Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Menopause and Your Skin September 20, 2010

Menopause brings about huge changes in women’s bodies and psyches.  You can experience hot flashes, mood swings, belly flab, increased facial hair, and erratic sleep – to name just a few things.  And menopause can have quite the effect on your skin as well. 

Estrogen levels drop when you reach menopause.  With less estrogen in your body your skin becomes drier, less collagen is produced, wounds heal slower, skin becomes laxer, the epidermis begins to thin, and you experience loss of moisture on the surface of the skin (also known as transepidermal water loss).  The reduced levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body stop communication with the sebaceous glands and there is a drop off in the amount of oil that those glands produce.  Lower levels of these hormones also contribute to a dull complexion since fewer new blood vessels are produced by the body.

Another skin phenomenon that occurs with menopause, especially in perimenopause, can be acne which is generally temporary.  This too is caused by hormonal changes in the body.  As your estrogen levels drop your androgen production stays high in comparison which can lead to excess testosterone.  The excess of androgen causes your oil glands to produce increased amounts of sebum leading to acne in some cases.  As your hormone levels stabilize your acne should disappear as well.

 

Solutions

 

  • As you enter perimenopause and menopause undoubtedly your doctor will discuss hormone replacement with you.  Hormone replacement is not for everyone and needs to be very properly regulated and controlled.  If you do decide to go the route of hormone replacement you may find that some of your skin woes disappear particularly dryness.
  • Consider using a prescription or OTC retinoid.  Retinols fight hormonal acne, smooth the skin, and help build collagen.  Really there is no reason not to try one since there are so many different types of retinols available.  Consult with an esthetician or dermatologist to find the right one for you.
  • Look for moisturizers/products with hyaluronic acid in them.  Hyaluronic acid draws moisture to the skin and is a wonderful moisturizing ingredient.
  • Consider getting fillers – fillers will immediately fill in wrinkles and over time they will help stimulate collagen production.
  • Always, always use your sunscreen – no matter the weather or time of year.  Any damage that you already have in your skin will only get worse with sun exposure.  Plus your epidermis starts to thin during menopause – you are only more susceptible to sun damage than ever.

 

Sources and Further Reading

 

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