Most of us recognise that oestrogen, commonly known as the ‘female’ hormone, is important for sexual maturation, breast development and child-baring. However, it also has lesser known functions related to cholesterol modulation, bone health, cardiovascular health and how the skin ageing.
As women age, the amount of oestrogen produced starts to dwindle and symptoms such as cessation of menstruation (menopause), hot flushes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, decreased libido and thinning of the skin start to occur.
The role of oestrogen in relation to skin ageing has recently become an area of increasing interest with studies showing that the hormone not only affects the function of multiple cell types within skin (including those that produce collagen), but also hair follicles, oil glands, local immunity and blood supply. In addition having primary skin physiology effects, oestrogen can secondarily expedite the appearance of ageing via increasing susceptibility to oxidative stress – causing increased skin thinning, drying, loss of elasticity and wrinkling, i.e. Lip Ageing
An exciting direction in skin care is looking at the use of topically applied oestrogens (or oestrogen precursors) in an attempt to prevent skin ageing manifestations. Watch this space!