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Hormones and the Skin: the Role Hormones Play as We Age

nning, called telogen effluvium. This temporary shedding can be sudden and very alarming to some women, according to Dr. Jaliman. However, hair growth will subsequently return to normal approximately four to six months following pregnancy. Nails also are affected by the hormonal changes of pregnancy with most women experiencing brittle nails, although some may be diagnosed with distal onycholysis, a separation of the nail plate from the underlying nail bed.

Menopause
As a woman enters menopause, several hormonal changes occur. The estrogen level in the body begins to lower and women will begin to notice a thinning of their skin and loss of elasticity.

"As we age, the skin often becomes drier and more sensitive than it was during adolescence and our 20s and 30s," stated Dr. Jaliman. "At this point in life, I would recommend a skin care regimen including a prescription retinoid, either tretinoin or tazarotene, or over-the-counter products such as retinol, alpha-hydroxy acids, antioxidants or peptides."

As women age, hair also is affected by the changing levels of hormones. Some women may experience a pattern of hair loss known as androgenetic alopecia, in which hair thins on the vertex or top of their head and hair becomes finer in texture. Women retain their hairline better than men with this type of alopecia, which is primarily genetic. This type of female hair loss is treated with topical minoxidil and other therapies including oral medications which can block the effect of androgens, such as hormone replacement therapy and spironolactone.

"As you age, making slight modifications to your daily skin and body care regimen can go a long way in improving the appearance of your skin, hair and nails," said Dr. Jaliman. "Your dermatologist is the best source of information when choosing skin, hair and nail products that can enhance your appearance no matter what your age."

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