While the harsh, dry winter months certainly contribute to dry skin, women often overlook an important internal factor: estrogen. As a woman, you know intimately how important estrogen is for your vitality, mood, memory and bones, not to mention reproduction.
But……did you know that estrogen is also a key player in maintaining plump, hydrated and youthful looking skin?
Estrogen helps you to both feel and look your best.
As a woman goes through peri-menopause, estrogen may fluctuate quite a bit, but will eventually settle at a new and lower level in menopause. Where high estrogen might show up on the skin as oil and acne, declining estrogen is associated with the physical signs of aging, including dry skin and the development of more fine lines and wrinkles than you’d like.
In addition, many women with low estrogen also experience thinning hair and thinning (atrophy) of the vaginal wall.
Estrogen protects your skin in several ways:
Estrogen helps to maintain skin moisture by increasing Hyaluronic acid, an important polysaccharide in the skin barrier.
Estrogen supports both collagen and elastin proteins that provide the skin structure and allows the skin to stay hydrated. Increasing collagen prevents and improves the appearance of wrinkles.
Estrogen helps to maintain skin thickness and elasticity, which is important throughout the body and especially in the vaginal wall after menopause.
Estrogen improves wound healing and bruising in the skin.
Estrogen strengthens hair follicles and increases hair growth by stimulating estrogen receptors in the scalp.
If menopause is showing up on your skin, here are some ways to improve skin hydration and thickness from the inside out:
Eat healthy fats and drink plenty of water. A simple reminder, but so helpful for keeping skin hydrated and lubricated. Give yourself the goal of drinking half your body weight in water daily. Healthy fats include coconut oil, flaxseeds, and avocados.
Consider phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like compounds naturally made by plants that bind to estrogen receptors in your body and elicit an estrogenic effect. Well known phytoestrogens found in food include soy and flax seeds.
Use natural herbs. Pueraria mirifica is a traditional herbal medicine that originates from Thailand and contains powerful phytoestrogens.This plant has been used for hundreds of years for its hormone balancing and rejuvenation processes – especially during perimenopause and beyond. By binding to estrogen receptors and modulating estrogen levels, this special plant reduces the uncomfortable symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause.
Interestingly, Pueraria mirifica contains the two strongest phytoestrogens, miroestrol & deoxymiroestrol, which are thousands of times stronger than the phytoestrogens in soy or red clover.
- Talk with your doctor about hormone replacement therapy. Research shows a positive correlation between estrogen replacement therapy and improved appearance, thickness and elasticity of the skin. Studies also show that women starting HRT, or phytoestrogens, at the beginning of menopause have a better quality of life and disease prevention than women who start later in life, postmenopausal.
- Try topicals. While we’ve mainly covered the internal effects of estrogen, topical application of estrogen or phytoestrogens is an effective treatment option not only for facial skin, but also for the vaginal lining. It enhances lubrication, thickness and elasticity.
As a woman’s estrogen levels decline through menopause, her skin health doesn’t have to decline as well! Understanding that estrogen is key for hydration and collagen formation allows you to naturally support these processes in the body and boost the skin’s youthfulness, plumpness and resilience.
What issues have you faced with skin and hair health?