HRT and my skin

Apart from several 'internal' symptoms - hot flushes, insomnia, weight gain - other aspects of our body are affected as our female hormones go haywire around the age of 50. Skin ageing accelerates and becomes more apparent: sagging skin, loss of suppleness and liver spots appear. Wrinkles deepen, skin thins and our support fibres, collagen and elastin, lose their strength. What's more, hyaluronic acid production slows, leaving our skin dehydrated. Our loss of oestrogen also coincides with an excess of male hormones or androgens, which can cause hair loss, hair growth on our faces, alongside the appearance of spots and blemishes caused by increase in sebum production.

HRT replenishes our body's oestrogen stock, which in turn boosts cells in both the epidermis and dermis. It helps to hydrate our skin as well improve suppleness and elasticity. HRT can help to smoothe out fine lines or delay the appearance of new wrinkles. What's more it balances out the excess of androgens, meaning we can kiss goodbye to coarse facial hair. However, HRT won't be able to get rid of any wrinkles caused by sunbathing, smoking etc. It's not an anti-ageing treatment as such and shouldn't be taken for this reason.

HRT isn't a life-long treatment and needs to be slowly tapered off after 2 to 5 years, once our hormonal changes have reached the end of their course. If you suddenly stop your HRT, you'll suffer from a rebound effect that will cause all the nasty symptoms to return with a fury. Chronic fatigue, insomnia, hot flashes... And dry skin. However, the results of severing HRT don't appear as harsh when it comes to the state of our skin and the skin-ageing process.