Though I’m hardly close to experiencing menopause, I know many of our Cheeky’s are experiencing changes to not only their bodies during middle age, they’re also experiencing affects to the skin as well. Hormones play a MAJOR role in effecting women’s skin during the dreaded menopause. Hormonal changes as well as the slowdown of ovarian activity cause many of the changes women experience during menopause. It’s not just an increase in hot flashes and chin hair!
So you may be thinking… ‘What do hormones have to do with skin’ and our answer is, ‘A LOT!’. The changes women experience during menopause & even after change the skin’s physiology in new and different ways. The slowdown of ovarian activity which includes the decrease of B-Estradiol levels (estrogen hormones) is one of the main culprits in the accelerated aging of the skin. The results from lowered estrogen and progesterone production lead to big changes in the skin.
Let’s take a look at some of the changes that begin to occur in the skin as women experience menopause:
Oily skin – During menopause, more testosterone reveals itself by stimulating sebaceous glands to secrete thicker sebum (oily, waxy substance that waterproofs and lubricates the skin and hair of mammals), giving the appearance of oily skin & a greater risk for adult acne.
Increase in facial hair – More testosterone means more facial hair, especially in the chin area… I’ve got this already…..Can’t wait 😉
Sagging skin and increased wrinkles – Estrogen stimulates fat deposits over the female body and as estrogen drops in menopause, fat tends to redistribute to different areas (goes straight to your butt and thighs). The production of fat to these areas causes a loss of fat and collagen in other areas, such as your face, neck, arms and hands.
Thinning epidermis – Because of the decrease in estrogen, we see an overall thinning of the epidermis (the outermost layer of our skin) and a slower cell turnover rate. This leads to water loss and dry skin.
More prone to sun damage – Melanin (what gives us our skin color) is under the control of estrogen as well. When women see a decrease in estrogen, they are also noticing that their skin is becoming lighter. And with lighter skin comes a greater risk for sun damage. Ladies, it is so important to wear sunscreen at this stage in the game.
More ‘age spots’ – Like the change up above, the lack of melanin production also leads to ‘age spots’ (which aren’t really age spots at all). Hyperpigmentation appears on the face, hands, heck, arms and chest of many women.
Hot flashes – A strong sense of warmth on the skin followed by excessive sweating is known as a hot flash caused by your sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response) which is more active during menopause. Due to an increase in sweating, your face & body can experience unwanted breakouts.
Insomnia – Women experiencing menopause are known to have troubles sleeping. With lack of sleep comes premature aging, dark under-eye circles, increased stress, plus so much more.
It is said that 85% of women experience these symptoms anywhere from 1 to 3 years & sometimes more.
Here are some tips to help your skin during menopause –
- Use a creamy formulated cleanser so you don’t strip away your skins moisture.
- Hydrate! Put on your moisturizer while your skin is still damp from a shower or face washing.
- Use SPF at all times! Consider a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher.
- Use your retinol! Talk to your doc about a .5% or 1% retinol regiment. They’ll probably recommend a higher percentage!
- Exfoliate plenty.
- Target your age spots with skin lightening products.
- Eat your antioxidants. (check out our blog on chlorophyll)
- Walk it out! Exercising helps boost circulation and blood flow which decreases as we age.
Do you have a tried and true skincare routine for your menopausal skin? Share it in the comments section below.