Menopause and Aging Can Result in Skin Issues

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • I’ve noticed that my skin has started to become dryer. I’ve found a certain line of products that seem to work on my face, but the usual body moisturizers that I’ve used previously no longer seem to work as well in fighting off dry skin.  Middle-age women also can experience skin issues such as tender skin, wrinkling and adult acne. Unfortunately, these changes also are signs of midlife, although not all are a result of menopause.

    “As we age, the body begins to produce less collagen and elastin,” wrote Barbara Seaman and Laura Eldridge of “The No-Nonsense Guide to Menopause. “The effect is like the elastic in that new skirt giving a little. It still fits, but it doesn’t have the perfectly tailored look anymore, becoming prone to looseness in inconvenient places.” Additionally, oil glands don’t function as well, resulting in drier skin. And sweat glands also don’t work as well, which means the skin has a harder time keeping cool. Additionally, skin loses fat, which results in more facial lines.

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    Food can make a big difference. In “The Cleveland Clinic Guide to Menopause,” Dr. Holly Thacker suggested several types of food or beverages that can help improve aging skin. These are:

    • Yellow and orange foods, which are high in vitamin A.
    • Berries, which are high in antioxidants. “The phytochemicals in these foods can protect skin from cell-damaging free radicals,” Thacker wrote.
    • Fatty acids, found in salmon, walnuts, canola oil and flaxseed oil. These acids help the skin cell membranes remain healthy, which then helps the skin retain moisture.
    • Whole grains, cereal, turkey and tuna, which have selenium, a key protector of skin cells.
    • Green tea, which has anti-inflammatory properties that protect cell membranes.
    • Water, which hydrates the skin. Water also assists cells remove toxins and bring in nutrients.

    Other ideas offered by Dr. Thacker include:

    • Lack of oil may cause itchiness. Opt for an emollient lotion or a moisturizing bar soap since skin’s lack of oil may cause itchiness.
    • Limit the amount of time and how often you bathe
    • Apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp. “This traps water and protects skin from losing hydration,” Thacker said.
    • Try changing laundry detergents, bathing products, perfumes and cosmetics if you find you’re newly experiencing sensitive skin.
    • If you are having skin sensitivity, try wearing white cotton under-garments.
    • Anti-static agents in dryer sheets can cause irritation and itching.
    • Stress can result in adult acne breakouts.

    Seaman and Eldridge also noted that staying out of the sun, wearing SPF 15 sunscreen and stopping smoking can have an effect on skin.
    Skin is our largest organ and its appearance really projects how healthy we are. So be sure as you age to take special precautions and eat a healthy diet in order to keep your skin radiant.

Published On: January 31, 2011