Understanding Skin Changes During Menopause and How to Address Them
Menopause is a natural part of aging that affects women in different ways. Some experience hot flashes, while others notice mood swings, weight gain, or other physical changes. The good news is that there are many things you can do to manage these symptoms.
The unpleasant symptoms of perimenopause and menopause are real. The hot flashes, fatigue, brain fog, lagging libido, weight gain and more stress are all due to decreasing levels of the female sex hormone – estrogen.
What does menopause do to your skin?
How does it affect the inflammation and irritation of the complexion?
Unfortunately, it does affect a lot. Several studies have shown that estrogen plays a role in collagen production, skin’s elasticity, thickness, and moisture levels, as well as healthy blood vessels (aka- rosy glow) (1,2,3).
When you produce less estrogen, you may see the opposite: lines and wrinkles, dryness, sensitivity, dullness, and sagging.
Basics of Menopause
Menopause is defined as the end of menstruation and the beginning of perimenopause. It occurs when a woman has gone through 12 months without having a period. This usually happens between ages 45 and 55. There are two phases of menopause: early and late. Early menopause is when a woman goes into menopause before age 50. Late menopause is when she goes into menopause after age 60.
While menopause is a normal and natural occurrence, it can also bring about a number of changes in the body, including changes to the skin. In this article, we’ll explore the various ways in which menopause can impact the skin and what you can do to maintain healthy and radiant skin as you age.
1. Skin Dryness and Thinning
As we age, our skin changes. One of the most common skin changes that occur during menopause is dryness and thinning of the skin. As estrogen levels decline, the skin becomes less able to retain moisture, which can lead to dryness, flakiness, and itching. In addition, the skin may become thinner and more fragile, which can make it more susceptible to injury and infection. In fact, the average woman loses up to 1/4 inch of skin by her mid-40s. This loss of skin is called “skin thinning.”
To combat dryness and thinning, it’s important to focus on hydrating the skin from both the inside and outside. Drinking plenty of water and eating a diet rich in healthy fats and antioxidants can help to nourish and hydrate the skin from within. Additionally, using moisturizers and other skincare products like serums or facial oils that are specifically designed for dry, mature skin can help to hydrate and protect the skin from external stressors.
2. Dryness leading to Irritation
As estrogen levels decrease, the skin’s outer protective barrier may weaken, resulting in dryness. The epidermis may thicken and produce less oil, causing tiny micro tears to form, allowing moisture to escape and irritants and allergens to enter. Consequently, skin becomes more susceptible to irritation, and inflammatory skin conditions may become more prevalent.
Age-related dryness can be attributed to two primary factors. Firstly, the skin produces less natural oils as we age, leading to increased dryness. Secondly, exposure to sunlight can also reduce the body’s oil production, contributing to dry skin.
To address dry skin, opt for a mild or gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin of its natural oils.Stay away from stripping soaps or acidic toners that may strip your natural oils and dry your skin more. After cleansing, reinforce the skin’s barrier with a moisturizer containing ingredients such as ceramides, fatty acids, squalene, glycerin, snow mushroom, peptides and hyaluronic acid to add and retain moisture. Moisturizing regularly is essential, and applying lotion at least twice a day is recommended to combat dryness.
3. Wrinkles and Fine Lines
Another common skin change that occurs during menopause is the development of wrinkles and fine lines. As estrogen levels decline, the skin loses its ability to produce collagen and elastin, two proteins that are essential for maintaining skin elasticity and firmness. As a result, the skin may appear more wrinkled, saggy, and loose.
To minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, it’s important to use skincare products that are rich in antioxidants and other anti-aging ingredients. Retinoids, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid are all ingredients that have been shown to improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and promote skin firmness.
4. Acne and Breakouts
While most people associate acne with adolescence, it’s not uncommon for women to experience acne and breakouts during menopause. As estrogen levels decline, testosterone levels may increase, which can lead to the development of acne and other skin blemishes.
To combat acne and breakouts, it’s important to maintain a consistent skincare routine that includes gentle cleansing, exfoliation, and the use of non-comedogenic (non-pore-clogging) skincare products. I
5. Age Spots and Hyperpigmentation
Age spots and hyperpigmentation are another common skin change that can occur during menopause. These dark spots are caused by an increase in melanin production, which can be triggered by hormonal changes, sun exposure, and other factors.
To prevent age spots and hyperpigmentation, it’s important to protect the skin from sun damage by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Additionally, using skincare products like gel serums and moisturizers that contain ingredients such as vitamin C and niacinamide can help to brighten and even out skin tone.
Molecular Immunologist & Skincare Expert
As an Immunologist trained in Molecular Medicine and as an expert in skin care and cosmetic chemistry, Dr. Ebru Karpuzoglu has spent +20 years researching skin, impact of hormones on the immune system sharing her findings in international publications with her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by scientists, doctors, editors, bloggers, celebrities and skincare lovers around the world, her deep real-world knowledge and research are invested in every drop of AveSeena.
1.Effect of estrogens on skin aging and the potential role of SERMs
2.Factors Influencing Skin Aging and the Important Role of Estrogens and Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs)