Vine Vera tries to study the connection between Menopause, Hormone Therapy and Skin Aging with the help of various studies and trials available on the subjects. One of the most common examples of where enthusiasm for a drug’s supposed benefits surpassed supporting research is Menopause Hormone Therapy (HT). This therapy was a major feat in marketing and by the year 2002, almost 38% of older women in the US had taken one form or the other of HT. Although evidence of the relief offered by HT was properly supported by scientific data, there was no concrete proof of the supposed long term benefits that this therapy had to offer. Today, there is adequate data which shows that HT actually poses a number of health risks and as a result, many women have already stopped taking the therapy. However, some still continue to advocate that HT can help menopausal women by combating the signs of aging.
The main reason why menopause symptoms are quite evident on the skin is because of the reduction in the production of estrogen, which directly affects the moisture content and the elasticity of the skin. It is believed that lower estrogen levels lead to issues like dryness, sagging, wrinkles and skin aging. However, the converse of this assumption hasn’t been adequately proved either. For example, men with higher levels of estrogen don’t necessarily have better skin.
In fact, there is very little evidence which supports the theories that menopause leads to wrinkling. A study known as the Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS) had performed a clinical trial with 720 menopausal women. This study found that estrogen wasn’t the main cause which led to skin aging and wrinkling. This study also found that the time lapse in menopausal transitions did not affect the skin either. In fact, amongst all aging factors, only frown lines could be directly related to menopause. All other signs of aging were related to cigarette smoking and the aging process.
However, even if estrogen isn’t a major problem, women still prefer to use the therapies to minimize and prevent aging, provided the therapies work. Again, the evidence supporting the effectiveness of these therapies isn’t conclusive either. There were two trials that took place with regards to HT – one with Oral HT and the other with Topical HT. The Oral HT trial was conducted in the year 2008 by the Boston University. This study examined 485 women who were offered two doses of norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol. The results did not show any improvements in terms of skin texture, fine lines or wrinkles. The second trial with Topical HT was also conducted in the year 2009 by the University of Michigan. This study actually found benefits upon topical applications. The study showed that the estradiol cream helped to stimulate collagen production. However, these benefits were only seen on areas of the skin where sun damage wasn’t prevalent. Thus, this study also suggested that topical estrogen also has a very limited use.
Another solution that was discussed about was the option of using topical progesterone creams. This cream was used in a clinical trial conducted in the year 2005 by the University of Vienna. The study examined the effects of applying topical progesterone cream daily on the face of a menopausal woman. This study also found that although the cream had significant benefits to offer when it came to reducing fine lines and wrinkles, it could not treat skin dryness. However, this study was preliminary in nature and it was too soon to be used in over the counter products.
This goes on to show that even though HT did not offer any significant improvements, progesterone could actually help to combat the signs of aging. This led to the question if there were other solutions available as well. Well, the best way to prevent aging is to actually prevent aging. When it comes to aging, having some level of common sense and self discipline can go a long way. Protecting the skin from sun exposure and quitting smoking can alone help you to ensure that your skin stays young and you don’t succumb to premature aging. Using Retinol based skin care products (a clinically proven anti-ager) can also work wonders when it comes to preventing skin aging.
Moreover, the supposed benefits of such treatments have always been talked about. But, what about the negative side effects? Side effects such as melasma, a condition which leads to dark spots on your skin. Melasma is perhaps one of the most well documented and long lasting side effects of HT treatments.
This leads us to believe that menopause might have a minor role to play in terms of skin aging, but it is in no ways the main reason behind skin aging among middle aged and older women. What ultimately lead to skin aging are factors like smoking, sun exposure and poor skin care habits. It doesn’t make sense to rely on drugs that have very little clinical data to back them up. What ultimately helps you to keep your skin beautiful and supple is basic common sense and the sense of differentiating the right from the wrong.