Menopausal Skin Care

Acne, oily and dry skin, unwanted hair growth, and hair loss on your scalp can all start when menopause begins.  Your skin becomes thinner, begins to sag, and is less elastic. Women find that their skin has suddenly started looking older.

The transition from reproductive to non-reproductive is the result of a reduction in female hormonal production by the ovaries. This transition is normally not sudden or abrupt, tends to occur over a period of years, and is a natural consequence of aging. However, for some women, the accompanying signs and effects that can occur during the menopause transition years can significantly disrupt their daily activities and sense of well-being. In addition, women who have some sort of functional disorder affecting the reproductive system (e.g., endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, cancer of the reproductive organs) can go into menopause at a younger age than the normal time frame. The functional disorders often significantly speed up the menopausal process and create more significant health problems, both physical and emotional, for the affected woman.  The word “menopause” literally means the “end of monthly cycles” from the Greek word pausis (cessation) and the root men- (month), because the word “menopause” was created to describe this change in females, where the end of fertility is traditionally indicated by the permanent stopping of monthly menstruation or menses.

Great skin care can make a difference when it comes to menopause. What is important to realize is that menopause is NOT a skin type (it is a condition).  Menopause can cause a range of skin problems that aren’t the same for everyone, so the same skin-care products won’t work for every woman dealing with menopause—no two women will experience menopause the same way. You may experience dry skin, breakouts, itchy skin, oily skin, rosacea, and thin skin. Each is treated differently. What happens to your skin during menopause is hugely effected by how much sun damage you have been exposed to over the years. Wear sunscreen!

Skin Creams with Hormones

Menopause occurs when your body makes less of the hormone estrogen than it did when you were younger. There is research showing that applying topical estrogen to skin can help. The three major naturally (steriods) occurring estrogens in women are estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). Estradiol is the predominant estrogen during reproductive years both in terms of absolute serum levels as well as in terms of estrogenic activity. During menopause, estrone is the predominant circulating estrogen and during pregnancy estriol is the predominant circulating estrogen in terms of serum levels.

A range of synthetic and natural substances have been identified that also possess estrogenic activity.

English: Chemical structures of the most commo...

English: Chemical structures of the most common phytoestrogens found in plants (top and middle) compared with estrogen (bottom) found in animals. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unlike estrogens produced by mammals, these substances are not necessarily steroids.

Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose (Photo credit: Maia C)

Certain plant extracts such as soy, black cohosh, yam extract, DHEA, and evening primrose oil, to name a few, are thought to be helpful when applied topically for menopausal skin because they are phytoestrogens. However, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients are very effective as well.

Yam Yam Yam

Yam (Photo credit: cogdogblog)

Skin-care products containing bio-identical hormones or taking estrogen or progesterone orally can definitely have a benefit for your skin, but there are also possible risks that you need to discuss with your physician.

Treat the skin type and condition you have. 

  • Wash your face twice a day with a cleanser appropriate for your skin type.
  • Every day, apply a broad or full spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater.
  • Use an effective exfoliant for your skin type once to twice a week.
  • At night, apply moisturizers, serums, or treatment products.

It is essential that you use skin-care products that are right for your skin type: If you have dry to very dry skin use emollient lotions and creams .  If you have oily, slightly dry, or combination skin with stubborn oily areas, use lightweight gels, serums, or liquids.

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