What the Menopause does to your Skin

What the Menopause does to your Skin

The menopause is a natural part of ageing that all women go through, averagely between the ages of 45 and 55 as women’s oestrogen levels decline. For some, symptoms don’t go further than the end of monthly cycles, but for others it can be a really challenging process with lots of very noticeable changes to the body, including a range of different skin problems. However, with the right understanding and care, you can keep your skin looking and feeling its best. Just for you and your skin, we’ve whipped up a list of helpful tips to combat some of the common skin problems caused by the menopause. 

Menopausal acne 

When you hear the word “acne” you might be transported back to your days as a pimply teenager. However, acne can affect people of all ages. Sadly women going through the menopause can be particularly prone to acne breakouts, due to the body’s sudden drop in female hormones. 

What you can do

Firstly, be sure to stay away from products and treatments that are designed for teenagers. Whilst pimples might have you feeling like a teenager, the menopause makes your skin’s epidermis (outer layer) much thinner, meaning teenage-targeted products are likely going to be much too harsh for your skin.

If you’re struggling with menopausal acne, azelaic acid is a great ingredient to add to your skincare routine. It’s ideal for sensitive, acne-prone skin types, working to clear your pores of any nasty bacteria that may be causing breakouts and irritation. It also reduces inflammation and redness, and encourages gentle cell turnover, helping any scarring to heal up quickly.

Increased signs of sun damage

We all love spending time out in the sunshine. It provides an important source of vitamin D and can really help to boost our mood. However, the thinning of the epidermis during menopause makes your skin much more susceptible to sun damage. Because UV rays are the number one cause of wrinkles and sagging in the skin, too much sun exposure (particularly during and after the menopause) can rapidly increase signs of aging. Too much sun exposure can also increase your risk of developing sun spots and skin cancer.  

What you can do 

An SPF of at least 30 is a vital step in every skincare routine, but especially so for a  menopause skincare routine. If you’re outside all day, remember to reapply your SPF regularly, and try not to spend too much time in direct sunlight. Find a shady spot to sit in, or wear a hat to keep the sun off of your face. 

It’s also important to be aware that sun damage can still occur indoors. A lot of people think that windows filter out UV rays, but sadly that’s not the case. If you're going on a long car journey, or your work desk is right next to a window, then it’s sensible to still apply SPF, especially if it’s a bright sunny day. 

And if you’re worrying about your vitamin D levels with all this SPF talk, then fear not, you can relax. Clinical studies have never found that everyday sunscreen use leads to vitamin D deficiency. This is essentially because it doesn’t take very much sun exposure for the body to produce sufficient levels of vitamin D.

Drier skin

The thinning out of the epidermis during menopause can also lead to increased transepidermal water loss. This fancy pants word basically just refers to the amount of water that passively evaporates from your skin into the air. When your epidermis is thinner, your skin can’t retain as much moisture, causing your skin to be drier than usual. 

What you can do

To soothe any dry skin on your face, start your skincare routine with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water. Natural is usually the best way to go, as these products will be free from harsh chemicals which can trigger irritation and further dryness. Naturally (pardon the pun), you’ll want a good moisturiser in your routine too. Moisturisers formulated with shea butter are a great option, as shea has many nourishing and healing benefits for the skin. For any dryness on the body, salt scrubs and exfoliating brushes are also a great addition to your routine. They help to gently remove any dead and damaged skin cells, leaving your skin looking and feeling revitalized and silky soft. (Just be wary of over scrubbing!)

Easily irritated skin 

Around the time of menopause, the pH level of women’s skin changes. With this change, the skin becomes more sensitive (as mentioned) and therefore more prone to becoming irritated and developing rashes. If you’re already prone to eczema or rosacea, we’re so sorry to tell you, but the menopause could cause it to worsen.  

What you can do

There’s good news though! Opting for a facial moisturiser that is natural, and free from heavy synthetic fragrances, should help to reduce any signs of irritation.  

Although, the bad news is that irritated skin isn’t a big fan of hot showers and baths, so try to turn the temperature down if you can. 

Hot flushes

Hot flushes are one of the most common symptoms of the menopause. They seemingly jump up out of nowhere, sending an overwhelming sensation of warmth through the skin. Sweatiness, redness and even heart palpitations can follow. 

What you can do

Both caffeine and spicy foods can bring on hot flushes, so try to go easy on the teas, coffees and curries (it’s a real shame, we know). Stress can be another big trigger, so make sure you’re giving yourself plenty of time to relax and unwind (the perfect excuse for a pamper evening). 

If you feel a hot flush coming on, one of the best things you can do is spray your skin down with cool water. For on the go use, there are plenty of water mist sprays that you can buy. However, you know we love a good DIY at KiteNest. Simply get yourself a reusable spray bottle, fill it up with cool water, and pop it in your bag. It couldn’t be easier and it’ll save you a good few pennies (and a fair bit of plastic waste!)

The menopause can feel like a completely overwhelming process, but with greater knowledge comes greater power. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to deal with the changes you notice in your skin.