The Menopause Effect on the Skin

Menopause basics

As we all know menopause is a normal part of life and leads to changing hormone levels.   These changes usually begin in the perimenopause phase which can occur several years before menopause.  Changing levels of estrogen and progesterone can lead to symptoms during perimenopause and in time when the ovaries produce less estrogen menopause symptoms can start.  The average age of menopause is 51 but can be significantly earlier or later. 

Menopause Symptoms and Effects

Menopause can have lots of symptoms including the well-known hot flashes and night sweats.  In addition to these two symptoms menopause can change the physiology of the skin in new and different ways and accelerate the aging in your skin.  Estrogen stimulates the production of proteins inlcuding collagen and elastin (that helps the skin look smooth and tight) and oils (that help moisturize the skin).  As estrogen decreases during perimenopause and menopause collagen and oil decrease in the skin and this can result in dry and itchy skin that is less able to retain moisture.  This happens all over the body and not in specific areas.  A loss of estrogen levels can also decrease blood flow to the skin which can thin the outer layer of the skin (epidermis).  A thin outer layer of the skin also contributes to a loss of moisture in the skin. Estrogen also helps to keep fat deposits under the skin which helps the skin to look smooth and firm.  As estrogen decreases the fat under the skin decreases making the skin sag more.

Skin Treatments for Menopause

Fortunately there are several things you can do to keep your skin soft and smooth during menopause!  Eating the right foods full of essential fatty acids can help your skins oil barrier to keep the skin hydrated.  Some of these foods include salmon, walnuts, flax, safflower oil, and fortified eggs.  A broad spectrum sunblock will also keep your skin from getting damaged by the sun, which can dry and wrinkle the skin even more.  Cooler showers with gentle soap will also help keep the shower experience from stripping the essential oils off of your body.  Finally moisturize your skin after showers and whenever it feels dry.

Botox Does More for Your Skin Than Just Paralyze

Botox is usually just thought to paralyze the muscles where it is injected but, new research is showing that it is doing much more than that.  Dr. James Bonaparte, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon and an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa in Canada recently found that people who use botox have an increase in the elasticity of their skin.  This elasticity seems to be coming from an increase in elastin and collagen, which are normal parts of the skin. Collagen and elastin are important components of our skin that keep our skin strong and give it elasticity.

 

Normally when we age, the production of collagen and elastin tends to decrease and repeated facial expressions can cause wrinkles.  While botox has been known to smooth out wrinkles for some, time this recent finding that botox increases elasticity was unexpected.  The increase in elasticity was discovered in a study involving 48 women with an average age of 55 years old.  These women received botox between the eyebrows and around the eyes and were followed for 4 months.  Dr. Bonaparte found that the stretchiness and elastic recoil was increased by the botox and that the women’s faces mimicked more youthful skin.  He also found that the increase in elasticity was not a byproduct of inflammation or swelling caused by the botox shots which was previously thought to be the cause. 

 

Unfortunately the effect is temporary and lasts as long as the effectiveness of the botox which is about 3-4 months.   While the way this works is unknown, Dr. Bonaparte believes that the cells that create elastin and collagen might have a receptor for botox.  If this is true it means that there might be a potential for a future drug that can help the elasticity of skin as we age.  Some other theories are that botox might be an antioxidant which could help neutralize the waste products of the muscles and allows the skin to heal or that inactivity of the muscles caused by botox allows collagen and elastin to be repaired.

 

The next steps of this research will be to see if repeated use of botox can have long-term benefits on the collagen and elastin in the face.  Prior studies have shown that long time users of botox need less botox and this might be explained by a prolonged increase in collagen and elastin.

 

For more information see:  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_152673.html

 

Nicotinamide and non-melanoma cancers

A new study was presented at an annual cancer meeting (ASCO) in Australia at the end of May.  The researchers found that patients that took 500mg of Nicotinamide (a form of vitamin B3) twice a day cut their chances of developing new non-melanoma skin cancers (basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas) by 23%.  There were 386 participants in this study averaging 66 years old and all had previously had a non-melanoma skin cancer.  Half of the people took the Nicotinamide and the other half took a placebo.  The patients that took the Nicotinamide had less new non-melanoma skin cancers or reoccurrences than the patients that received the placebo.

What does this mean?  If you are at risk of getting non-melanoma skin cancers or have already had one this might slow the growth of new cancers or the return of the same cancer.  This study however did not totally stop the cancers so this is not a miracle cure but, it is promising.  Also this study did not include melanomas which are the most dangerous of all the skin cancers. 

Even if you take Nicotinamide, cancers are still a dangerous threat and so you should always protect yourself from the sun.  Covering up and seeking shade during the peak sun hours are great ways to protect yourself and always wear sunblock when you expect sun exposure.

 

How does Vital 3 Derm help?

Vital 3 Derm contains potent clinically proven peptides, anti-oxidants, and active botanicals that help support rejuvenation of the skin. This is all combined in an elegent moisturizing formula that goes on smoothly, feels rich and non-greasy, and gets absorbed quickly. If this was all that Vital 3 Derm contained, it would be an outstanding formulation.

In addition, Vital 3 Derm contains RejuvicolTM – The Collagen Protection system. Collagen in the skin is constantly being made and broken down. There is a balance. As we age, the balance shifts towards breakdown. Rejuvicol blocks the breakdown of collagen, shifting the balance back towards that of youthful skin.

Taken together, these components make Vital 3 Derm a powerful Anti-Aging cream in the battle to turn back the clock. Vital 3 Derm can be used alone or in combination to treatments performed at your Dermatology office.

What makes us look older and what can we do about it in a Dermatology Persepective?

In the Dermatology office we look for three components that contribute to the look of aging: Bony changes, Skin texture and quality, and loss of volume.

Bony changes occur in the face and the rest of the body as we age. In the face, such changes as widening of the eye sockets contribute to hollowness under the eyes. Other factors such as tooth loss leads to resorption of bone and skeletal changes that affect the face.

Volume loss can be seen in the temples and cheeks, leading to a hollow look. This is most often seen in people that have always been thin, as they age, and those that have recently lost significant weight. This is the reason someone that has been overweight their whole life often appears younger than their age until they lose significant weight for health reasons and suddenly look much older. In addition to volume loss, aging leads to a decrease in the amount and quality of collagen and elastin, resulting in wrinkles, saggy skin, and jowls. Besides normal aging, other factors such as sun damage, smoking, pollution, diet, and stress can all affect these processes.