July 27, 2004
Beyond Moisturizer and Sunscreen
Proper female hormonal support
is essential throughout life for healthy, moist, and resilient skin,
particularly through the action of estrogen on all of our tissues.
Estrogen is responsible for the deposition of fat under the skin,
giving rise to the soft and fine-textured skin that many women enjoy
during their younger years. Estrogen also causes fluid and salt
retention in the tissues, which additionally helps to plump up and
fill out your skin.
During your reproductive years, your body produces
enough estrogen to properly support the structure of your skin,
but you lose much of this support as you go through menopause, when
estrogen levels drop significantly. After menopause, your skin tends
to gradually become thin and dry, and the underlying muscle and
fat tissues that help to give skin its support begin to shrink.
As a result, wrinkles and creases begin to become apparent and pronounced.
While I do not advocate the use of conventional
HRT as a first line of treatment for menopause, I do suggest using
safe, natural, alternative therapies such as natural estrogen
(12 mg per day) and soy isoflavones (50100 mg
per day), both of which have pronounced estrogen-like effects
on our tissues, but at much lower potencies.
The Yin of Skin
The benefits of these natural estrogens can be further amplified
when used in combination with nutritional supplements which, like
estrogen, also have hydrating effects on the skin. The moisturizing
properties of many different healing substances have been recognized
in the Asian medical model of yin and yang for thousands of years.
Yin refers to the fluids and tissues of the body, as well as its
structure, including the flesh, tendons, and bones.
Using the Asian model, women are thought to become
yin deficient when they reach menopause and their tissues
become drier and hotter. Traditional Asian medicine uses healing
substances to restore or rebuild the yin, such as royal jelly
the food of the queen bee. I recommend using 1/4 teaspoon of the
liquid form of royal jelly twice a day. Royal jelly can be purchased
at most health food stores or ordered from Glory Bee at 800-456-7923
Aloe veraa simple, succulent house plantalso
nurtures the yin with its ability to soothe, heal, and moisturize
skin. In fact, there is a large body of research that documents
the use of aloe for a variety of dermatologic conditions, including
rashes, acne scars, dermatitis, psoriasis, and wound healing. I
recommend drinking 2 to 4 ounces of aloe vera juice per day,
either mixed with water or juice or blended in a smoothie. I am
partial to Aloe Life’s whole leaf aloe juice concentrate (800-414-ALOE
or www.aloelife.com). In some
cases, aloe vera can cause diarrhea. If this happens to you, reduce
your intake until you can tolerate it comfortably.
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