How to Care for Your Skin During Menopause
Eileen Bailey | March 28, 2018
Noticing skin changes as you enter menopause? You’re not alone. Changes in your skin during menopause are common and can include dry skin, thinning skin, age spots, and more hair on your face than before. These changes are a result of decreased hormone levels, according to American Academy of Dermatology. Read on to learn about common skin issues that occur during this stage of life and strategies you can use to minimize them.
Age spots occur most often on your face and the back of your hands, especially if you’ve had years of unprotected sun exposure. They are sharply defined, rounded, flat, brown or black patches of skin, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. They’re not dangerous and don’t need treatment. However, some women are self-conscious if they are pronounced. Treatment can include bleaching or lightening creams, laser therapy, dermabrasion, or chemical peels.
You might notice that you bruise more easily than you did in the past, according to the National Institute on Aging. Thinning skin is one cause, but certain medications and illnesses can also be the culprit. Check with your doctor to see if medications you’re taking might be the cause. You can also slow down the process of thinning skin by using broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 daily and talking to your dermatologist about retinoid creams.
Wounds don't heal as fast
When you get a wound, it may heal more slowly than in the past, according to a study published in the journal Wounds. As our skin ages, wounds take more time to heal, and that’s normal. Be patient and care for your wound to avoid infection. If you notice redness, swelling, or warmth around your wound, contact your doctor to make sure it isn’t infected.
Wrinkles and sagging skin might appear on your face and your neck. During menopause, your skin can lose around 30 percent of its collagen, which is what helps keep your skin firm, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Skin care products that contain retinol can help. Keep your skin moisturized, and be sure to use sunscreen every day to help slow the appearance of wrinkles.
During menopause, your skin doesn’t hold as much water as it once did, causing dry skin, according to the National Institute of Aging. To help improve dry skin, drink plenty of water, limit your time in the sun, find ways to manage stress, and if you smoke, quit. Make sure to use a mild cleanser instead of soap. Apply moisturizer immediately after bathing, and reapply throughout the day.
Skin cancer becomes more prevalent
Skin cancer and pre-cancerous lesions, such as actinic keratosis, become more prevalent during and after menopause, according to the National Institute of Aging. Skin cancer is highly curable when identified and treated early. If you haven’t already started, perform self-skin checks monthly and see your dermatologist annually for a skin cancer screening.
As they age, some women notice facial hair in places such as under the chin, along the jawline or above the lip, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Skin removal treatments such as waxing can help. Your dermatologist can also recommend laser hair removal or prescription-strength hair removal creams.
Acne can reappear
As hormone levels drop, you might have a recurrence of acne. Harsh treatments can dry out your skin, which can worsen the acne or cause your skin to be easily irritated. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using products containing salicylic acid. If this doesn’t help, make an appointment with your dermatologist.
Lastly, your skin might become sensitive, even if you never had sensitive skin. This occurs because of decreased hormones and a change in your skin’s pH level. Look for mild, fragrance-free skin care products, or ask your dermatologist for recommendations if you aren’t sure which products to use. If your skin continues to be irritated or if you develop rashes, make an appointment with your doctor to learn about other treatment options.