Tanning and Aging

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Being able to tan is important and we need to be out in the sun to be healthy. Sometimes there are problems with our abilities to tan that need to be considered. We are not talking about over tanning, tanning artificially, or making our skin look like leather. We are discussing appropriate and healthy sun exposure, why we need that, and what to do if we have problems with it.

Have you ever noticed that men who are aging without testosterone replacement are so pale that even when they have a full day in the sun or exercising? If so you might be interested to discover that paleness comes from a lack of an important hormone that we all produce called MSH or Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone.  This is a hormone that is secreted in the posterior pituitary and gives us our protective skin color, the color of our hair, and the darker skin that surrounds our genitals.

It is true that testosterone replacement stimulates MSH product to a normal level in most men, and therefore these men can tan again and their hair may even become darker after already becoming grey. MSH also stimulates other hormones that keep us thin by curbing our appetites, so lack of MSH is associated with men who are overweight with abundant belly fat, pale with flat white or grey hair, and even a shrinking penis.

We rarely worry about this hormone because the replacement of testosterone with pellets, takes care of any acquired deficiencies of MSH that come with age. It is still important to recognize where these signs come from, in case there is a defect that prevents MSH from increasing as a response to normal testosterone levels.

Physical signs of MSH Deficiency:

  • Pale skin, with new tendency to burn in the sun
  • Early grey or white hair that loses its body and its curl
  • Obesity
  • Elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressure
  • Vitiligo spots of no skin color on the body
  • Blue or white rings around the iris of the eyes
  • Atrophy of the penis

Symptoms might also include muscle pain and loose skin from low GH and testosterone.

So the next time you see an older guy who has played golf all day and has a sunburn but never tans afterwards, then think Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone, and make it all better with suggesting testosterone replacement. He may owe you for his improved quality of life if he takes your advice.

If by some chance there is a disconnect between the MSH production and testosterone then MSH can be given from compounding pharmacies, and is safe when administered properly. A history of Melanoma is a contraindication to taking MSH, but not testosterone pellets.

This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author, with Brett Newcomb, MA., LPC., Family Counselor, Presenter and Author. www.BioBalanceHealth.com.  

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