Search results for aging skin

“Beauty’s but skin deep…

Posted by on Jun 7, 2008 in women's health | 0 comments

Nay, it is not so…” John Davies, Hereford, 1616

I was at the hairdresser this morning reading a trashy mag and ran across an advert for Curel Lifestages Moisturizing Lotion for Menopause and Beyond. If you interested in checking out the product, web page copy claims that studies have shown that this product increases hydration and skin elasticity.

Hmmm. Menopause skin. I’ve never heard of it. Sure, I’ve heard that the skin loses its elasticity as we age and becomes thinner and dryer. In women in particular, the decline in estrogen levels has been linked to dry skin mostly around the vaginal area and also within the vagina. Obese women appear to be at risk for developing thickening, itching skin on soles of their feet and palms of their hands.

Dry skin in older women occurs as a result of a decline in the amount of sebum, or the surface film of natural oils and broken down cells; this occurs as a result of declining estrogen levels. Sebum slows down the evaporation of moisture from the skin. Note that men don’t experience a similar decline until they are in their 80s.

So what can you do about it? Sure, moisturizing can temporarily help skin appearance but aging is aging and there’s little we can do about the inevitable. Hormone replacement therapy can definitely assist with vaginal thinning if that is what ails, but if you’re like me and can’t “do” hormones, well, it seems that the option is a slippery slope.

I suspect that there are many desperate perimenopausal sisters out there willing to try anything. Me? I’ll stick to the devil I know!

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Crow’s feet? What crow’s feet?!

Posted by on Nov 14, 2011 in aging, appearance, menopause | 2 comments

Crow’s feet. Most of us start to develop them in our mid to-late 30s and by the time we reach the age of 50, they’re pretty pronounced. This is no surprise because aging skin is associated with a decline in elasticity and moisture. And, let’s face it, if you grew up with light-coloured eyes like I did, you have an even greater tendency to squint in bright light, another factor contributing to those tell tale lines around the eyes.  In women in particular, crow’s feet are a rule and not an exception, as aging is accompanied by a loss of estrogen, which has been linked with as great as a 30% loss of collagen in the dermis (the thick, sturdy layer of connective tissue that comprises about 90% of the skin’s thickness) within the first five years of menopause. Collagen, which is the most abundant protein in the body, is responsible for  skin’s durability and strength. As it declines, skin starts to sag and wrinkles form. Oh, happy day!

Unfortunately, researchers continue to debunk claims that replacing estrogen can improve the skin’s appearance. That’s the bad news. Likewise, don’t look for expensive moisturizers or facials to do the trick either. However, there are data that suggest that intake of soy isoflavones may improve aging skin. And once again, S-equol is the winner in the isoflavone antiaging department.

A bit of background…

If you are new to Flashfree, you may be unfamiliar with S-equol. Briefly, S-equol is a metabolite of a major soy isoflavone called daidzein. It has a particular affinity for estrogen receptors and possesses some estrogen-type activity of its own. S-equol is produced in the gastrointestinal tract however the ability to actually manufacture it depends on the presence of certain microflora there. Consequently, only 30% to 60% of individuals are actually able to produce S-equol on their own (although this figure is believed to be higher among Asians and vegetarians). (You can read a full range of posts on S-equol here)

Because skin cells responsible for producing collagen express estrogen, researchers believe that S-equol and its affinity for estrogen receptors may impact skin very similar to the way that estrogen does. In fact, when 101 Japanese menopausal women randomly took 10 mg or 30 mg standardized S-equol  (SE5-OH) or a sugar pill daily for 12 weeks, that is exactly what they found. Even more interesting was the fact that S-equol was studied in women who do not produce it naturally in their bodies (even though s-equol producers are believed to gain greater benefit from soy products).

Over weeks, researchers measured numerous skin parameters, including crow’s feet, wrinkles, the degree that the skin was hydrated, skin elasticity and loss of water through the skin. To equalize the playing field, measurements were taken in a room that was the same temperature and humidity level each time, and women were instructed to remove any cosmetics using the same cleansing foam 20 minutes before each exam. They were also advised not to alter anything about their diet or sun exposure during the study period.

The findings?

Both 10 mg and 30 mg daily standardized S-equol significantly improved crow’s feet wrinkles/reduced the total wrinkle area compared to placebo tablet. And,  30 mg daily dose also significantly decreased wrinkle depth as well. What’s more, ingesting S-equol supplements did not appear to affect uterine or breast tissues or hormone status, indicating that unlike hormone replacement, using S-equol to combat declining estrogen levels is safe.

So, how does it work?

Although researchers say that the need a longer observation period to confirm S-equol action on skin, they believe that like hormone therapy, it gradually boosts the quantity and quality of skin collagen, and may even help preserve skin hydration from within. Additionally, because skin aging does not solely rely on estrogen levels, S-equol may also act as an antioxidant and help transport nutrients to the upper and middle skin layers.  And more importantly, other studies have shown that when Japanese,White, Hispanic and African-American women were compared, the Asian women had the least amount of wrinkling and sagging. If you translate the findings and consider the degree of differences in wrinkling among ethnic groups, it is very possible that S-equol may benefit women living in the U.S. even more than their Japanese peers.

Is it possible that S-equol is truly a Fountain of Youth is in pill form? Yikes! This is pretty darn exciting! Me? I’m off to the store in search of standardized S-equol. Crow’s feet? What crow’s feet?!

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Wednesday Bubble: botox those emotions right out of your life

Posted by on Apr 27, 2011 in appearance, emotions | 1 comment

Still thinking about botox for your aging skin?  Well, you may take years off of y0ur face but it appears that you may also put up a barrier to one of the most important communication tools humans possess: the ability to accurately make emotional judgements based on expressions. Ultimately, this implies that botoxing not only smooths signs of aging but also numbs social interactions.

Bubble-worthy? You bet! This week we’re bursting the aging bubble wide open and challenging the societal push and pull towards the elusive Fountain of Youth.

So, what have researchers learned?

First, a bit of background and psychobabble. It is believed that facial expressions are powerful clues into inner thoughts and emotions, and that humans subconsciously mimic this expression  in order to decode, or perceive it. Less clear, however, is whether or not we can use these clues to make better judgements about one another.

To find this out, researchers conducted two experiments:

  • In the first, a small group of women received either Botox injections (which paralyze facial muscles) or Restylane filler (which plumps wrinkles) for the purpose of smoothing facial wrinkles that are most often associated with expression, i.e., frown lines, forehead and crows feet in the Botox group and frown and laugh lines in the Restylane group. They were then shown images used to convey emotional states through the eyes and surrounding areas only and asked to select the emotion that best demonstrated the respective expression.
  • In the second, the researchers applied a restrictive gel to the lower forehead, brow and area surrounding the eyes that when dried, would tighten facial muscle contractions in half the group, and then applied the gel to the inner arm in the other half. They then conducted a test in which the participants were asked to judge emotions in brief audio clips and then took a quiz that would measure how much brain power was used to evaluate emotional cues.

The findings?

Although botox didn’t completely block out women’s ability to discern emotional cues, perception was significantly lowered compared to women who had had Restylane. Interesting enough is that the researchers allude to a previous study that shows a similar dulling of reactions to emotional stimuli, implying that botox appears to interfere with emotional processing. What’s more, while the women who had restrictive gel applied to their face appeared to be better able to judge emotional expression but only the type that they would normally mimic themselves. However, the ability to judge audio emotions were the same whether the gel was applied to the face or inner arm. This suggests that facial muscle mimicry is essential.

So what do these findings really mean? Researchers say that it is possible that prolonged use of Botox could lead to changes in the way that our central nervous systems process emotions and even diminish the feedback we get from other people’s expressions. This may also effect social interactions and close relationships.

Is it an absolute? No. However, this information does suggestion that short-term gains in appearance might have longer term ramifications, such as interfering with important emotion cues and even the way the brain processes them.

I’m not sure that that’s worth the price of a smoother face. What do you think?

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The roundup: August news and tidbits

Posted by on Aug 31, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


[Credit: Special thanks to artist Darryl Willison of Please visit his site and support his work!]

One of my dad’s favorite sayings (in response to the question, “what’s going on,”) is “there’s a lot going on.” And in August, there was!

For your perusal, the highlights:

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The Roundup: June’s News and Tidbits

Posted by on Jun 29, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


[Credit: Special Thanks to artist Darryl Willison of  Please visit his site and support his work.]

I’ve decided to start a new monthly feature — The Roundup.

Developed for my dear readers who only visit this blog periodically, The Roundup will provide an ‘at-a-glance’ overview of the month’s posts. The goal? To help you save time and access the posts you care most about.

I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts about this new feature so please, share your comments.

Hence, without further ado, here are June’s highlights:

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