SKIN AND MENOPAUSE
Menopause is the most obvious aging process in women. It happens around fifty years and is caused by a drastic reduction of oestrogens. During menopause, women witness a series of changes in their body, mainly related to extensive oestrogen deficiency.
During the first five years of menopause, there is an abrupt decline of both the collagenous component of the skin, with a consequent decrease of suppleness and elasticity of the skin, and a considerable loss of bone mass, which increases the risk of fractures.
The skin becomes thinner, and acquires a characteristic translucency. The thickness of the dermis decreases by 1% a year during the first twenty years of menopause: but it is in the five years that follow the women suffer a loss of about 30%. After that, the decrease rate slows down so, on average, for each year during the twenty years following the end of the menstruation phase, the amount of collagen fibres decrease by 2%, the distensibility of the skin increases by 1%, with a loss in skin elasticity.
The depletion of skin collagen is therefore related to the duration of hormonal deficiency, rather than chronological age. Histochemistry shows rarefaction and fragmentation of the matrix fibers, a decrease of collagen type I and type III and the III/I ratio. The presence of hyaluronic acid also drops along with the production of proteoglycans, compromising the level of hydration and tightness of the dermis.