September 15, 2008
Topical Estradiol Boosts Skin Collagen Production

You could smear your skin with the hormone estradiol to roll back some of the visible decay from aging.

Laure Rittié, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, recruited 70 healthy volunteers (40 postmenopausal women and 30 men, average age 75 years) with photodamaged skin. For two weeks, volunteers were treated with estradiol three times every other day both on sun-protected areas near the hip and photodamaged skin on the forearm; a 4-millimeter biopsy (tissue sample) was taken from each treatment area 24 hours after the last treatment. Participants also applied estradiol, incorporated into moisturizing cream, to their faces twice per day during the two weeks. A 2-millimeter biopsy was taken from the crow's-foot area near the eye before and 24 hours after the last treatment.

But this treatment does not work on skin suffering from sun damage.

After the two-week treatment period, applying estradiol to the sun-protected hip skin increased levels of collagen and other compounds that promote its production in the women and, to a lesser extent, in the men. "Surprisingly, no significant changes in production were observed in women or men after two-week estradiol treatment of photo-aged forearm or face skin, despite similar expression of estrogen receptors [protein molecules to which estrogen binds] in aged and photo-aged skin," the authors write.

"These findings suggest that menopause-associated estrogen decline is involved in reduced collagen production in sun-protected skin," the authors write. "Because photo-aging is superimposed on natural aging in sun-exposed areas of the skin, our results suggest that alterations induced by long-term sun exposure hinder the ability of topical estradiol to stimulate collagen production in aged human skin in vivo."

This seems doable pretty much immediately. Estradiol is already available. At least in the United States doctors have broad authority to use approved drugs for unapproved reasons. So a willing doctor could write a prescription for estradiol mixed into a cream carrier.

Sun damage leaves a lasting toll.

"Frankly, we were very surprised to find that stimulation of collagen production by topical estrogen treatment was restricted to skin not chronically exposed to sunlight. These results suggest that sun exposure alters the ability of skin to respond to topical estrogen, and point out how difficult it is to repair photoaged skin," Rittie says. The study appears in the new issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

I wonder whether transfer of skin cells from a more shaded part of the body to the face would lead to facial skin that is more responsive to estradiol.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 September 15 10:06 PM  Aging Appearances


Comments
jen said at December 17, 2010 10:09 AM:

one effect the collagen does not have is growing and improving the thickness of hair. I tried a treatement recomended over the inetrnet and the result weren't the best... but, I found a solution; the Jessica Simpson hair extensions are of the best quality and work like a charm.:)

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