Sun-damaged skin does not improve with estrogen treatments

Sep 15, 2008

Treating the skin with estrogen can stimulate collagen production—which improves the appearance of the skin—in areas not typically exposed to the sun, according to new research from the University of Michigan Health System.

But in sun-damaged skin, the same treatment does not increase collagen production, the study found. The findings elucidate why it is so difficult to reverse the effects of sun damage on the skin, says lead author Laure Rittie, Ph.D., research investigator in the U-M Department of Dermatology.

"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.

Seventy seniors—40 post-menopausal women and 30 men—participated in the study. Researchers analyzed biopsies of skin taken from the patients' hips, and either forearm or face, before treatment began and after it ended two weeks later.

The study participants all had photoaged skin—that is, sun-damaged skin that appears dry, with coarse wrinkles and uneven pigmentation.

Participants were treated topically with the estrogen medication called estradiol. They were given doses of 0.01 percent, 0.1 percent, 1 percent or 2.5 percent, or a vehicle that contained no estradiol.

Estradiol was found to increase collagen levels in women's hip skin more than threefold, on average, compared with the inactive medication. This included procollagen I and III mRNA levels. In men, the collagen levels increased by a factor of about 1.7 on average. The improvements were higher when the doses of estradiol were higher.

In contrast, collagen levels in the photoaged skin on the forearm and face did not improve significantly with treatment, no matter the dosage of estradiol.

Source: University of Michigan

Explore further: FTC clears Sun Pharma's $4B purchase of competitor Ranbaxy

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Skin ages differently for men, women

Oct 06, 2006

Researchers at Germany's Friedrich Schiller University, using an experimental measuring device, suggest that men's and women's skin age at different rates.

Recommended for you

Why aren't there any human doctors in Star Wars?

Jan 30, 2015

Though set "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away," it isn't hard to see in the Star Wars films a vision of our own not so distant future. But Anthony Jones, a physician with a long background in health ...

Cambodia bans 'virgin surgery' adverts

Jan 29, 2015

The Cambodian government has ordered a hospital to stop advertising so-called virginity restoration procedures, saying it harms the "morality" of society.

What's happening with your donated specimen?

Jan 28, 2015

When donating blood, plasma, human tissue or any other bodily sample for medical research, most people might not think about how it's being used. But if you were told, would you care?

Amgen tops Street 4Q forecasts

Jan 27, 2015

Amgen Inc. cruised to a 27 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit and beat Wall Street expectations, due to higher sales of nearly all its medicines, tight cost controls and a tax benefit.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.