POSTED: 30 Apr 2024

Do Oestrogen Face Creams Really Work?

Sometimes it feels like the beauty industry throws a new product at us everyday. These often promise to reverse the signs of ageing and deliver younger more radiant skin. Disappointingly, a lot of the time, these products are over hyped and generally subtle variations on existing skincare staples. It is rare to find something new or different let alone one that actually lives up to the promise. Oestrogen face creams are increasingly hailed as a game-changer in anti-aging skincare in the USA and its only a matter of time before they make waves in the UK. In this article we take a deep dive into how and if oestrogen creams for the face work. We also explore the benefits of using oestrogen creams on your face, side effects and the best way how to use them in your skincare routine.

What is Oestrogen Cream

These are creams you apply to your skin that contain a natural hormone called Oestrogen (aka Estrogen). Oestrogen plays a crucial role in the reproductive system and secondary sexual features. Cosmetic Oestrogen creams, leverage the hormone’s properties to rejuvenate skin by promoting hydration, elasticity and smoothness. These creams aim to enhance skin elasticity and improve moisture retention. Oestrogen creams also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production and increasing the skin’s natural hydration processes. In countries where they are available, Oestrogen face creams are mainly used for anti-aging skincare. They may also reverse the effects of ageing and environmental damage to provide a plumper and more youthful complexion. They are particularly useful for individuals experiencing hormonal changes, such as post-menopausal women, who notice significant benefits in skin texture and firmness.

What’s the Difference between Oestrogen Face Creams & HRT?

Oestrogen face creams and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) serve very different functions. Oestrogen face creams are topical treatments why are for local application on the skin. They primarily aim to address signs of aging such as dryness, thinning skin and wrinkles. The main focus of these creams is to enhance the skin’s appearance by increasing collagen production, improving elasticity, and boosting hydration locally without significantly affecting Oestrogen levels in the rest of the body.

On the other hand, HRT is a systemic treatment. It is typically given orally, transdermally (skin via patches) or vaginally. The purpose of HRT is to replace Oestrogen that the body no longer produces at sufficient levels post-menopause. Hence, HRT can alleviate a wide range of menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes and bone density loss. The systemic nature of HRT also carries different potential risks and benefits compared to the limited application of Oestrogen face creams.

The Science Behind How Oestrogen Skin Creams Work

Oestrogen cream works by delivering oestrogen directly to the skin, where it can work to maintain a youthful and healthy complexion. When applied, the oestrogen in the cream penetrates the skin and binds to specific receptors on skin cells. This hormonal interaction activates genes that boost the production of collagen, an essential protein for skin elasticity and strength. Collagen helps to maintain firmness and structure, reducing the appearance of sagging and wrinkles. It also helps to increase the skin’s ability to retain water which boosts hydration. This not only makes the skin appear plumper and more radiant but also helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Oestrogen creams also boost skin regeneration and repair. This effect provides a more even skin tone, reduces age spots and even speeds up wound healing.

History of Oestrogen in Skincare

The whole idea of using hormones in skincare dates back to the early 20th century when researchers first began to understand the role hormones play in skin health and aging. By the mid-20th century, as synthetic hormones became more accessible, pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies started experimenting with adding oestrogen to creams and lotions. The target of these early Oestrogen creams were primarily menopausal women. They promised to alleviate the effects of aging skin, such as dryness, thinning and wrinkles.

In the latter half of the 20th century, the use of hormone-infused products, including Oestrogen face creams started to face enormous scrutiny. Concerns over the potential systemic effects of topical hormones led to stricter regulations. In various parts of the world, including Europe and the United States, regulatory agencies required better safety testing and clearer labelling of hormone-containing products. This led to a temporary decline in their popularity as manufacturers and consumers alike navigated the new guidelines.

Despite all this there has been a growing resurgence of Oestrogen face creams in recent years. This is due to several reasons the main ones being:

  • Technological Advances have improved the way active ingredients are delivered to the skin and hence increase safety. Microencapsulation and better emulsifiers ensure that Oestrogen applied topically stays localised which reduces systemic absorption.
  • Increased Research provides better awareness of how hormones affect the skin, particularly in post-menopausal women. This has shown that topical oestrogen can significantly improve skin elasticity and moisture without the risks associated with systemic hormone replacement therapy.
  • Aging Population globally has increased demand for anti-aging products that are both effective and safe.
  • Holistic Beauty Trends in beauty have championed Oestrogen as it’s a naturally occurring hormone.
  • Clever Marketing has played a significant role in the renewed popularity of oestrogen creams. Campaigns have tapped into empowerment and self-care hence appealing to a broader demographic. These products are no longer just for menopausal women but also promoted to younger consumers as a preventive measure against skin aging.

Benefits of Oestrogen Face Cream

The main attraction of Oestrogen face creams is their effect on skin regeneration. They not only address the aesthetic concerns associated with aging but also plays a therapeutic role in maintaining and improving overall skin health. The key benefits of adding Oestrogen creams in your skincare routine are:

  • Skin Elasticity and Firmness: Oestrogen is vital to maintaining the strength and elasticity of the skin by stimulating collagen production. Regular use of Oestrogen face cream can help combat sagging, shrink pores and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Skin Hydration: Oestrogen helps increase the skin’s ability to retain moisture. This leads to better hydration levels. Well-hydrated skin looks more plump, radiant and smoother.
  • Fewer Wrinkles: By boosting collagen and hydration, oestrogen face cream can significantly diminish the appearance of existing wrinkles. It can also slow the development of new ones, especially around sensitive areas like the eyes and mouth.
  • Even Skin Tone: Oestrogen can help regulate melanin production which can reduce the likelihood of developing age spots and hyperpigmentation. This gives a more even complexion.
  • Skin Repair and Renewal: We know that Oestrogen can enhance the skin’s natural repair processes. It supports the regeneration of skin cells which helps to heal damaged skin more quickly and effectively. This is very important for skin that suffering from exposure to environmental stressors like UV rays and pollution.
  • Calmer Skin: Oestrogen face cream can have a soothing effect on the skin. It reduces redness and calms irritation. This makes it useful for those with sensitive or reactive skin.

Potential Side Effects & Risks

Although Oestrogen creams can offer significant benefits for skin health and appearance, they also come with potential side effects and risks. Commonly reported side effects include mild skin irritation, redness and sensitivity at the application site. Changing strength, formulation or frequency is often enough to manage these side effects. More concerning is that there is a potential risk of systemic absorption which means the Oestrogen gets into your blood stream. Although modern formulations typically minimise the risk of this, it is still a possibility. If it happens then you may experience hormonal side effects such as changes in menstrual patterns or mood fluctuations. Even worse is that in people with hormone-sensitive conditions (e.g certain cancers) using Oestrogen cream could potentially make it worse. For this reason, as with any product containing active hormones, it’s vital to consult a healthcare professional before starting use.

Who Should Use Oestrogen Face Creams?

Oestrogen face creams have a myriad of benefits that can give rise to more youthful and radiant looking skin. However, these creams are not suitable for everyone. You should only use them when appropriate to get the most out of the treatment and reduce risks. Typically, ideal candidates for Oestrogen skin creams are:

  • Post-Menopausal Women are the most suitable (and common) users of Oestrogen face creams. Menopause usually leads to a decrease in Oestrogen levels. This can cause significant changes in the skin, such as increased dryness, loss of elasticity and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Oestrogen face creams can address all of these skin problems and prevent them.
  • Anyone with Aging Skin might also benefit from oestrogen face creams including men and pre-menopausal women. This is because natural Oestrogen levels decrease with age in both men and women. These creams can help reduce the visible signs of skin aging, minimise pores, brighten and firm up the skin by boosting collagen production, evening out skin tone and maintaining skin moisture.
  • Those with Thin or Fragile Skin can benefit from using Oestrogen face creams to increase skin thickness and durability. Topical Oestrogen can enhance their skin’s resilience and reduce susceptibility to damage.

Who Should Avoid Them?

Despite the benefits, like anything in life, Oestrogen skin creams aren’t for everybody. In fact, if used inappropriately then can increase the likelihood a number of side effects and risks. People who shouldn’t use Oestrogen skin creams include:

  • Those with Hormone-Sensitive Conditions such as certain types of cancers (like breast, ovarian cancer, bowel or prostate), should avoid using oestrogen face creams. Oestrogen can potentially stimulate the growth of hormone-sensitive tumour cells. It is crucial for anyone with these conditions (or even if they have suffered them in the past or has a family history of them) to consult with their healthcare provider first.
  • Pregnant or Nursing Women should also avoid these. This is because we don’t have any robust data about the safety of topical Oestrogen during pregnancy or lactation. It’s also good practice to avoid these if you’re planning or actively trying to get pregnant.
  • People with Severe Acne or Rosacea should be cautious before starting hormone products as they can influence sebum production and skin cell turnover. This may exacerbate these conditions.

Where to Get Oestrogen Face Creams

So here’s where things get a bit interesting. Access to Oestrogen face creams varies massively around the world. It largely depends on each country’s specific regulations, healthcare systems and market preferences.

  • United Kingdom: In the UK, access to Oestrogen face creams is fairly limited. You can get over-the-counter plant-based Oestrogen, phytoestrogen or similar compounds which contain lower doses of active ingredients. For higher-strength Oestrogen face creams, you will need a precription from a dermatologist or other specialist healthcare provider.
  • United States: In the U.S., both over-the-counter and prescription Oestrogen face creams are widely available. Over-the-counter products typically contain phytoestrogens or very low doses of synthetic oestrogens. These can be found in pharmacies, beauty stores and online. Prescription products require a consultation with a doctor and are increasingly available through telehealth platforms.
  • European Union (EU): The EU has strict regulations on cosmetic products. Oestrogen face creams are available through pharmacies, dermatology clinics and beauty retailers, with prescriptions required for higher doses.
  • Australia: Australia also regulates oestrogen face creams under both cosmetic and therapeutic goods regulations. This depends on the product’s intended use and active ingredients. Products are available through pharmacies for over-the-counter options. Stronger, prescription-only creams must be prescribed by a healthcare professional.
  • Canada: Hormone-containing skincare products can be obtained through pharmacies with or without a prescription. These depends on the concentration of active ingredients.
  • Asia: The availability and regulation of oestrogen face creams in Asia vary widely by country. For instance, Japan has a robust market for cosmetics, including those with oestrogen, under stringent safety regulations. Countries like China and India also have markets for these products. However, they differ in regulatory standards and the prevalence of traditional and herbal alternatives that claim to provide similar benefits.
  • Middle East & Africa: In many countries in these regions, the availability of such specialised skincare products can be limited. It is often concentrated in larger cities and private clinics. Import rules and the cultural acceptance of hormone-based products also affect availability.

The popularity of hormones like Oestrogen in skincare is a rapidly evolving field which is driven by consumer demand and improved technology. This field is likely to grow rapidly over the next few years due to ongoing research and better regulation to ensure safety. In fact the next generation of Oestrogen-based skincare will likely tap into precision medicine trends so the focus will be on developing more targeted and effective treatments. That being said, these products can blur the line between skincare and medicines. It’s crucial to understand that, like Tretinoin or Botox, whilst the end goal is cosmetic, Oestrogen face creams should still be approached with caution and under medical guidance. It’s important for anyone considering the use of an oestrogen face cream to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure that they will be appropriate and safe for you to use.

At City Skin Clinic, we are super passionate about skin health and personalised skincare. You can access safe and effective prescription-strength treatments including Tretinoin and Hydroquinone through our virtual skin clinic. Our doctors treat skin conditions like acnehyperpigmentationmelasma and skin ageing. To start your personalised skincare protocol, book a virtual video consultation or use our online consultation form. The journey towards great skin starts here.

Authored by:

Dr Amel Ibrahim
Aesthetic Doctor & Medical Director
BSC (HONS) MBBS MRCS PHD
Founder City Skin Clinic
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England
Associate Member of British Association of Body Sculpting GMC Registered - 7049611

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