Menopause is a major turning point in a woman's life that is characterized by declining ovarian function and decreased serum estrogen levels. The resulting hormonal changes particularly affect the skin, with postmenopausal symptoms such as loss of structural architecture and increased propensity to damage becoming rapidly noticeable. Interestingly, studies have shown that estrogen deprivation in postmenopausal conditions accelerates many skin changes, including dryness, atrophy, fine wrinkling, and poor wound healing. Thus, the effects of low estrogen on the skin are an important endogenous cause of aging skin in women, yet topical treatment strategies that target cutaneous symptoms are limited. The goal of this article is to provide an overview of the role of estrogen in the skin and changes associated with estrogen deficiency, as well as review alternatives to systemic estrogen therapy and describe the effects of these interventions on cutaneous aging in postmenopausal skin. Specifically, clinical studies that utilize topical estrogens and topical isoflavones, which are soy-derived compounds that interact with estrogen receptors, are discussed.
Keywords: Topical estrogen; genistein; menopause; post-menopause; skin; topical isoflavone.