Objective: After menopause, observable changes occur in the physical characteristics of the human skin. These changes and their responses to various treatments can be assessed with non-invasive in-vivo mechanical tests. However, tests measuring breaking strength and tensile strengths can only be done ex-vivo, they require relatively higher quantities of skin and thus have generally been performed on animals. Mechanical changes in the skin of ovariectomized rats, an appropriate model for the study of postmenopausal period, have not been dealt with in the literature. In this study mechanical characteristics of the skin, such as breaking strength and tensile strength have been tested and studied histologically in ovariectomized rats. Methods: Sixteen rats were divided into two groups, one undergoing ovariectomy and one control group undergoing a sham operation. Three months later, the rats were sacrificed and tensile properties of their back skins were tested with a tensometer and evaluated histologically. Results and conclusion: Breaking strength, tensile strength and the Young's modulus have increased and the thickness of the subcutis has decreased in ovariectomized rats. This study should be tested by others, because of existence of some conflicts between available knowledge and the results, relating to postmenopausal skin changes. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.