Medically Reviewed by Dr. George Touliatos
Ageing is a natural process that all of us must undergo at a certain time and pace. As you age, you experience several changes in the body, including the formation of wrinkles, skin dryness, and the appearance of age spots. These changes are inevitable, but you can still reduce or reverse them.
Many age-related changes occur due to the reduced production of hormones. Therefore, you can reverse the ageing signs by replacing the hormones your body can no longer make. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one such treatment option that restores the levels of estrogen and progesterone. Thus, it may help in reducing skin ageing and other age-related problems.
Skin is the largest organ of the human body that provides protection from the outside world. It acts as a barrier between external and internal environments. Skin also prevents the invasion of disease-causing bacteria and germs. It maintains body temperature and moisture levels.
Your skin is made up of three layers. The outmost layer is called the epidermis. Its primary role is to provide protection against harmful external factors. The layer beneath the epidermis is called the dermis. It contains hair follicles, lymph vessels, blood vessels, and glands. Elastin and collagen are the structural proteins that maintain the elasticity and structure of the dermis. The innermost skin layer is called the hypodermis. It maintains body temperature and contains fat cells that act as a cushion and protect the underlying structures.
Your skin keeps changing with age due to external as well as internal factors. These changes become more prominent as you grow older, and they reflect ageing. Skin ageing can be intrinsic ageing, photoaging, and hormonal ageing. Intrinsic ageing is due to genetic factors and age. Photoaging results due to exposure to sunlight, and hormonal ageing is because of the fluctuations or deficiency of hormones.
Skin ageing starts when muscles underneath your skin become weak and less supportive. Fat cells present in the hypodermis layer may also shift, leading to the sunken cheeks. Production of structural proteins like elastin and collagen also declines. As a result, your skin loses its elasticity and structure. Your skin fails to counteract the effects of gravity and sags down. Oil and sweat glands present in the dermis also reduce in number, which makes your skin drier. Blood vessels become very fragile. You bruise very easily and heal very slow due to the slow production of new cells.
With age, the levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone also decline. Both help skin in maintaining its function and structure. A reduction in their production has a negative influence on skin health. Therefore, some people go for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that replenishes these hormones.
Estrogen plays several important roles, and one of them is maintaining your skin’s function and structure. It regulates the immune system and helps with wound healing. Pregnant women who produce more estrogen than other women notice an improvement in inflammatory skin problems. It may also provide protection against skin cancer and photoaging.
Estrogen promotes sebum secretion and maintains skin moisture. It is also associated with skin thickness and collagen production. All in all, it reduces skin wrinkles, maintains hydration, and keeps the skin healthy. As women age, estrogen production starts declining in their bodies, and estrogen reaches its lowest amount when they hit menopause. That is why a lot of menopausal women notice a sudden increase in ageing signs after a few months of menopause.
Estrogen-deficient skin turns into dry and wrinkly skin. Wounds and bruises take more time to heal. Skin gets thin and saggy. If skin ageing is due to estrogen deficiency, then restoring the concentration of estrogen through treatments like hormone replacement therapy could be the suitable choice.
Like estrogen, progesterone has been shown to improve skin hydration, elasticity, and its overall health. It can prevent and reverse skin ageing signs. When women reach menopause, their bodies produce very little progesterone. Due to the decrease in progesterone levels, several changes occur in the body, including the formation of wrinkles, age spots, etc. You can restore the deficiency of estrogen and progesterone hormones with the help of hormone replacement therapy.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has become an advanced anti-skin ageing treatment. It restores the hormones that your body has stopped producing. This way, it reverses the effects of the deficiency of those hormones as well.
HRT alleviates the symptoms such as skin dryness and fine lines, and reverses other age-related changes like bone loss, a decline in the function of nervous system, etc. HRT supports your skin from the inside. It boosts the production of collagen, and your skin starts gaining its elasticity back. Your skin starts retaining moisture which gives it a fresh and plump look. Studies also prove that women who have hormone replacement therapy have healthier and younger skin compared to those who never had this treatment.
Rather than worrying about your wrinkles and skin health, talk to a doctor about HRT and its relation with your skin. This treatment can help you reverse the ageing clock and have younger skin if your skin is suffering due to hormonal imbalance or deficiency.
HRT is an effective treatment, but it may not be suitable for all. There are other ways that can assist you in protecting your ageing skin. Some of the most common ways include:
Water is a huge blessing of nature. Take full advantage of it and drink plenty of water every day. It will keep your skin supple, fresh, and moisturized. As we age, our oil glands become less and less active. It makes ageing skin dry and itchy. You can reverse this effect through higher water consumption.
Dietary sources also provide enough water. So, eat a sufficient amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. They will provide the needed minerals, vitamins, and water. You can also apply moisturizing lotions or creams to reduce skin dryness.
Around 90% of skin ageing occurs due to the sun. You can protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun by using sunscreen. People who apply sunscreen daily have 24% less skin ageing compared to those who do not apply sunscreen when needed. Protect your skin from skin cancer and early ageing by using barriers like sunscreen.
A diet that contains all ingredients required for healthy living can also help you protect your ageing skin. What you eat has a great impact on your skin’s health. Your diet provides three main benefits to the skin. The protein and healthy fatty acids (olive oil, almond oil, etc.) taken through food provide the building block for skin tissue. They boost the production of elastin and collagen protein and help the skin restore its structure.
A healthy diet also provides anti-ageing ingredients like vitamins and anti-oxidants. They reduce the damaging effects of oxidative stress by repairing the skin. Similarly, polysaccharides obtained through algae and mushrooms inhibit skin degradation and maintain its natural structure.
Exercise has a multitude of benefits. It not only tones your muscles but also helps the skin in several ways. Exercise is a great stress-reliever. Stress has a negative influence on your skin and can cause early ageing. You can release stress and protect your skin from its damaging effects by exercising regularly. Exercise can also boost blood circulation that naturally reduces as we age and make your skin look brighter and healthier.
Facial movements like squirting can speed up the wrinkle formation process. Therefore, try to keep your facial muscles as relaxed as possible. If you think you have been squinting a lot, you may need to get your eyesight checked by a doctor.
Having weak eyesight is common among older people. Therefore, getting them checked will help you find the real reason behind squinting and provide its suitable solution too. Use different stress management techniques like yoga, exercise, and meditation to get rid of stress and relax your facial as well as body muscles.
Sleep at least 8 hours a day. Your body restores itself during sleep. Blood circulation increases, and skin damage caused by UV exposure gets repaired. So, sleep deprivation can accelerate intrinsic ageing by affecting the skin healing process negatively.
There is no denying that estrogen and progesterone exert different beneficial effects on the skin. Reduction in their levels due to old age or other reasons has a detrimental effect on skin health. You can correct this damaging effect by restoring estrogen and progesterone levels with the help of HRT. This treatment will not only improve your skin health but will also reduce age-related issues like bone loss, etc.
This article has been researched and written based on scientific evidence and fact sheets that have then been crossed checked by our team of doctors and subject matter experts.
References, sources and studies used alongside our own in-house research have been cited below, most of which contain external clickable links to reviewed scientific paper that contain date stamped evidence.
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