Menopause can be a very challenging time in a woman’s life, characterized by a range of physical and emotional changes including effects on the skin.
When women enter menopause, they can experience a 90% drop in estrogen levels and a 66% drop in progesterone, the result being dryer thinner skin. Although dryness is the more common complaint, there are also women who might suffer from acne breakouts one month to puffiness the next.
Symptoms of menopause may include:
- Oily skin and/or acne
- Facial Redness
- Enlarged pores
- Dry, itchy skin
- Hot flashes
- Facial hair
- Thinning Hair
- Brittle Nails
- Accelerated aging as seen through deeper wrinkles, folds and lax skin
What causes Menopausal Change?
Internal and external factors contribute to the aging process of skin, with hormonal shifts cited as the main culprit. Rapid declines in estrogen and progesterone lead to a lesser production of collagen and elastin – ultimately resulting in a thinning of the dermis. Skin appears wrinkled and will begin to sag. The body’s natural production of hyaluronic acid along with a decrease in oil production leads to a common complaint of dryer skin. For some individuals, as estrogen decreases, testosterone becomes more apparent, potentially leading to sebaceous gland stimulation whereby one might experience oily skin, acne and facial hair growth.
Treatments for Menopausal Skin
By understanding the impact hormones have on biological aging, one can delay the onset and early signs of skin aging.
For younger women, starting a preventative skin regime prior to menopause makes good sense. However, more often than not women only seek solutions upon observing the first symptoms of menopause.
“You can slow down the aging process by taking some simple steps”, says Chantal Ward, RN of Clarity Medspa in Toronto. “First maintain a good diet, exercise, don’t smoke and stay away from tanning beds. Focus on lifestyle changes that consider the health of your skin by wearing a good sunscreen and incorporating trusted anti-aging products.”
Treatments for menopausal skin vary based on the specific issues one is experiencing, but the broader-based recommendations include:
1. Use sunscreen and avoid tanning beds. Most individuals who report that they use sunscreen, still do not use enough nor do they reapply enough. Broad spectrum sunscreens help fight dry skin, pigmentation and protect against skin cancer.
2. Include essential fatty acids in your diet – In addition to taking Omega-3 supplements, foods such as salmon, walnuts help support your skin’s oil barrier.
3. Include exfoliation that is appropriate to your skin type, into your routine. Ingredients such as retinol can stimulate and strengthen collagen, especially when used before the menopausal years.
4. Consider dermal fillers – As research continues into the area of fillers, there is growing evidence that these products may stimulate collage formation. Hyaluronic acid based fillers attract water to the skins lower layers, making it look plumper, filling out deep wrinkles and creases. There are also the added benefits that fillers can add lift, fill out lips and rebuild sunken areas of the face with instant results.
5. Consider energy and light based devices – such as Fraxel laser, IPL, Thermage, Exilis™ Elite, for lifting and tightening
Chantal Ward, RN goes on to say: “Naturally, we want to look our best at any age. Science has presented us with many options not only to maintain the health of our skin in mid-life, but also repair the damage accumulated in earlier years. Combining anti-aging treatments with well-suited products, while adopting sensible lifestyle habits will always reward one’s overall appearance.”