If you thought the pesky breakouts of adolescence were behind you, think again. Just like bad fashion trends, those breakouts cycle back around again—during menopause. That’s right—as if hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep loss weren’t punishment enough during menopause, your skin may rebel on you, too.
Hormones and Skin
Hormonal shifts are known for wreaking havoc on the skin and there is no greater time of hormonal shift than menopause. During menopause, estrogen levels plummet and this decline can have a drastic impact on the skin. Estrogen affects every organ in the body, including the skin. In fact, estrogen receptors are most abundant around the face (as well as the genitals and lower limbs), which leaves the facial skin most vulnerable to reduced amounts of circulating estrogen—and pesky skin conditions. Furthermore, as estrogen drops, testosterone may surge, resulting in acne.
Skin Symptoms During Menopause
The most common skin complaints during menopause are increased dryness and wrinkling. Typically, the skin lacks its former luster and radiance and may even become looser.
These changes likely result from a decrease in estrogen levels, which leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin and a decreased blood vessel supply to the skin. These changes cause the skin to become thinner and paler. This thinner skin is more susceptible to bruising, allergic reactions, and irritations and also becomes less capable of storing moisture.
During menopause, many women report feeling tingling, itching, or crawling under the skin. In addition, the skin becomes more sensitive to the sun and wind. And finally, horror of all horrors, acne reminiscent of puberty may return.
Coping with Menopausal Skin Changes
Menopause can’t be avoided, but you can take measures to avoid some of the unpleasant skin conditions that accompany it. As with anything, being proactive is your best course of action. If you want to take the best care of your skin during menopause, try the following:
- Exercise: Exercise increases circulation and sends oxygen to tissues. A little daily exercise will do wonders for your skin—and your mood.
- Water:Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and flush toxins from your system. Your skin will glow as a result.
- Reduce sodium intake: Keep salt to a minimum in order to avoid fluid retention.
- Eat a clean diet: Eat a diet rich in whole foods and nutrients to help your skin shine. Refined, processed foods can lead to inflammation that will show up on your skin.
- Sleep: While this may be easier said than done during menopause, sleep is vital for healthy, glowing skin.
- Meditate:Meditation has been shown to be an effective tool for coping with the symptoms of menopause.