You’re probably (definitely) familiar with estrogen as the main female reproductive hormone — you know, the one responsible for the growth of your boobs and the regulation of your period. But estrogen actually plays a big part in the health of your skin, too. As women age, estrogen levels drop, which precipitates menopause and something known as Estrogen Deficient Skin, or EDS for short. The signs your skin is lacking its favorite hormone? Dryness, dullness, fine lines… basically, all the markers of premature aging. In other words: A little extra estrogen may be all you need to maintain your youthful glow.
“Estrogen has a beneficial effect on the skin, enhancing wound healing and helping to promote skin hydration, along with collagen and elastin production,” Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist at Zeichner Dermatology in New York City, confirms to The Zoe Report. “During the perimenopausal period, estrogen levels tend to decline in women.” The perimenopausal phase comes before menopause — sometimes, significantly before menopause. Perimenopause is most likely to start in your 40s, but has been shown to start in the 30s (and potentially, even earlier than that). Cue sagging, loss of moisture, and wrinkles.
So, how can you tell if you’re dealing with run-of-the-mill aging or EDS? First of all, your age is a factor — the issue primarily affects women in their late 30s and beyond. “Women may be experiencing EDS if they notice their moisturizer is no longer working, their skin has lost its ‘glow,’ or they may have more [creases] around their eyes, lips, and nose,” a representative for Emepelle, a skincare brand focused on treating EDS symptoms, adds in an email to TZR. If you want to know for sure if you’re estrogen-deficient, Dr. Zeichner suggests asking your doctor about a specialized blood test to detect hormone levels.