Menopause is, along with the first menstrual period and with pregnancy, one of the key points in a woman’s reproductive life. It is characterized by permanent cessation of menstrual periods, which means that a woman is no longer capable of becoming pregnant and giving birth to children. Menopause is a result of intrinsic processes that go on in a woman’s body after she reaches certain age, processes which are mainly governed by hormones.
Hormones cause a lot of changes in the body and cause some of the characteristic menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, mood swings and such. Hormonal fluctuations also lead to certain changes in the skin’s biology. During menopause, many women complain of dry skin that loses its elasticity and shine.
Skin and menopause
In the modern society, a woman’s appearance is judged largely by the quality of the skin. Signs of aging, such as wrinkles and saggy skin, are frowned upon and naturally most people want to postpone them for as long as possible, or try to repair them. Unfortunately, these changes in the skin quality are bound to occur at a certain age and in women they are also related to menopause.
It has been scientifically proven that, due to hypoestrogenism, the skin during menopause becomes dry, thin and loses a lot of collagen. It is believed that adequate hormonal levels are necessary for the skin to maintain its structure and functionality. This has lead to research and studies focusing on the effect of hormone replacement therapy on the skin during menopause.
Hormone replacement therapy or HRT aims to restore the balance between hormones, which has a direct positive effect on many menopause symptoms. As a response to hormones that are re-introduced through this type of treatment, the processes such as loss of elasticity, wrinkling and collagen decrease are postponed and, in some cases, even reversed. The skin becomes more subtle and elastic, and visibly younger-looking.
As for the skin dryness, which is typical for menopause, it seems that HRT improves the water-holding capacity of the stratum corneum, which is the outmost layer of the skin, and the loss of that ability is one of the main reasons behind dry skin or xerosis during menopause.
It is safe to say that one of the many benefits of HRT on women in menopause is also the ability to improve the skin’s appearance, especially when it comes to preventing dry skin and wrinkles.