Aging and wrinkles and menopause. Oh my.

Posted by on Nov 15, 2010 in appearance, women's health | 10 comments

In my weekly research, I ran across the following headline:

White women’s skin may show wrinkles sooner

The story? That after menopause, white women develop wrinkles more quickly than their black peers — not as a result of differing levels of estrogen and its decline — but because of aging.

Okay. Um. So what?  Is this really news deserving Google search result after search result? And why does it matter? Is this yet another racial divide we need to concern ourselves with, that is, that my black female friends are going to look better than me in 10 years time? Moreover, do I care?

In all fairness, the news was based on a study of 21 black and 65 white women in their 50s who had gone through menopause. The study’s goal was to evaluate skin elasticity and facial wrinkles. And while skin elasticity, which was found to be equivalent among all women despite race, is thought to be related to estrogen levels, wrinkling, which is at the skin’s surface, is believed to be subject to aging and the environment. This is not conclusive but merely speculation.

The overall message is that younger white women might want to limit sun exposure to stave off some of this wrinkling. Good advice. For black women in particular, it’s not that they won’t wrinkle but that they may not wrinkle as soon as their white friends.

Of note, this small study is part of a larger trial that is examining the effects of hormone therapy on heart disease. And as a substudy, the researchers will be collecting information on how hormones might affect (or benefit) skin aging. However, data have already shown that the reality is inconclusive when it comes to hormones and aging skin.

That’s the scientific part. Now, let’s get the larger issue.

Another wrinkle has developed in the story of discrimination (sorry for the pun): how we can add race to the “aging sucks” equation.

As women, we are already guaranteed the disappearing mirror, invisibility dilemma as we age. It interferes with our self-esteem, our relationships and our careers. So we botox and implant and lift and smooth to keep the ‘dream’ alive. Now, researchers have not even provided another reason to hate ourselves but also, to abhor friends who are racially different than we are and may have an advantage when it comes to their appearance.

Want to hear something really ironic? Research shows that as women, we possess the ultimate weapon against aging: our friends. Black, white, hispanic, asian,  native, round, thin, tall, short…yup, all flavours, all sizes, all colors. Our friends will keep us young and they will keep us healthy too.

So can we spend a bit more money, time and energy on issues that really matter to our health? Wrinkles? They just are.



  1. 11-15-2010

    Love this, “wrinkles, they just are, next?” Exactly! Do we really need to spend money on this kind of “research”?

    • 11-15-2010

      Truly, I can’t believe that this even warrants publication in Fertility and Sterility. I smell a rat and it’s called HRT.

  2. 11-15-2010

    Could be, could be. I have been thinking about how we just jump on these bandwagons without considering what we seem to know innately — blogged about it today, as a matter of fact. This may be heretical, but seems to me that we do not always need to rely on science for knowledge, no?

    • 11-15-2010

      I also took some time to follow the trail. Trial organizer is funded by a non-profit that sells to pharma. Good drug, good sales.

  3. 11-16-2010

    The best looking women are the women most confident in their own skin, regardless of color or texture. Funny thing is no matter what the treatment, surgery or hormones, some body parts age regardless. Those trying to constantly “keep the dream alive” seem to be the least comfortable in their own skin. For example, look at the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. They’ve had everything possible done under the sun to improve skin aging and you can still tell they’re all over 50. They may have sandblasted their faces, but look at the hands and neck.

    • 11-16-2010

      Sue, I always say…the truth is in the hands! Thanks for commenting.

  4. 11-17-2010

    Wrinkles don’t bother me a lot, but I don’t think people who ARE bothered by them are focusing on what’s unimportant. Life and death are important, and aging is the route we usually take to get from the former to the latter. Wrinkles are signposts along the way. So saying, “Wrinkles? They just are” to someone looking in the mirror is like saying, “Relax. You’re just looking at signs of your mortality. Chill out.”

    For women, that’s compounded by the “invisibility dilemma” and related problems with self-esteem, relationships and careers.

    All that’s my take on what’s behind those Google results, not an attempt to defend the study itself.

    • 11-17-2010

      I don’t believe that the headlines were meant to defend the study but to create news out of nothing, to encourage hatred of self, of others and of women in general. The study did nothing to further science. And warrants a “so what?” As do wrinkles. Thanks for commenting; appreciate it greatly!

  5. 3-18-2012

    I’m more than happy to find this website. I want to to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every bit of it and i also have you book marked to see new information in your blog.

    • 3-19-2012

      Thanks kindly for reading and commenting!


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