive increase in sagging tissues and a reduction in elasticity. In menopausal and postmenopausal women, estrogen administration increases collagen content, dermal thickness and elasticity, while decreasing aging dry skin.
Estrogens exert significant effects on skin physiology by modulating the effects of key epidermal and dermal cells. In fact, the skin is an important estrogen-responsive tissue, and without the growth promoting effects of estrogen, it literally withers away. The very thin skin observed in the elderly can be directly correlated to a lack of estrogens needed to generate collagen and maintain skin thickness.
Topical estrogen application has been shown to be safe and effective in preventing skin aging. In a study published in February 2007, a group of women who were already taking oral estrogen drugs were given a topical 0.01% estrogen cream. After only four months, both dermal and epidermal thickness was enhanced, as were dermal collagen levels. This study showed that topical estrogen application provided rapid and definitive anti-aging effects even in women who had high systemic estrogen blood levels. The significance of this study is that it shows how quickly a small amount of estrogen delivered directly into the skin induces profound anti-aging effects.
A six-month study of perimenopausal women was conducted at the University of Vienna in Austria comparing the topical application of estriol and estradiol creams. The doctors found that skin symptoms of aging improved, and that those treated with estriol obtained superior results in decreased wrinkle depth, with no systemic hormonal side effects noted.
In another study, twenty women with mild crow's feet, rough textured skin, and moderate skin tone with some blotching and imperfections applied a topical solution containing estriol with 15 other ingredients on only one side of their faces over a six-week period. All of the subjects reported that their skin texture on the treated side was smoother and that the quality of their skin had improved, while 90% and 80% said that the moisture content and elasticity of their skin had increased, respectively giving them a healthier and younger-looking appearance. Clinical assessments showed a baseline improvement of 19% increase in elasticity and 9% increase in moisture in the skin after just one week.
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