Hormones & Skin Health:
EPH Face Cream

College Pharmacy’s EPH Face Cream is a unique formulation containing a low-dose estriol in a special lipodermic base containing hyaluronic acid and phospholipids.

As with any compounded formulation, our EPH Face Cream does require a prescription. Please contact us is you are interested in the formulation and would like a practitioner referral.

Treatment of skin aging with topical estrogens


The coincidence of climacteric symptoms and the beginning of skin aging suggests that estrogen deficiency may be a common and important factor in the perimenopausal woman. Often hormones have been considered important in endogenous aging of the skin, but their role has not been clearly defined. Therefore, we investigated whether topical treatment of the skin with estrogen could reverse some of the changes in the aging skin.

Material and Methods:

The effects of 0.01% estradiol and 0.3% estriol compounds were compared in 59 preclimacteric women with skin aging symptoms. Monthly determinations of estradiol (E2), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and prolactin (PRL) were done and the monthly clinical monitoring was supplemented by measurements of skin hydration by corneometry and profilometry. In 10 patients, skin biopsies were taken for immunohistochemical determination of collagen types I and III.


After treatment for 6 months, elasticity and firmness of the skin had markedly improved and the wrinkle depth and pore sizes had decreased by 61 to 100% in both groups. Furthermore, skin moisture had increased and the measurement of wrinkles using skin profilometry, revealed significant, or even highly significant, decreases of wrinkle depth in the estradiol and the estriol groups, respectively. On immunohistochemistry, significant increases of Type III collagen labeling were combined with increased numbers of collagen fibers at the end of the treatment period. As to hormone levels, only those of PRL had increased significantly and no systemic hormonal side effects were noted.

Schmidt JB, Binder M, Demschik G, Bieglmayer C, Reiner A.
Department of Dermatology, University of Vienna Medical School, Austria.

Int J Dermatol 1996 Sep;35(9):669-74

An Overview: Estrogen & Skin Health

As the population of postmenopausal women increases, interest in the effects of estrogen grows. The influence of estrogen on several body systems has been well-documented; however, one area that has not been explored is the effects of estrogen on skin. Estrogen appears to aid in the prevention of skin aging in several ways. This reproductive hormone prevents a decrease in skin collagen in postmenopausal women; topical and systemic estrogen therapy can increase the skin collagen content and therefore maintain skin thickness. In addition, estrogen maintains skin moisture by increasing acid mucopolysaccharides and hyaluronic acid in the skin and possibly maintaining stratum corneum barrier function. Serum levels are higher in postmenopausal women receiving hormone replacement therapy. Skin wrinkling also may benefit from estrogen as a result of the effects of the hormone on the elastic fibers and collagen. Outside of its influence on skin aging, it has been suggested that estrogen increases cutaneous wound healing by regulating the levels of a cytokine. In fact, topical estrogen has been found to accelerate and improve wound healing in elderly men and women. The role of estrogen in scarring is unclear but recent studies indicate that the lack of estrogen or the addition of tamoxifen may improve the quality of scarring. Unlike skin aging, the role of endogenous and exogenous estrogen in melanoma has not been well established.

Shah MG, Maibach HI.
University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, San Francisco, California, USA.

Am J Clin Dermatol 2001;2(3):143-50

Hormone Replacement Therapy and Skin Health: EPH Face Cream

Estrogens have a profound influence on skin. The hypoestrogenism occurring after the menopause leads to measured deterioration in the skin. Estrogen receptors have been identified in the skin and the concentration of these receptors varies in the different parts of the body. Estrogen improves skin in more than one way: the collagen content and quality is improved, skin thickness is increased, while vascularisation is enhanced. The extracellular matrix responsible for the tone and appearance of the skin is also improved. It is not just the skin that shows an improvement with estrogen therapy but also skin appendages, such as hair. Estrogens have been shown to increase the hair follicle life cycle. Skin aging is not totally estrogen dependent because the ravages of age and the external environment play very important roles. The effects of estrogen on skin need further elucidation, and with the emergence of newer techniques it is now possible to study more clearly the changes occurring at the cellular level. Estrogen replacement reverses the deleterious effect of estrogen deprivation on the skin, which is thus yet another organ that benefits from hormone replacement therapy.

Brincat MP
School of Human Development, Queens Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.

Maturitas 2000 May 29;35(2):107-17

Phospholipids affect stratum corneum lipid bilayer fluidity and drug partitioning into the bilayers

Phospholipids, e.g., fluid-state EPC (l-alpha-phosphatidylcholine from egg yolk), may diffuse into the stratum corneum and enhance dermal and transdermal drug penetration, while many other phospholipids, e.g., gel-state DSPC (distearoylphosphatidyl choline), are not able to do this. These effects are suggested to be due to the interactions between the phospholipids and the skin lipid bilayers, and so an in vitro method was developed to evaluate the influence of phospholipids on the distribution of drugs to stratum corneum lipids. The distribution coefficients of estradiol, progesterone and propranolol between stratum corneum lipid liposomes (SCLLs) without phospholipids or with EPC, DSPC, SPC (l-alpha-phosphatidylcholine from soybean) or DOPE (dioleylphosphatidyl ethanolamine), and pH 7.4 buffer were determined. Fluid-state phospholipids in SCLLs increased the partitioning of drugs into SCLLs, while gel-state lipid, DSPC, did not. The increased distribution of drugs into the SCLLs was at least partially due to the increased fluidity of SCLL bilayers by phospholipids, which was shown using steady-state fluorescence anisotropy. This in vitro method enables screening of the effects of phospholipids and other permeation enhancers on stratum corneum bilayer fluidity and drug partitioning.

Kirjavainen M, Monkkonen J, Saukkosaari M, Valjakka-Koskela R, Kiesvaara J, Urtti A.
Department of Pharmaceutics, University of Kuopio, P.O. Box 1627, FIN-70211 Kuopio, Finland.

J Control Release 1999 Mar 29;58(2):207-14