Female life expectancy has increased dramatically over the years from 70 to 85 in the last 30 years. This means more and more women live in a hormone-deprived state for a long period of their life. Although extended life expectancy is a bonus, it does opens up a lot of doors for age related changes in the skin. Understanding of how the lack of hormones affect the skin will not only benefit the professional skin therapist but also to the consumer that wants to maintain healthy young looking skin. The endocrine system produces and regulates hormones, which decline with age. Hormones are chemical compounds that are produced in organs such as the ovaries, adrenal glands and thyroid glands.
Unlike environmental aging, which requires external factors like UV radiation, lifestyle and pollution that cause deep wrinkling and photo-damage, intrinsic skin aging is control by our own body’s biological makeup and understanding how several very important hormones that affect on the skin can help you find the best skincare and treatments that will keep your skin healthy and young looking.
Estrogen is well research as an important group of hormone that is primarily made in the ovaries and is abundant in females. Estrogens include estradiol, the most abundant form in adult females, estriol, the primary estrogen during pregnancy and estrone, which is produced during menopause. In the skin, estrogens affect skin thickness, wrinkle formation and skin moisture. Estrogens can increase glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), such as hyaluronic acid, to maintain fluid balance and structural integrity. They can also increase collagen production in the skin, where they maintain epidermal thickness and allow skin to remain plump, hydrated and wrinkle-free. The skin is not the only external feature that benefits from Estrogens can also make hair grow long and healthy. In essence, estrogens help our skin and hair remain youthful.
Testosterone is the chief male sex hormone generally is responsible for the later onset for showing signs of skin aging due production of thicker and oilier skin but it also bring negatives increased oiliness or even adult acne and baldness.
The thyroid gland makes two thyroid hormones which affect among many things the skin dryness, menstrual cycles. Balance is key when it comes to these hormones. Too much, and the skin can become warm, sweaty and flushed. Too little and skin becomes dry, coarse, thick and even sweating is decreased. Thyroid dysfunction can also lead to thinning hair and eventual hair loss.
The affects of Menopause
What occurs to the skin during peri-menopause – the transitional period before menopause – and after menopause? During the transition into menopause, female skin may appear flushed, red and blotchy. So the loss of Estrogen hormone can also lead to increased inflammation, which can exacerbate certain conditions like rosacea. As stated above estrogen plays a major role in the collagen and elastin network of the skin. Losing estrogens mean dehydration and lost of collagen production and is the bases of wrinkle formation. Also with the reduction in production of hormones also leads to the reduction of the number of blood vessels in the skin, resulting in nutrients traveling to the skin’s surface. This leads to pale, thin and dry skin.
What can be done to help rejuvenate the skin of a woman that is affected by the reduction of hormone production.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy Research has shown improvements in skin elasticity, moisture and skin thickness in women using either topical or oral hormone replacement therapy (HRT) but some studies have shown that skin will not improve damage from environmental damage from the sun. Plus one of the side affects can be an increased pigmentation on cheeks after
- The use of ingredients that boost collagen production in the skin. Collagen production is affected during hormonal loss. With the use of topical skincare that contains:
- Retinoid, part of the vitamin A family has a great track record in increasing collagen and controlling pigmentation.
- Vitamin C, which has also been shown to boost collagen production, also brightens skin and evens out skin tone.
- Peptides that increase production of elastin, collagen and GAGs like palmitoyl tripeptide-38 and palmitoyl pentapeptide will benefit dry, loose skin by plumping and firming skin effectively.
- The use of anti-inflammatory ingredients to reduce the affects of hot flashes has on the skin. With the reduction of hormones the skin becomes more easily inflamed, products that contain anti-inflammatory ingredients like avena sativa extracts, chamomile and bisabolol, even peptides that control neurogenic inflammation. During hot flashes, we may want to constrict the capillaries with topical caffeine and avoid lifestyle trigger factors such as heat, sun, alcohol and high sugar intact. The use of ingredients that will help keep the skin hydrated. A dehydrated epidermal barrier benefits from essential fatty acids, phytosterols and ceramides and antioxidants can be an amazing for rejuvenating the skin.
Professional treatments that can reduce the effects of lower hormone levels
There are many professional treatment that can reduce the affects of lower hormones. The treatment focus should be on increasing hydration, stimulating collagen production and re-energizing the skin. Exfoliation is a key step in rejuvenating aging skin with slowed cell renewal.
RF and Thermage will work on increasing the collagen production and tighten the skin. Also a simple 20-minute treatment is Red phototherapy that can be added to any facial treatment. Finalizing all treatment with an intense moisturizing mask that has some of the above ingredients is a fabulous way to help rehydrate the skin.
With a diet rich in healthy fats, like Omega-3s found in salmon and nuts, will help nourish skin from the inside and quality skincare products contain important ingredients like Retinoid, Vitamin C and peptides the that will help maintain youthful healthy skin during the latter years of lower hormone.