By Lucia Fontaina Powell

Can menopause affect your skin? Whether you’re going through it right now, or simply want to feel prepared for the future, it’s helpful to understand all the ways menopause can change our bodies, including our skin.

Menopause begins a year after you have had your last period, usually between the ages of 45 and 55. You can start having symptoms of menopause before your periods officially stop, which is known as perimenopause. The most common symptoms include anxiety, brain fog, mood swings, hot flushes and irregular periods. 

And if that wasn’t enough to deal with, menopause can also affect your skin. So if you’re menopausal or perimenopausal and are wondering where those dry or discoloured patches, wrinkles or breakouts have come from, know that your hormones are at play—and that you’re not alone.

According to the British Menopause Society, 75% of women suffer from menopausal symptoms. And while in the past, like many aspects of women’s health, menopause was a taboo subject, times are thankfully changing. 

So at Dr Jackson’s, we want to lift the lid on the mysteries of menopause and help you look after your skin during this transition. Let’s take a look at how menopause can affect your skin.

What is menopausal skin?

If you suspect your skin is being affected by menopause, here are five of the most common symptoms to look out for. We’ll also share some tips for caring for menopausal skin naturally.
More pronounced signs of aging 
    In the first five years of menopause, your skin loses about 30% of its collagen (the protein responsible for skin elasticity). After this, collagen falls at about 2% every year. 
    With less collagen to keep skin supple and firm, you might notice more pronounced signs of aging in menopause, like fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, jowls and pouches under the eyes. 

    Discolouration and pigmentation
    Having lived a full life might mean you’ve spent quite a lot of time in the sun. Over the years, the melanin in our skin can become more visible, so you might see hyperpigmentation or dark patches during menopause.
    Age or sun spots can appear, and you’re more at risk of skin cancer and pre-cancerous skin growths. Make sure to conduct regular self examinations to spot anything unusual and visit your doctor or dermatologist if you have any concerns.
    Thinner skin
      During menopause, your estrogen levels fall, which can cause skin to become thinner. As mentioned above, this can make signs of aging more noticeable, but it also means your skin is likely to bruise more easily.
      Since hormones play a role in how our skin regenerates, scratches or wounds may take longer to heal.
      Dry or itchy skin
        Another effect of diminished estrogen production is your skin’s ability to retain moisture, so skin may become dry or itchy during menopause. The T-zone and elbows are commonly the first places women experience flakiness, but dry skin can appear all over the body.
        Breakouts and menopausal acne
        Pimples and breakouts are more commonly associated with our teenage years, but those raging hormones can impact our skin later in life too. 
        Hormonal acne can affect women at any age, and it’s estimated that about 25% of women aged 40 to 49 experience acne (American Academy of Dermatology Association). 
        Typically, menopausal acne forms on the lower part of your face (the bottom of your cheeks and around the jawline). It can materialise as blackheads, whiteheads, pimples or cysts. 
          Perhaps the most widely known effect of menopause is hot flushes, which can be one of the earliest symptoms you experience in perimenopause. 

          Hot flushes cause a sensation of heat, which usually begins in the face, head or chest. This can lead to visible redness in the skin, sweating, and feeling weak or agitated. 
          Worsening existing skin conditions 
            We’ve covered the most common ways menopause can affect your skin, but, of course, everyone is unique and may experience menopause differently.

            On top of the symptoms above, you might notice that any existing skin conditions, like
            eczema, psoriasis or rosacea, worsen during menopause. Make sure to see your doctor or dermatologist for help understanding and treating your skin, and try to use targeted products to care for it.

            What does menopausal skin need?

            Luckily, there are plenty of ways to look after your skin during menopause and ease symptoms.

            We recommend:

            Recap: how skin changes during menopause

            To recap, there are seven major changes you might notice in your skin during perimenopause and menopause:

            • More pronounced signs of aging 
            • Discolouration and pigmentation
            • Thinner skin
            • Dry or itchy skin
            • Breakouts and acne
            • Flushing
            • Worsening of existing skin conditions 

            We hope this will act as a helpful guide as your skin and body matures, and remember, menopause doesn’t last forever!

            It can be a tough transition, but there’s an increasing amount of resources and treatment out there. We hope at Dr Jackson’s we can guide you on how to achieve healthy, glowing skin through this next chapter of your life.

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