The effects of topical isoflavones on postmenopausal skin: double-blind and randomized clinical trial of efficacy

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2009 Oct;146(2):188-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2009.04.007. Epub 2009 May 17.


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of estrogen and isoflavones on postmenopausal skin morphological parameters.

Study design: A randomized, double-blind, estrogen-controlled trial was performed on postmenopausal women treated in the Gynecology Department of the Federal University of São Paulo. This study was designed to analyze the effects of topical administration of estradiol and isoflavones on facial skin for 24 weeks. The participants were divided into two groups: G1-17-betaestradiol 0.01% (n=18) and G2-isoflavones 40% (genistein 4%, n=18). Skin biopsies were performed on each patient before and after the treatment. The skin samples were processed for histological analysis, stained with haematoxylin and eosin, and examined using light microscopy.

Results: After 24 weeks of treatment, the estradiol group had a significant increase in skin parameters analyzed compared to the isoflavone group and to the baseline measurements: epidermal thickness (a 75% increase in the estrogen group and 20% in the isoflavone group), number of dermal papillae (a rise of 125% with estrogen, no significant gain with isoflavones), fibroblasts (a 123% accretion with estradiol, no significant gain with isoflavones), and vessels (a 77% increase with estrogen and 36% with isoflavones).

Conclusion: Our data suggest that estrogens may have a stronger effect on histomorphometrical parameters than isoflavones.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Aging / drug effects
  • Aging / physiology
  • Biopsy
  • Blood Vessels / drug effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Estradiol / administration & dosage
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones / administration & dosage
  • Isoflavones / pharmacology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena / drug effects*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Isoflavones
  • Estradiol