Where does collagen disappear to after the age of 40? And how is this connected to wrinkles and estrogen?
Do you ever look in the mirror and see a face that you don’t recognize? Your facial skin is less shiny. Instead of shiny and vibrant, all you see are signs of fatigue. The bags under your eyes are not just an outcome of a sleepless night. The wrinkle in between your eyebrows, that would once just emphasize an angry face, doesn’t disappear anymore when you change your expression.
We all know that wrinkles are a result of sun damage over the years, but not only. One of the least known reasons for wrinkles is hormonal changes that begin around the age of 40.
What is the connection between wrinkles and hormones and what is collagen?
Around the age of 40 there is a gradual decrease in the secretion of estrogen, the female sex hormone. When the estrogen levels decrease, the body produces less collagen. Collagen, which originates from the Greek word “glue”, provides the skin with fullness that keeps it flexible and fresh. Besides influencing the elasticity of the skin, collagen also has an effect on the elasticity of the bones and joints, and on the moisture and dryness in the eyes.
The decrease in the secretion of estrogen also causes a decrease in the level of fats under the skin. When the fatty glands are less active, the skin becomes thinner and loses its moisture. In addition, the process of the skin ridding itself of poisons also slows down. As a result, the skin, which is more exposed to the damages of the sun and environmental pollution, “sinks”, becomes gray or yellow, develops wrinkles, not only around the eyes, the mouth and the jaw, but also on the neck and chest.
What can be done?
Even though it seems that the process is irreversible, there are some things you can do in order to slow it down, and even to amend it and make your skin younger.
Wrinkles are more visible when your skin is dry, therefore it is essential to wash your face with facial soap that is suitable for dry skin and that can restore moisture. The time has come to change your moisturizer to a stronger one, and to apply it on your face and neck when the skin is still moist.
The decrease in estrogen affects not only your facial skin but also the skin on your hands. When the skin on your hands loses its moisture, collagen and fat, the veins and bones protrude more and the skin looks translucent and dry. Therefore, it is important to use hand cream on a daily basis, and to protect them from the sun.
Overexposure to the sun damages collagen. But, even though wrinkles, and worse- skin cancer, are caused by the amount of sun we were exposed to ten or even twenty years ago, it is important to continue to protect your skin. At the age of 40, the skin has less of a natural protection than it does at the age of 20. Daily use of sun protection cream also prevents sun spots.
When the quality of your skin changes, sun spots are more visible. If you have spots on your face, hands or neck, you can blot them out with creams and masks that remove dead cells.
A diet rich with soy and natural proteins (humus, nuts, nut spreads), and foods that are rich with anti – oxidents, like fruits and vegetables in different strong colors, assist in refreshing the skin from within.
Physical activity helps the skin in three ways – by improving blood circulation, reducing pressure and improving quality of sleep. The rate of blood circulation slows down with age. During physical activity, the flow improves and the blood is full of oxygen, which improves the look of the skin and causes it to look healthy and shiny. Physical activity also assists in reducing pressure. When you are pressured, the body creates the cortisol hormone, which damages collagen and causes dryness and skin sensitivity. Pressure also affects quality of sleep. Lack of sleep affects the rate of metabolism. Beauty sleep of 7-9 hours a night allows the body to recharge and the skin to look fresh.
Besides the changes in lifestyle, making sure you eat correctly, physical activity, and a healthy life style in general (smoking, for instance, damages collagen), it is essential that you know how the hormonal changes affect the skin. You can balance the hormonal system (also without hormones) with food supplements that improve skin health and your health in general, not just today but for the rest of your life.