Anne Charpentier, founder of Skinobs, a company that publishes technical platforms dedicated to in vitro and ex-vivotests, sheds light on clinical evaluations of signs of aging correlated with hormonal changes, and menopause in particular.
How to clinically evaluate the modification of the skin caused by hormonal changes related to menopause?
Intrinsic skin aging correlated with hormonal deficiency, especially related to menopause, is similar to age-related aging. Its main manifestations are progressive, with great interindividual variation. These skin changes that appear, sign the hormone dependence of the skin and can lead to a decrease in self-esteem and well-being. Extrinsic aging, due to environmental factors often called exposome – sun, tobacco, alcohol, pollution, food, sleep, stress – accounts for about 70% of aging. It alters genetic capital, but it is reversible. SkinObs summarizes the different evaluation options.
The signs of skin aging due to menopause can be categorized as follows:
- Color and pigmentation of the skin: redness, radiance, senescence spots, homogeneity and radiance of the complexion,
- Skin topography: crow's feet, furrows, roughness,
- Hydration and NMF (Natural factors of hydration): epidermis, dermis
- Skin structure: density, thickness, epidermal junction, barrier function,
- Volume: Loosening of the face, oval of the face, pockets, eyelids,
- Biomechanical properties: firmness, tonicity, elasticity, collagen, etc.
Studies on the perception of hormonal skin aging show that the category of skin care for postmenopausal skin is similar to that of care related to aging factors, including intrinsic hormonal changes. In addition to the geographical variations in their regulatory status according to each country, their performance generally announces several effects related to various cellular and biochemical mechanisms (microbiota, keratinocytes, fibroblasts, melanocytes, nerve receptors...)
- Targeted on mechanisms of action: Hydration, skin relief, collagen, cellular communication, dermo-epidermal junction...
- Localized: wrinkles, oval face, neck, hands ...,
- Focused on different skin depths: epidermis, dermo-epidermal junction, dermis
Beyond a classic efficiency on the surface and structure of the skin, the care dedicated to menopausal skin provides improvements in emotional, well-being and sensoriality... The skin signs of aging continue to be studied with great precision, to provide tangible evidence of the performance of the product. The promise is usually a recovery of the elasticity of the tissues, volumes and shape of the face. The table below summarizes the various associated claims.
How to objectively "pro-aging" care for skin affected by hormonal changes related to menopause?
If we integrate the notion of "well-being" into the proposed care, the term "Pro-age" or "plain-age" seems more appropriate than that of "anti-aging", because it takes more account of the state of the skin as a whole. Many pro-aging performance analysis solutions are available to cosmetic brands to clinically demonstrate the effects of their products via biometrological and scientific measurements.
The identification of the properties of these "pro-age" products is based on a sensory, sometimes sensorineural and holistic approach. Feelings and impacts on quality of life are measured. 5 main categories of tests are available to investigators: consumer tests, sensory or emotional analyses, biometrological studies, clinical scores.
SkinObs has listed in the table below the devices to validate the performance of care products to combat hormonal changes caused by menopause, via quantitative, semi-quantitative or imaging objectification. The protocol can be multiparametric, depending on the effects to be studied.
We recall that it is essential to take the time, with the testing laboratories, to design each protocol and to define precisely, the inclusion criteria, the kinetics of the time measurements, the conditions of treatment, the most suitable instrumental method.
Prospects for the development of evaluation processes
Imaging of the skin, from the centimeter to the nanoscale is increasingly crucial. It makes it possible to measure with great precision the different elements and structure of the skin: water, lipids, dermo-epidermal junction, extracellular matrix, fibers etc.
These various high-tech biometrological measures lead to linking technology to new digital uses of personalization, from the shop to the bathroom. This connection between objectification and the digital way of choosing and buying can bring geneticists closer to the reality of marketing. Whether for aging, radiance, biomechanical properties or hydration, the different techniques provide a higher resolution, a wider measurement area, non-invasive, non-contact and direct methods. Algorithms and statistics will be the key factors for the success of these new technologies.