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Skin climacteric aging and hormone replacement therapy


Gérald E Piérard, MD, Department of Dermatopathology, CHU Sart Tilman, B-4000 Liège, Belgium. E-mail:


A gender perspective is indispensable for a full understanding of aging. Menopause is a turning point in women's lives. In addition to the effects of chronological aging, sunlight exposure, and other environmental and endogenous stimuli, the climacteric appears to exert some dramatic consequences on skin biology and aspect. The epidermis may become xerotic and exhibit altered functions. The dermis thins out and its elasticity decreases in concert with the decline in bone mass. The skin microcirculation is impaired. These aspects are some of the better worked-out changes of the climacteric, which in turn seem to be stabilized or in part reversible with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The HRT effect on menopause consequences on hair growth and sebum production is less impressive. This review summarizes some important impacts of the climacteric on skin, and highlights the benefits of HRT that may influence cosmetic dermatology.