Why does our skin lose hydration/get dryer as we age?

Skin is dynamic and has three compartments:

  1. The epidermis, which is cellular and has cells multiplying at the bottom of the layer all the time, pushing older cells up. These cells produce a protein called keratin. As they’re pushed up, these cells die and form the stratum corneum which is a water-resistant barrier;
  2. The dermis which consists of a small number of cells, fibroblasts, that manufacture collagen fibers, (enormous protein chains that can attract and hold lots of water molecules to it);
  3. Elastin, which gives the skin its elasticity, glycosaminoglycans, which are large glycoproteins that hold water too, and the subcutaneous fat, which is our cushioning.

In a young, healthy person the epidermis would be 10-20 cell layers deep. In an older, healthy person the epidermis has only 3-5 cell layers deep under the stratum corneum.

The feeling of dryness with age is caused by a thinner stratum corneum and the slower replacement of skin cells. This results in older skin becoming less watertight, and in moisture evaporating more quickly through the stratum corneum.

For aging women in menopause, the quality of collagen fibers change, becoming thinner, fewer and less able to keep water in the dermis. The same lowered production goes for the elastin and the glycosaminoglycans.  

A decreased ability to hold water in the dermis, and increased evaporation of moisture through the stratum corneum, result in drier skin starting during menopause. 

Why do some lotions work better than others on dry skin?

Unlike other moisturizers, EpiMD is designed specifically for skin that is drying due to age. The EpiMD formula targets elements in normally aging skin that call for a different kind of help than that which is supplied by most other lotions, designed primarily for a younger, more general population.

What led you to create EpiMD?

The idea for the product actually came from my patient, Wendy Serkin, who founded SeniorSkin, Inc. Wendy’s Mom loved golf, but it took a toll on her skin, which became uncomfortably itchy, dry and brittle as she got older. She tried many different moisturizers; none of them did much good. She asked me for advice. Could I recommend a skincare product that would help? Unfortunately, I explained that there was no such product currently available. I treated at least 15,000 mature adults and nearly all of them had the same basic complaint: dryness.


Since I had a great deal of experience working in a branch of the FDA, CRDH, as a consultant for Consumer Reports, and helping to develop skincare products for Avon, Chesebrough, Unilever, and Schering-Plough, Wendy and I decided to create a product that would help people who suffer from dry skin, specifically at midlife. After many year of calculating, formulating and testing – we finally succeeded and EpiMD is the result. Wendy’s mom was the very first person to try EpiMD and it made her comfortable in her own skin again.

Does it matter how often people use moisturizers?      

It depends on the moisturizer. EpiMD is safe to use as often as needed. It is allergen tested and non-comedogenic, which means it won’t block skin pores.                                                          

Should women use SPF lotion in addition to EpiMD?

I always recommend use of a high SPF sunscreen on exposed skin when going outside in daylight hours, Although they are harder to use, I recommend the physical sunscreens, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide because they last much longer in deflecting UVA rays.

Is EpiMD recommended for younger people? 

Sure. It’s got great moisturizing ingredients including top quality botanicals proven to moisturize skin of any age.     

In addition to dryness, what other skin/complexion changes might women experience at menopause and what can they do about these issues?

Besides dryness, because of changed proteins and glycoproteins in the dermis, a lot of the skin’s tensile strength is lost, the dermis shrinks and laxity and wrinkles are the result. 

The skin is an amazing organ made to cover the fuller contours of youth. 

Now in later years its compartments diminish (including fat, but more about that in a moment), the skin sags and we see jowling, flabby necks, etc. 

Additionally, the fat quality is less firm and shrinks a bit, so we see more sagging skin in the arms, the abdomen, the face, the thighs, and buttocks. Also, in certain individuals we start to see ‘cellulite,’ which is visible as a puckering of the skin. It has been observed that fat cells enlarge as estrogen levels drop. This feature appears to be genetic.

Some women have told us they have experienced red bumps, but not pimples, on their faces (also experienced during pregnancy), but their physician says their hormone level is “fine.”  What might be causing these bumps? 

The bumps on the skin during menopause are due to hormonal shifts. In some ways, this mimics the premenstrual flares of acne and/or rosacea in younger years. Both are cases of hormonal flux at different stages in life.

Is there anything else we should have asked you about women’s skin at menopause?

It is important to keep the skin hydrated during and post-menopausal. EpiMD is an excellent moisturizing body lotion for women going through Menopause because it is very gentle. It comforts skin with hydration and moisture, while soothing dry skin that occurs simultaneously during menopause.


Amy Newburger, MD, F.A.A.D
EpiMD Creator