Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Menopause and Your Skin

Menopause and Your Skin
by Dr. Diane Gibby • M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S 
Menopause refers to the physical and psychological changes that occur in women as their “female” hormones (estrogen and progesterone) levels decline and menstruation ceases.

The skin, which helps to produce vitamins, regulate the body’s temperature, and prevents harmful environmental hazards such as ultraviolet light from damaging our internal organs, can be greatly affected.

The dermis is the supportive layer of the skin made up of collagen, elastic fibers (elastin) and hair follicles. Without collagen and elastin, the skin becomes wrinkled, poorly adherent to the body and loses much of its resiliency. Research has shown that estrogen has a direct effect on the thickness and plenitude of both collagen and elastin and with the onset of menopause the amount of collagen decreases by as much as 2 percent per year. Most of us recognize these changes as sagging, wrinkled skin. And because collagen and elastic fibers are a part of the supporting structure of the skin, the alterations weaken the skin making it more prone to injury.

Although the aging process cannot be stopped or reversed, there are many ways of slowing down the changes, which occur to the skin through aging and menopause. Avoiding the harmful rays of the sun and using sun protection can protect the skin. As we age our skin cells grow slower and it takes longer to repair the damage.

A good diet is also an important contributor to resilient skin. Foods rich in Vitamin E and C and selenium can reduce damage done to the skin by serving as antioxidants, which aid in fighting free radicals. Free radicals are dangerous chemicals that can sometimes cause genetic damage when they interfere with cell metabolism. But even if you stay out of
the sun and eat right, chances are your skin will still need some fine-tuning during menopause.

Dry Skin
As you age, your skin’s sebaceous glands produce less of the lubricating oil called sebum, which can lead to dry skin. Low humidity, wind and cold may make the problems worse. Fight back by using a daily moisturizer rich in alpha hydroxy acids to stimulate cell rejuvenation. Certain topical preparations such as Aesthessence, combine many natural elements together in a single formulation to replenish hormone-deprived skin. Gently exfoliating several times a week will help rid the skin of dead, dry cells and allow moisturizers to penetrate deeply.

Wrinkles: Over the years, the connective tissues collagen and elastin gradually lose their strength and elasticity, leading to wrinkles. If your skin is showing some of the ravages of time, consider the following:
Prescription creams: Tretinoin (brand name Retin A and Renova) helps slough off dead cells and steps up collagen production, firming the skin and reducing fine wrinkles.

Chemical peels: This procedure can be done in a physician’s office using light sedation. It will improve the deeper wrinkles by removing outer layers of skin. Dermal fillers. Creases from facial expressions—squinting, smiling, frowning—can be plumped up with soft tissue fillers that are either injected or surgically implanted under the skin.

Botox: Injections of Botox can be used to temporarily weaken the underlying muscles that contribute to the development of frown lines between the eyes, crow’s feet, forehead
wrinkles and neck folds. The treatment lasts three to four months.

Laser Surgery: To smooth moderate wrinkles a surgeon uses short, powerful pulses of energy to selectively destroy sun damaged outer and middle layers of skin. Lasers can also be used to remove age spots and to smooth scars.

Cosmetic Surgery: Whether an eye lift or a face lift, cosmetic surgery is the most effective way to improve deep wrinkles and sagging skin. Remember, cosmetic surgery is not intended to make you look 20 again. But rather an excellent way to improve your
appearance by giving a rested, youthful look.

For more information see Dallas plastic surgeon Doctor Diane Gibby at Medical City http://www.drgibby.com

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