Menopause is a pivotal moment in a woman’s life, and it comes with a lot of changes. While some of them might not be too ideal, there are some pretty great shifts that happen during this time (and by that, we mean no more PMS)!
A symptom of menopause that often throws many women off guard is a change in how skin and hair look. And if you’re going through this important milestone, you may already be noticing some common changes.
If your skin is losing its vibrancy and your hair is becoming more brittle, don’t fear! There are ways to reverse some of the signs of aging to make menopause look like a thing of the past.
What Happens During Menopause?
Menopause marks the end of your menstrual cycles, and it typically happens in your 40s or 50s. As you age, your ovaries start to produce less of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which normally regulate menstruation.
The physical symptoms of menopause often present as hot flashes, mood swings, sleep disturbances, and more. But what does all of this have to do with skin health?
Estrogen doesn’t just affect your ability to menstruate. It also plays a pivotal role in your skin and hair health. Estrogen promotes water retention and skin plumpness, so when you lose estrogen, you also lose some of the molecules that help to naturally moisturize your skin.
As for your hair, estrogen contributes to growth and fullness, so losing estrogen may cause it to look more brittle and thin than before. The months or years leading up to menopause are known as perimenopause.
Some of the most common symptoms of menopause include:
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood changes
- Sleep disturbances
- Hot flashes
- Thinning hair and dry skin
- Weight gain
- Slowed metabolism
- Loss of breast fullness
- Night sweats
What Happens to Skin During Menopause?
Loss of estrogen during menopause can lead to some varying yet common symptoms. The good news is that there are a wide variety of treatments available. Here are a few of the signs to expect.
Skin Sagging and Wrinkles
While lack of estrogen can make skin lose some of its hydration and lead to a more dull appearance, it’s not the only contributing factor. Over time, you also produce less of a substance called collagen.
Collagen is a major structural protein found in the body, and it’s the main component that gives your skin its elasticity and ability to bounce back. Low levels of collagen can lead to fine lines and wrinkles.
Collagen production naturally starts to slow down as you age, whether your sex is male or female. However, women who experience menopause can experience a 30% loss in collagen production after just the first five years of its onset.
Dryness and Flakiness
Loss of estrogen and collagen can also cause your skin to lose some of its hydration. This can lead to dryness, flakiness, and shedding on your skin’s surface. It’s important not to pick and prod at your aging, menopausal skin, as this can lead to scarring.
Menopausal skin may also be more prone to dark age spots that can be difficult to treat. While they are typically not actually harmful to your health, they can be a frustrating physical symptom.
Some over-the-counter creams can fight against dark age spots, but there are also non-invasive plastic surgical options if push comes to shove.
While menopause does mark the end of PMS, it, unfortunately, does not mark the end of bumps, zits, and pimples. You may start to experience an excess in acne breakouts after the drop in estrogen.
While hair thinning might not appear to be a skin issue at its heart, some changes can occur to your scalp during menopause that may require as much care as you’re willing to give to your face.
During this time, you may start to notice some spots on the scalp, including dryness, oiliness, or an increase in acne on the top of the head. If any of these symptoms worsen, it’s a good idea to contact your dermatologist to get an evaluation.
What’s the Best Menopause Skincare Routine?
Treating all of the symptoms listed above might sound like a daunting task, but it’s actually more accessible than you might think. Don’t let menopause get the best of you!
Here’s how your skincare routine can help address the problems that often come with this normal part of aging.
Facial cleansing is an essential element of self-care regardless of gender, age, or ethnicity. But for women experiencing menopause, it is essential.
In general, gentle, non-foaming cleansers tend to be most effective as they are non-abrasive and don’t tend to dry out the skin in the same way as harsher foaming ones.
One Ocean’s Purifying Mist Cleanser is a light, fluid cleanser that gently lifts impurities without stripping the skin. It can also enhance firmness and diminish the appearance of pores for more youthful-looking skin.
2. Hydration Creams and Serums
After you cleanse, it can be helpful to use targeted creams and serums to pinpoint specific problem spots. For instance, you can apply an eye revival cream to reduce the puffiness and under-eye bags that are often present during menopause.
Likewise, you can use a revitalizing serum to stimulate collagen production that may have slowed. You can pretty much use any topical that you’d like, but you’ll want to ensure that it’s not too abrasive or irritating for your skin.
In general, you’ll probably want to avoid exfoliating masks or chemical peels during menopause, as your skin is already undergoing many hormonal changes, and they may do more harm than good.
Since menopause can cause excessive dryness and dullness to the skin, the final step in your routine should involve restoring hydration that may have been lost. This can be done pretty easily with a moisturizing cream.
Additionally, active ingredients like wakame extract can inhibit dark spots, and peptide compounds can stimulate the natural production of collagen to restore your skin’s natural glow.
Protecting your skin, especially during menopause, doesn’t end with your self-care routine. There are plenty of other ways besides the typical cleansing and moisturizing that can stop the signs of aging skin or reverse some of the damage.
For one, it’s essential to protect yourself from the sun. Using broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF-30 is a vital addition that should be lathered on every day, all year long.
Even when it’s a cloudy day, the sun’s UV rays can still reach your skin.
It’s also not just about what you put on your body: it’s also about what you put in. The link between nutrition and skin aging is still controversial.
Still, there is evidence to show that loading up on fruits and vegetables can help maintain youthful-looking skin while also helping you maintain a balanced diet for your holistic well-being.
If you’re noticing that your hair is thinning and losing its density, there are some ways you can try to correct it. For dry scalps, use a moisturizing shampoo only a few times a week. If your scalp is on the oily side, you’ll want to shampoo every day.
Finally, menopause can be a time of intense stress, which can affect your mental and physical health. In fact, stress can lead to breakouts and accelerated hair loss, which is already accelerated during menopause.
Menopause marks the end of menstruation cycles in women, but it may also mark the start of some frustrating signs of aging in the skin and hair. This is due to a loss of estrogen and collagen, which are two major components in healthy, elastic, and youthful skin.
However, using a skincare routine that implements a mild cleanser, revitalizing creams, and moisturizers can help prevent (or reverse) some of the damage.
Additionally, taking care to avoid harsh irritants or other abrasive facial cleansers can help to keep your skin looking and feeling as young as ever.