Progesterone Cream: Effects and Side-effects on Skin of Peri- and Postmenopausal Women

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For many years topical progesterone has been prescribed as an anti-aging and skin-firming treatment. To evaluate the effects of 2% progesterone cream on function and texture of the skin in peri- and postmenopausal women, a double-blind, randomized, vehicle-controlled study was conducted in 40 subjects. Objective methods for measuring skin elasticity and  epidermal hydration, and determination of blood hormone levels (luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, oestrogen and progesterone) were used to determine effects and side-effects of this treatment at four visits over a 16-week period. The study demonstrated a significant increase of the elastic skin properties in the women who used the 2% progesterone cream, whereas in the control group no such effect was observed. The 2% progesterone cream showed consistent superiority over vehicle in counteracting different signs of aging in the skin of peri- and postmenopausal women. Clinical monitoring showed a greater reduction in wrinkle counts (29.10% vs. 16.50%) and wrinkle depth (9.72% vs. 7.35%) around the right eye, a greater decrease in nasolabial wrinkle depth (9.72% vs. 6.62%) and a significantly higher  increase in skin firmness (23.61% vs. 13.24%) in the treatment group. Progesterone was well absorbed in the systemic circulation, but this concentration increased mean blood levels of progesterone only minimally by 0.53 ng/mL. No serious side-effects of the treatment were observed. This study demonstrates that topical 2% progesterone increases elasticity and firmness in the skin of peri- and postmenopausal women. These effects in combination with good tolerability make progesterone a possible treatment agent for slowing down the aging process of female skin after the onset of menopause.

References
Br J Dermatol. 2005 Sep;153(3):626-34.

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