The menopause brings with it many changes, the most common being hot flushes, vaginal dryness, decreased sex drive and memory fog to name a few. However, the skin is heavily impacted too. We want to help guide you through the changes you may see on your skin and the steps you can take to ensure you skin is healthy and happy!
Estrogen and progesterone are the two main female sex hormones that directly impact the health status of women skin as they age.
Many women are worried by the rapid dryness of their skin during menopause, among many other common menopausal health concerns but, with the right care and advice, you don't have to. The dryness comes as an effect of low hydration of the skin.
In this guide, we'll help you understand some of the most common causes and solutions to looking after your skin under the full duress of changing female hormones throughout this challenging period in your life.
Mature skin can be beautiful and we're here to help you keep skin health optimal long beyond the menopause and well into your twilight years.
Causes of Changes in the Menopausal Skin
As you age as a woman, you will notice your skin tends to change in terms of tone, appearance thickness and dryness.
Perimenopause firstly is different from menopause: Periods might become irregular at this point, but there is still estrogen present. During perimenopause hot flashes are common, so you might find that your skin gets red, blotchy and perhaps uncomfortable. Skin that was previously balanced might start to get dry or oily patches. Sometimes women experience rosacea or breakouts at this time of change also.
A you approach menopause and estrogen levels drop the skin can get quite dry, it also becomes thinner typically. That is because there is a close relationship between collagen production which gives the skin its bounce and the lack of estrogen. The cell turnover process also slows down meaning the skin is not renewing itself at the same rate. This can result in a dull or grey appearance of the skin. The amount of humectants in the skin can also lead to dryness, which may be tight or uncomfortable.
- Hormonal Changes
Your hormones, especially estrogen, affect the texture of your skin in that it influences the skin hydration levels, collagen production and increases the skins' thickness.
During menopause, the estrogen levels are low, which translates to reduced hydration of the skin, reduced collagen production and thinning of your skin.
The progesterone hormone also plays a vital role in the health of your skin as it's responsible for skin elasticity and pigmentation. Its lowered levels during menopause which may mean your skin will become drier, and more prone to facial lines and wrinkles.
- Lowered Levels of Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid plays a key role in keeping the skin hydrated, it helps skin hold onto water and as we enter the monpause the levels of this vital molecule is decreased.
Hyaluronic acid is also critical in the production of collagen. Unfortunately, menopausal skin finds it harder to stay hydrated, meaning that the skin structure will be altered.
The reduction of these components responsible for the skin structure leads to the sagging of your skin, fine lines, wrinkles, dehydration lines.
- Skins protective functions decreased.
The skin cells are responsible for protecting the skin against potential damage from heat and UV rays, our melanocytes are not as efficient during menopause.
This means that we are more prone to age spots, pigmentation disorders and your skin is prone to sunburn and dryness due to exposure to direct sunlight.
That's why your dermatologist will always insist on wearing sunscreen daily no matter the weather or season.
Common Skin Problems During Menopause and How to Handle Them
Every stage of life brings about a change to our skin and how it reacts to internal and external influences. From breakouts as teenagers to dryness in our later years, there are challenges posed to our skins health. Here are a number of the challenges you may see in your skin during the menopause and how to tackle them.
This is brought about by the reduced ability of the ageing skin to hold water. The dryness can make your skin feel irritable and itchy, causing you discomfort, especially in times of dry air.
You could also develop rashes on your skin, and in case you have preexisting skin atopic conditions, they could worsen at this stage. This is because our skins protective barrier may not be as efficient during the menopause.
To tackle the dry skin during this stage, avoid washing your face with astringesnt ingredients, instead opt for a comforting cleansing routine to be made up of a cleansing oil or balm and rinse with lukewarm water.
Use a moisturiser daily to reinforce your skins barrier function choose a moisuriser that will help lock in moisture such as one containing ceramides. To avoid dehydration of the skin look for the ingredients glycerin or hyaluronic acid.
Ensure that the brand you choose is approved by a reputable skincare professional and has the right ingredients for your skin type.
- Age spots
Extremely common among menopausal and perimenopausal women in Ireland, age spots come from exposing theskin to direct UV rays. The spots appear primarily in the exposed areas such as the face, neck, and hands.
To tackle the onslaught of age spots, wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 and above to ensure you are protected from the heat and direct rays.
If they persist, we advise you to consult a specialist dermatologist for evaluation, treatment and analysis of your skin. However, please don’t ignore them, as some spots could indicate something far more serious.
- Hot Flashes
With volatile hormone levels during menopause, unfortunately hot flases are common from the onset of peri-menopause. You may experience the sensation of your upper body sweating from the face, neck and chest. Then, you feel an unexplained warmth.
It can be quite an uncomfortable experience, especially when in public at night trying to sleep. We recommend a portable cooling mist to hydrate and cool the skin at these times.
- Fine Lines and Wrinkles
As collagen processing reduces, wrinkles are the result. Collagen is responsible for holding the skins structure in place. Its reduction translates to sagging loose skin.
To tackle these, always protect your skin from direct sun by wearing sunscreen when outdoors. Consider also using retinol or peptides.
- Acne and Pimples
Some women going through menopause notice blemishes, pimples, and acne reappearance. However, they may not be as pronounced as those during the teenage years.
These are caused by a drop in the estrogen hormone responsible for aerating and controlling the oil levels during menopause.
If your skin is prone to acne during this stage, you should consider using a cleanser that contains salicylic acid as an ingredient. The aim is to clear the pores that may be clogged and allow the oil to move through.
Avoid using dedicated skincare products meant to clear acne during menopause, as they may prove counterproductive, making your skin drier.
- Facial Hair
At this stage, as your female sex hormones drop, you may notice unwanted hair growing on your chin or below your nose.
To help tackle hair growth, you can use common hair removal products, or for more stubborn growth patterns, we’d advise you visit a HSE-certified dermatologist who will guide you on the way forward.
How to Take Care of Menopausal Skin
Like in all other ages, from the tween to adulthood and now menopause, your skincare procedure needs constant revision and tweaks to your routine.
As moisture levels, sun exposure, diet and weather all play their role in your skin's journey through life, different age groups tend to have different skin problems.
To take care of menopausal skin, we always advise our customers to consider the following:
At this stage, avoid concentrated cleansers that could potentially strip your skin. Instead, check out for products with glycerin and hydrating formulas as primary skincare ingredients.
The aim of your skin routine during menopause is to keep it hydrated and increase collagen and most over-the-counter cleansers do a great job of this.
- Use Antioxidant Serum
Go for a product infused with serum for your morning skincare. For example, you could check out Vitamin B or C-infused products.
At night, we recommend using retinol serums or peptides to help boost collagen levels.
Aim at always having your skin well moisturised as this will aid in protecting the already dry skin and enhance your skin tone by keeping your skin glowing.
When looking for a moisturising beauty product for menopause, go for those with hyaluronic acid as content and niacinamide. These active ingredients work extremely well hydrating dry or itchy menopausal skin.
You can't afford to skip the SPF step in the menopause, exposing skin to direct UV rays from the sun at this stage will worsen all other skin issues that arise during the menopause. So apply sunscreen every morning and top up if necessary during the day when you feel exposed to extreme heat and sun.
Sunscreen with active SPF ingredients will also reduce redness on your skin, especially if your skin is the sensitive type that reacts to the slightest irritation. Look for those with additional antioxidant ingredients.
- Treatment of collagen decline
Boosting collagen levels is key to add bounce, firmness and a glow to the skin, especially during menopause when collagen levels are declining. I love to recommend a collagen boosting treatment both internally and externally. Taking a collagen supplement like The Your Zooki Collagen whilst using a peptide treatment on the skin like the Vichy Lift Activ Ampules is a game changer for collagen production. These products will help your skin regain a bounce, reduce sagging and diminish the appearance of wrinkles and give the skin a natural glow.
Try and make small changes to your diet to help the health of your skin. Introduce vitamin and iron-rich foods and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are proven to help ease the depressive symptoms related to menopause.
Additionally, consistently drink enough water throughout the day and if you’re not getting enough crucial vitamins naturally, consider supplementing your deficit with a product from our vitamin supplement range.
Finally, please try not to stress yourself too much throughout this difficult period; take time to regularly pause, meditate or reflect.
The Best Skin Care Products During Menopause
Getting the right products for your skin will make it healthy and enhance your confidence as you face the world through both menopausal and post-menopausal versions of yourself.
Here are some of the best products range for menopausal skin currently available on the Irish market:
- Menopause Supplements
- Vhchy Neovadiol range
The products, along with others in our dry skin range are certified and approved for use in Ireland, and are specifically manufactured with a woman experiencing menopause in mind.
When looking for the right products to suit your own personal needs, always ensure:
- To check out the ingredients that comprise the product and ensure that they will not harm your facial skin's texture
- Go for products that will be gentle on your skin. Highly concentrated ones may potentially harm your skin
- That they have a cooling effect and keep hydrating your skin
The Meaghers Verdict on Menopause Skincare
The skin is your largest organ and the outer organ whose status could potentially boost or affect your confidence. It is therefore paramount to exercise caution when trying out different products.
Get suitable serums, cream, moisturisers and sunscreen rich in vital components such as vitamin C, B and E to boost your skins' overall health and appearance.
Contact Us to Discuss Your Menopausal Skincare Needs
We’re confident this guide has armed you with all the information necessary to make better-informed skincare choices before, during and after the menopause or ‘Change of Life’. Our aim, as always, is to provide you with the best level of care possible and to ensure you're feeling supported throughout some of life's biggest challenges as a female living in Ireland.
As always, we advise anyone considering a new course of treatment for problematic skin conditions at any stage of life to seek expert medical advice before adopting any new skincare products or routines and to educate themselves fully before deciding on the best course of action for themselves.
If you need to chat with our team of skin experts, we're here to help and assist you throughout every step of the journey.