Puberty can bring breakouts, oily skin and facial hair for guys. Peer pressure, more stress and dealing with acne can be a handful. Somewhat similar, later in life you will take on menopausal changes in skin.
Menopause is not a disease or disorder but a natural part of aging (at least for women). Skin changes may not be noticed by some. Still others could have unique concerns.
Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes and not for diagnosis. More details.
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With decrease of hormone levels skin can start to sag become dry and thin. More hair may be visible on your face while losing hair on your scalp. Along with a whole list of other issues.
What is Menopause?
Menopause (AKA climacteric) is when your ovaries completely stop making reproductive hormones somewhere between 45 and 55 years of age. It can be different for each coming early or late. Symptoms vary as well as length.
The Changes Begin
Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone play major roles and are so important in the functioning of our skin. Estrogen helps with collagen and elastin to keep skin appearance plumb and hydrated.
Another hormone is progesterone thought to help with skin elasticity, pigmentation, increased circulation and activity of the sebaceous glands.
Testosterone triggers sebaceous glands that are connected to hair follicles to make more oil which results in acne.
- Collagen production
- Increased skin thickness
- Increased hyaluronic acid production
- Skin barrier function improvement
- Keeping skin hydrated
- Sebaceous (oil) gland activity
- Healing wounds
- Assisting inflammation
Astonishing what takes place when you hit menopause? Well these little fellas begin to deplete.
About age 50 your skin pH levels change becoming more delicate. While your hormones diminish during menopause the functions they perform for the health of your skin diminish also. This is seen as a reduction in sebum secretion and the immune functions.
Skin Concerns with Menopause:
- Skin may be drier
- Combination with oily
- May notice larger pores
- Pigmentation like age spots and unevenness
- Less firm
- Dull complexion
- Sensitivity, itchy and irritation
- Longer to heal, bruising easily
Because of these dramatic changes its time to update your skin care routine.
One major role with your skin barrier is to keep water and nutrients in. As your barrier function is weak because your skin is generally making less oil it can’t perform these functions. Switching to hydrating products to replenish moisture will help with dryness.
Apply a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid or glycerin for dry/sensitive skin after washing. This can be done when your skin is still damp. Repeat during your day when skin is feeling dry.
Exfoliation or microdermabrasion could help for extremely dry skin but consult your dermatologist first. Because your skin is also thin these could be more harmful than good.
Improve Collagen Production
Collagen is the building block of your skin structure keeping it taut and supple. First you begin losing it in your 20s. Second a dramatic drop now.
Menopause during the first five years, you may lose 30% of your collagen. This starts showing as mature skin to clarify changes in skin tone, texture and color. Which appear as dull complexion, age spots as well as thinning hair.
For fine lines, sagging skin, wrinkles and jowls retinols or peptides can boost collagen. Retinols help build collagen, encourage turnover and keep your skin cells young.
Vitamin C and Vitamin E are important parts of the collagen making process. These vitamins stabilize the collagen you have while protecting your skin against free radical damage. These vitamins can be found in serums.
Massage can also boost collagen production this may be why Face Yoga is a craze.
Be Mindful of Sensitivities
Now is the time your skin may have more sensitivities. You may find sensitive skin care products to be more soothing. To help maintain and replenish moisture of the skin barrier avoid fragrance in products.
Your body temperature is also sensitive where you suddenly feel hot and sweaty. This is due to the drop in these hormones. A hot flash may cause your face to redden and flush.
Irritated Itchy Skin
Along with an existing skin condition like eczema or rosacea menopause can make this worse. Besides having sensitive skin you now have to deal with hot flashes too. Use anti-inflammatory products with (aloe vera/green tea) moisturizing and soothing qualities.
In the event your skin becomes extremely dry or more irritated you should seek help from your dermatologist.
Itchy skin is more prone to a rash or hives caused by contact with rough fabrics, perfumes and dyes. Other conditions can also cause rashes. If you develop rashes that won’t go away contact your dermatologist.
Skin Changes with Menopause
Sun damage (age spots) starts to show at this time if you didn’t use your sunscreen. These appear on your face, hands, arm, neck and chest. There may also be larger patches of darker skin.
If you have age spots your dermatologist can recommend a product or facial peel.
More importantly daily sun protection! Due to your collagen decrease during menopause UV rays can increase skin pigmentation more.
Jowls, Sagging and Wrinkles
Your wrinkles that were only seen when you smiled and frowned are now permanent. Also pores may be larger, drooping upper eyelids and bags under eyes.
Just when you thought you were in the clear. These hormonal changes can also trigger acne. But you may not be able to tolerate the treatments of your younger years.
Now that your skin is thinner and drier those treatments can be too harsh. You don’t want acne products that are drying (especially containing alcohol). This can make menopausal acne worse.
Also look at your diet where dairy products and sugar encourage more sebum production. A salicylic acid cleanser is good for this. (Dr. Pimple Popper has Salicylic Acid Cleanser that is gentle along with green tea and glycerin) )
If you can’t get the acne under control you may need to see your dermatologist. It may be necessary to have a hormonal treatment.
Bruising Comes Easily
With the reduction of estrogen your skin becomes thinner. This makes it more prone to bruising.
Applying your sunscreen every single day no matter the weather will help skin from thinning more. When you are taking blood thinners this will cause bruising too. I have found Aloe vera heals this up quicker when applied right away.
Some may find a retinoid cream helps.
You may not realize a common skin issue is the loss of the ability to heal wounds. As we age this is delayed and we have more bruising. Meaning wounds take longer to heal then when you were younger.
Because the healing process is longer there is a higher risk of infection or other conditions. Check regularly for any signs of infection (pus/deep red).
This especially causes problems for sensitive skin types. Sensitivities can produce raw and irritated areas. Because your skin can’t bounce back like it used to, angry patches last longer.
Try adding a supplement to help with wound healing. Vitamin K is an essential ingredient common in medicinal skin care products. It is often used after surgery and for those with skin injuries.
Vitamin K has been known to reduce healing time, calm redness and decrease swelling.
Contained in more regular OTC skin care products, it carries most of these same benefits. It is added to under eye creams, serums as well as healing balms.
Unwanted Facial Hair
As female hormones decrease unwanted hair may appear. This can be under your chin, across your jawline and your upper lip.
With your skin being thin a waxing procedure may cause it to tear and bleed. For options you can consult your dermatologist about laser hair removal and a prescription hair reduction cream. There are also little facial razors for peach fuzz available.
For laser hair removals have this done by your dermatologist. Make note a laser will only remove dark hairs. This doctor is skilled, medically trained and has extensive knowledge of your skin.
Losing Hair on Your Head
You might notice thinning hair with menopause. A wide part may be the first sign or a receding hairline.
Many conditions can result with hair loss. If menopause is the culprit your dermatologist may suggest minoxidil, laser treatment or both.
If hair loss is extreme your dermatologist may suggest a hair transplant procedure.
Check out Lady Alopecia an expert on this subject.
Wrapping it up
So this is what you’re up against. Hormones play such an essential role with the function of your skin. This might not be realized. Menopause may bring some challenging skin care.
Because of these hormones being diminished your skin reacts. Your skin is thin so it bruises easily and there are hot flashes. Adding hydrating products will help with dryness and sooth irritated skin.
Facial hair may develop and hair loss may result on your scalp. Restoring collagen is a big thing. Your dermatologist will help with bothersome symptoms. You will get through this.
If you are menopausal what is the hardest part you are facing?
Header Photo Dat Huynh from pexels
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