One day a few months ago, I started on a hunt. I had noticed that my skin on my face had suddenly become really dry, which can be chalked up to changing hormones. Since then, I’ve been on the search for a different skincare routine that will ease the dryness. And I’ve noticed other changes in my skin as well. Bruises don’t fade as fast. A cut or scrape doesn’t heal nearly as quickly as when I was younger.
So what skin changes can we expect as we go through menopause? And what can women do to take care of their skin? Here are some suggestions.
The National Institute on Aging points out that dry skin often is more prevalent on the lower legs, elbows and lower arms. This change in skin condition can be tied to many things, including losing sweat and oil glands (which is a normal part of aging), smoking, sun exposure, dry air, stress, diabetes and kidney disease. Furthermore, the dryness can be exacerbated by using too much soap, antiperspirant or perfume.
NIA recommends using moisturizers daily to soothe dry skin, taking fewer baths, using warm water and a milder soap to bathe, and trying a humidifier. In a column in More.com, the North American Menopause Society also recommends drinking plenty of water while limiting the amount of coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol you consume since these tend to cause you to become dehydrated. Also use bath oil or lotion on wet skin in order to help the skin remain lubricated. And be sure to look at your diet - try to eat logs of omega-3 fatty acids that can help your skin stay hydrated. These include salmon, walnuts, sardines, flax or fortified eggs. The Mayo Clinic also recommends eating produce that is yellow and orange (such as carrots and apricots), spinach and other green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, blueberries, beans, peas and lentils. Furthermore, try to avoid processed or refined carbohydrates since some research suggests that these foods may factor into the aging of skin.
Who knew that we might see this scourge of our teenage years return when we go through menopause. However, the North American Menopause Society states that the shift in hormones often cause women to experience breakouts, especially those women who had acne during their teen years. In the adult version, women experience acne on their chin and neck. To get rid of it, you can try acne treatments that are marketed to teenagers. In addition, if you’re a very healthy woman who doesn’t smoke, oral contraceptives may help with acne as you go through menopause.
As we age, we more easily bruise. And those bruises tend to take longer to heal. The National Institutes on Aging points out that some medicines and illnesses may cause bruising, so if you start seeing bruises that you’re not sure how you got (especially on parts of your body that are usually covered by clothing), check with your doctor.
Age spots are flat, brown spots that are cause by long-term sun exposure. Larger than freckles, these spots often show up on the face, hands, arms, back and feet. These spots are harmless, but can be removed by a dermatologist. Use a sunscreen or sunblock to prevent additional damage when you’re in the sun.
These small flesh-colored growths of skin that have a raised surface are common for women as they age. Skin tags are most commonly found on eyelids, the neck, the arm pit, the chest and the groin. These skin growths are harmless. However, they can become irritated. If that’s the case, talk to a doctor if you want to have one removed.
Primary Sources for This Sharepost:
Gibson, L. E. (2011). What are the best foods for healthy skin?
National Institutes on Aging. (2011). Skin care and aging.
The North American Menopause Society (nd). The skinny on menopause and skin. More.com.
Dorian Martin writes about various topics for HealthCentral, including Alzheimer’s disease, diet/exercise, menopause and lung cancer. Dorian is a health and caregiving advocate living in College Station, TX. She has a Ph.D. in educational human resource development. Dorian also founded I Start Wondering, which encourages people to embrace a life-long learning approach to aging. She teaches Sheng Zhen Gong, a form of Qigong. Follow Dorian on Twitter at @dorianmartin, Facebook or Instagram at @doriannmartin.