Does Lack of Estrogen Cause Wrinkles?
Studies have revealed that decreased estrogen levels in the postmenopausal stage may speed up skin complications and signs of aging, such as dryness, wrinkles, and delayed wound healing. Therefore, it is accurate to say that lack of estrogen causes wrinkles, especially in women. But how exactly does lack of estrogen cause wrinkles?
To answer this question, it’s key to understand the relationship between estrogen and the skin’s physiology. We also need to understand the effects of estrogen on skin appendages such as hair follicles and the sebaceous gland. In this article, we’ll look at how estrogen deprivation causes wrinkles and other signs of aging.
The Link Between Estrogen and the Skin
Many studies have revealed interesting benefits of estrogen to the skin. For instance, this group of hormones has been shown to help accelerate wound healing and improve various inflammatory skin complications, including psoriasis, which is common in pregnant women. Some experts also claim that estrogen is somewhat protective for the skin against the effects of photoaging.
It is also important to note that the effects of estrogen on a woman’s skin mainly depend on the changes she experiences at her postmenopausal stage. But there is also the difference in skin thickness that exists at the start of your menstrual cycle, during the menstrual cycle, and after menopause. In fact, most women experience an abrupt onset of wrinkles and other signs of skin aging just a few months after menopause.
This is because menopause causes a significant drop in estrogen levels – a condition commonly referred to as hypoestrogenism. When this condition sets in, your skin becomes thinner, triggering age-related disorders such as wrinkles and fine lines. If your skin was showing wrinkles before you entered menopause, they become much more in number and deeper. Your skin pliability and firmness also decrease significantly, further resulting in more wrinkles.
Estrogen Receptors in the Skin
Human skin has two major estrogen receptors: ER-A and ER-B.
The expression levels of these receptors starts to decrease from the perimenopausal years onward. The ER-B receptor is more widely spread within the skin than ER-A. However, both receptors are important for retaining and restoring skin moisture by promoting sebum secretion.
Estrogen hormones regulate the expression of growth factor receptors and increase the secretion of growth factors from fibroblasts, inducing lipogenesis in your sebocytes. This leads to the retention of moisture in your skin. Furthermore, these hormones improve the level of mucopolysaccharides and hyaluronic acids in the dermis layer to keep your skin hydrated.
The other important thing to note is that the continuous decrease in skin thickness is largely due to the loss of collagen in the dermal layer of your skin. Sadly, the levels of collagen are directly related to the levels of estrogen in your skin. So, if your body is no longer producing enough estrogen, the level of collagen in your skin will decrease as well, making it thinner. Research has shown that dermal collagen decreases at least 30% within the first five years after menopause and continues to decrease by about 2.1% every year.
Estrogen deficiency also causes major ultrastructural changes in your elastin fibers, resulting in reduced skin elasticity. Consequently, your skin starts to develop wrinkles and fine lines. In fact, experts claim that the rate of skin deterioration in women who have passed menopause is more connected to estrogen deficiency than chronological aging.
Other experimental data has also shown that estrogen protects the skin cells against damages caused by oxidation. Therefore, the dramatic decline in estrogen production during menopause can easily make your skin more susceptible to oxidation. While the effects of hormonal aging are still being studied, there is enough evidence to show that estrogen deficiency during menopause causes wrinkles and other skin changes.