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Menopause and its effect on the skin

Menopause causes many physical and mental changes in the body, one of which is changes to the skin. Hormone fluctuation is the main culprit of these skin changes. However, with the right treatment and self-care, you can easily battle these skin concerns and get your glowing skin back. Below are the most common skin issues experienced with menopause.

Dry Skin

With menopause comes a decrease in estrogen. Since estrogen aids in the production of collagen and natural oils, this can lead to dry, itchy skin. In addition to slowing oil production, reduced estrogen can also inhibit your body from retaining moisture. These issues can start as early as perimenopause and are usually permanent. However, with a few basic lifestyle changes, you can successfully combat dryness and have your skin glowing

Treatment:

Cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm (not hot) water. Afterwards, use a rich, restorative face moisturizer for dry skin and sensitive skin types (Our favourite: Skinceuticals Emollience). Stay clear of heavily scented products or products containing alcohol, as they can further irritate and dry out your skin. Lastly, make sure you’re drinking enough water.

Pigmentation

Another skin issue very commonly tied to menopause is pigmentation on the skin. One of the most common pigmentation related to hormonal changes is melasma. The exact connection between melasma and menopause is unknown, but it is speculated that the decline in estrogen leads to a decline in melanocytes, which can make you more prone to sun damage.

Treatment:

Pigmentation and especially melasma can be very difficult to treat. For mild pigmentation, try topical products with key actives such as hydroquinone, tretinoin, kojic acid, and vitamin C. If these are unsuccessful, laser resurfacing, IPL and chemical peels can also help. However, no products or treatments will help pigmentation if you are not using SPF diligently (even when on cloudy days!). When it comes to pigmentation prevention is the best cure.

Wrinkles

Studies show that about 30% of collagen is lost during the first five years of menopause (American Academy of Dermatology). Loss of collagen causes the skin to lose its firmness and elasticity. Additionally, lower levels of estrogen cause a reduction in supportive fat under the skin of the face, leading to sagging and wrinkles. 

Treatment:

Consider using skincare products that contain retinol or peptides. Both of these ingredients are used to increase collagen and cell turnover in your skin. Retinol can be harsh and very drying to the skin if not applied thinly, so it is best to consult with your skin specialist to see if it is suitable for your skin. Fractional laser, chemical peels and micro needling are also effective in reducing fine lines and wrinkles. One of the most popular ways of preventing fine lines from worsening into deep wrinkles is by getting preventative anti-wrinkle injectables to relax facial muscles.

Some of these skin issues are unavoidable but with the right products and early intervention, these concerns can be minimised and even delayed. Additionally, diet, exercise, and sleep also play an important role in managing menopause symptoms and can have a direct impact on your skin. If you want your skin to glow, products alone may not be enough.