Though the age-range is quite varied, many women enter menopause in their early to mid-50’s. Along with the surge of hot-flashes, sleepless nights and changing bodies, changes in skin can sometimes be hard to keep up with. Here are some of the most common skin concerns that women entering menopause deal with and ways to tackle the issues.
When entering menopause, your skin produces less collagen and elastic fibers. You see this in the mirror with the onset of wrinkles and sagging skin. Like most of the unwanted changes that happen during menopause, this is due to the drop in estrogen levels. What happens is that your body actually reroutes the areas in which the body stores fat deposits. The fat that was once kept your skin looking plump now is rerouted to your abdomen, thighs and buttocks. Lovely.
What You Can Do:
- Vitamin A: It now takes your skin around 60 days to renew - more than double than when you were in your 20’s and 30’s. Retinoids and Retinol are vitamin A derived ingredients that help speed up the renewal of skin cells, bringing fresh new skin cells to the surface faster. Use an over the counter anti-aging retinol product or get a prescription retinoid from your dermatologist.
- Peptides: Find a skin care product that contains peptides. The body “sees” these peptides as broken collagen pieces and in trying to naturally heal itself, the body creates more collagen to replace the broken pieces. Seeing collagen production is greatly diminished after menopause, this is very helpful in terms of anti-aging.
- Injectables: – You have probably have heard of injections such as Botox, Juvederm and Restylane before. Botox temporarily paralyzes the facial muscles smoothing wrinkles while the other two are known as fillers which help plump and smooth. Each of these are injected into your skin by a Dermatologist. The effects are temporary, but can last up to 6 months, with most people getting another injection after 3 to 4 months. What used to be something people were scared to do has now become something that is quiet common and comes with very little pain and down time. Don’t see anyone for an injectable that isn’t a doctor. There are also other procedures your doctor can do in-office such as lasers, peels and microdermabrasions.
When your estrogen levels fall, your testosterone levels rise, which can bring on a slew of unwanted skin issues. One of these is oily skin, even if your skin hasn’t seen oily days for decades. With oily skin can come adult onset acne and unfortunately, it’s not usually the small pimples that sit on the surface of the skin but deeper, cystic acne.
- What You Can Do: Visit your dermatologist who will have the best advice for you. Sure, you can use acne skin care products, but most aren’t really effective at treating cystic acne. Your doctor will have options for you and will be able to watch your hormone levels. Though hormone replacement therapy isn’t widely used anymore, in some cases it is suggested and can help minimize menopausal symptoms.
Once your estrogen levels drop and settle without huge fluctuation, dry skin is one of the biggest complaints. It seems like nothing you do can keep up with the dry skin that covers your body.
- What You Can Do: Replace your skin care products with those made for very dry skin. Use a creamy facial cleaner and stop using the sudsy ones that strip the oil on your skin. Consider using face oils as moisturizers. Moisturize your body immediately after your shower when your skin is still damp.
Increased Facial Hair
Again, like we talked about above, the drop in estrogen and rise in testosterone can cause a new issue of facial hair even for those who never had much facial hair in their pre-menopausal days. You will notice this above your upper lip, lower lip, chin and cheeks.
- What You Can Do: Find a hair removal process that works best for you. Threading is more popular than ever and causes no redness – thus no down time. Check with your doctor to see in Vaniqua will work for you. It is currently the only FDA approved treatment clinically proven to minimize the grown of unwanted facial hair.
According to New Zealand Dermatological Society, approximately one third of post-menopausal women experience hair loss typically at the front and top of the scalp. This can be the most devastating side-effect of entering post-menopause.
- What You Can Do: Don’t waste your money on shampoos that claim to regrow hair. Take this one to the experts and talk to your doctor. There are proven treatments that are typically made for men, such as Propecia, but they are at times used on women, as well, so make an appointment to discuss your options. Hair loss is not something you have to sit in silence about.
Melanin production in the skin can rise, especially in areas that were exposed to the sun frequently in years past - your face, hands, arms, neck and chest are most affected and you will often notice patches of skin are darker than the rest of your skin.
- What You Can Do: Be diligent with sunscreen and protect your skin with long sleeves and sun hats when possible. The more the skin is exposed to the sun, the darker the spots will get. There are products that claim to minimize age spots, also called sun spots or liver spots. One of the ingredients shown to have the ability to lighten skin spots is Hydroquinone, but there is some concern over its safety. Do your homework and as always, your doctor should be your first line of defense and authority in answering questions you have.