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A study from Italy shows that postmenopausal vaginal and facial skin thinning and wrinkling are caused by loss of collagen, the rubber bands deep in the skin and vagina, that allow them to spring back when stretched (1).

Estrogen slows the 8.6 percent reduction in skin thickness that occurs every 10 years after the menopause (2,3) and estrogen creams can prevent thinning of the skin, wrinkling and spotting on the faces (4,5,6,7,8) and vaginas of postmenopausal women. Estrogen pills can cause uterine cancer unless postmenopausal women are also given the second major female hormone, progesterone, because estrogen stimulates the uterus to grow, while progesterone, stops the stimulation. Women given only estrogen have their uteri stimulated all the time which can lead to uncontrolled growth, which is cancer. However, after applying estrogen creams to their faces three times a week for 6 months, women do not develop precancerous changes in the uterus, a rise in blood estrogen or changes in brain hormones that control estrogen production.

Your doctor can write a prescription for readily available thick and greasy 0.01% estrogen vaginal ointments. If you dilute the vaginal ointment with equal parts of your favorite facial cream, you will have a cosmetically acceptable cream that you can apply to your face three times a week. Your pharmacist can make up the cream by adding 18.75 mg of Premarin powder to one ounce of facial cream. Check with your doctor.

1) P Affinito, S Palomba, C Sorrentino, C DiCarlo, G Bifulco, MP Arienzo, C Nappi. Effects of postmenopausal hypoestrogenism on skin collagen. Maturitas, 1999, Vol 33, Iss 3, pp 239-247.

2) GE Pierard, C Letawe, A Dowlati, C Pierardfranchimont. Effect of hormone replacement therapy for menopause on the mechanical properties of skin. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 43:6:(JUN 1995):662-665. HRT has a beneficial effect on stretching of skin and thus may slow the progress of intrinsic cutaneous aging.

3) A Callens, L Vaillant, P Lecomte, M Berson, Y Gall, G Lorette. A study of the influence of different hormone therapy regimens on the skin of postmenopausal women using non-invasive measurement techniques. Dermatology 193:4(1996):289-294. Conclusions: Postmenopausal women who were receiving hormonal substitution have a greater thickness and casual level than untreated women, We therefore suggest that hormonal aging exists and that cutaneous atrophy can be prevented with hormone replacement therapy.

4) JB Schmidt, M Binder, G Demschik, C Bieglmayer, A Reiner. Treatment of skin aging with topical estrogens. International Journal of Dermatology 35: 9 (SEP 1996):669-674. The effects of 0.01% estradiol and 0.3% estriol compounds. Conclusions. Both estrogen compounds were found to be highly effective in preventing or treating skin aging in perimenopausal women, clinically, by measurement data, and by an increase in collagen Type III.

5) DC Bauer, D Grady, A Pressman, SR Cummings, D Black, HK Genant, C Arnaud, W Browner, L Christianson, M Dockrell, C Fox, C Gluer, S Harvey, M Jergas et al. Skin thickness, estrogen use, and bone mass in older women. Menopause - the Journal of the North American Menopause Society 1: 3 (FAL 1994):131-136.

6) JB Schmidt, M Binder, W Macheiner, C Kainz, G Gitsch, C Bieglmayer. Treatment of skin ageing symptoms in perimenopausal females with estrogen compounds. A pilot study. Maturitas 20: 1 (NOV 1994):25-30.

7) P Creidi, B Faivre, P Agache, E Richard, V Haudiquet, JP Sauvanet. Effect of a conjugated oestrogen (Premarin(R)) cream on ageing facial skin. A comparative study with a placebo cream. Maturitas 19: 3 (OCT 1994):211-223.

8) C Eisenbeiss, J Welzel, W Schmeller. The influence of female sex hormones on skin thickness: evaluation using 20 MHz sonography. British Journal of Dermatology 139: 3 (SEP 1998):462-467.

Checked 8/9/05

May 16th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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