Menopause is the natural cessation of a woman’s menstrual cycle, which marks the end of her fertility. Usually, women experience menopause between 45 and 55 years of age. Menopause is that phase of life when your body undergoes numerous changes as a result of hormonal fluctuations or imbalances.
Menopause not only brings about permanent biological changes but can also affect your mental health. These hormonal imbalances are in turn associated with various vital organs of your body, and a majority of the changes are significantly visible on your skin.
In this article, we will look at some of the significant changes that your skin can experience during menopause and what measures should be followed during that period to keep your skin healthy and glowing.
Effects of Menopause on Your Skin
1. A decrease in collagen production. There is a tremendous reduction in your collagen (the most abundant protein in your body, found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons) production during menopause, which can lead to loss of volume and fat under the skin and as a result, your skin's elasticity drops eventually. This is further combined with dryness and can cause sagging of your skin especially around your neck, jawline, and cheeks areas, and also result in the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Estradiol hormone (which is an estrogen steroid hormone and the major female sex hormone) is one of the major culprits that accelerates the process of aging of the skin. Further, if your intake of sugar is high or your sun exposure increases and you regularly smoke during perimenopause (the time preceding menopause), you can experience more collagen loss during menopause.
2. Elastin loss during menopause. Your skin’s elasticity also reduces as there is less production of elastin (a major protein component of tissues that require elasticity) and this leads to increased skin sagging during menopause.
3. Dryness. During menopause the water holding capacity of your skin reduces. As a result, it becomes dry and also leads to increased itching, and increases the chances of photodamage of your skin. Photodamage of the skin is when there are skin changes such as fine and coarse wrinkles, roughness, freckles and pigmentation changes which occur as a result of prolonged exposure to the sun.
4. Dullness. With aging, the cell turnover and cell exfoliation rate reduces. This leads to an increased accumulation of dead skin cells making your skin dull and damaged.
5. Hair thinning. With increasing age, you can experience increased hair loss or hair thinning, which is mainly associated with your hormonal imbalances during menopause.
Hair loss (known as alopecia) can affect just your scalp or your entire body, and it can be temporary or permanent. It refers to a loss of hair from any part of your head or your body. Hair thinning happens when your hair starts to lose volume and thickness.
6. Menopausal acne. This is caused due to a natural decline in your reproductive hormones. The fluctuations that occur during menopause in terms of a decrease in estrogen levels or an increase in the androgen hormones like testosterone are responsible for menopausal acne. Unlike hormonal acne which appears during puberty on the T-zone of the face or jawline area, menopausal acne typically covers your lower face area.
Estrogen, produced by your ovaries (primary female reproductive organ) is responsible for the development of the female reproductive system and it imparts female sex characteristics. Testosterone, also produced by your ovaries, helps with the growth, maintenance, and repair of a woman's reproductive tissues, bone mass, and human behavior.
7. Excessive hair growth due to hirsutism. Hirsutism is a condition in which you develop excessive hair growth. It may be caused by high levels of androgen, menopause-related hormone changes, or disorders of the adrenal glands or ovaries.
Caring for your skin during menopause is very important. The following are a few tips and tricks that must be followed to manage the changes that your skin witnesses during menopause.
Skin Care During Menopause
1. Cleansing. It is an important skincare step for your aging skin. As your skin gets older, the skin becomes dry as it loses moisture and with a cleanser, your skin can get the benefit of extra moisture. So, it is important to use a cleanser that's right for dry skin. Choose a creamy face wash that hydrates your skin instead of the harsh face washes which can strip the moisture away.
2. Moisturizing. After menopause, your skin gets drier because the oil glands become less active. Moisture your skin with the application of heavier creams. Skip long, hot showers and put on the moisturizer while your skin is still damp. Use oatmeal-based moisturizers and if your skin is extremely dry, then apply paraffin-based moisturizers.
3. Sun Protection. Apply sunscreen every day to protect your skin against the harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 50 or higher. This can help fade age spots, prevent new spot formation, and prevent any kind of pigmentation on your skin. Apply sunscreen whether you're indoors or outdoors. It is advised to use physical sunscreen over chemical sunscreens as they provide better sun protection.
4. Night-time skincare regimen. The night creams you use must contain retinoids and anti-aging ingredients. Retinoids reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the production of collagen and stimulating the production of new blood vessels in your skin, thus improving the skin color.
Retinoids also help in fading age spots and softening rough patches of your skin. However, it takes three to six months of regular use to see improvements in the wrinkles and the best results take six to twelve months.
Further, if your skin is very dry, then it can be mixed with moisturizers. Preferably use them during the night as they contain photosensitive molecules (a visual pigment because it is highly coloured owing to its ability to absorb light) and can hamper your skin if applied during the day.
More Points to Remember
1. Use hyaluronic-acid based creams. Hyaluronic acid is a beneficial supplement for a variety of conditions, especially those related to skin and joint health. Hyaluronic-acid based creams help in combating the elastin and volume loss experienced during menopause. It adds suppleness to your skin, making it more moisturized and nourished.
2. Check out glycolic acid-based creams. Glycolic acid is found in most chemical peels that treat acne scars, dark patches, melasma, and age spots. It can be used in your skincare routine in the form of cleansers, peels, and creams. Apply these creams at-least thrice a week. They will help in increasing your cell turnover and help in shedding off dead skin cells and add a natural glow to your skin.
3. Take supplements. To stop hair fall, biotin and zinc supplements can be added to your diet. Collagen supplements are also proven to be beneficial during menopause as it helps in increasing collagen production.
4. Consume foods rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help in skin repair by reducing inflammation. Eat antioxidant-rich foods for your skin such as tomatoes, blueberries, spinach, garlic, watermelons, and dark chocolate.
5. Niacinamide for overall skin health. Nicotinamide, also known as niacinamide, is a form of vitamin B3, found in food and used as a dietary supplement and medication. It is beneficial in repairing your skin barrier and helps in moisturizing the skin. Vitamin-B3 supplements can also be consumed to improve overall skin health.
6. Anti-androgens medications. Anti-androgens are an assorted group of drugs and compounds that reduce the levels or activity of androgen hormones within the human body. Both men and women have natural levels of hormonal production. Too much androgen can contribute to acne by increasing oil production.
Anti-androgen medications work by decreasing the male hormone androgen level in females. These medications should always be taken only after proper consultation with your dermatologist.
Proper skin health measures followed during this phase after consultation with your dermatologist will always help to pass the menopausal phase with beautiful, glowing, and healthy skin.
Keep Healthy! Keep Glowing!
Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.