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Estrogen prevents wrinkles, study says

A recent study suggests estrogen can help prevent wrinkles and skin dryness.

Researchers studying 3,875 post-menopausal women _ ages 40 to 70 _ found that those who used estrogen had fewer wrinkles and less dryness.

The study appears in the March issue of American Medical Association's Archives of Dermatology.

Specialists not associated with the study called it flawed, in part because it relied on women's memories of whether they had used estrogen in the past.

However, the study supports previous evidence that estrogen _ a growth-promoting hormone _ improves skin suppleness by building up collagen, a fibrous protein in connective tissue beneath the skin.

Dr. Gail Greendale, a UCLA internist and senior author of the study, said it is the first to use dermatological exams to compare the skin condition of post-menopausal estrogen users and non-users.

But University of Chicago dermatologist David Pezen said he "would not recommend that women go on estrogen just to reduce wrinkles."

Most women who take estrogen do so to help prevent symptoms associated with menopause. Research also has shown it can reduce the risks of heart disease and osteoporosis in older women. Drawbacks include an increased risk of uterine cancer.