Skin changes during menopause

Understanding and caring for your skin during menopause

Skin changes during menopause are a common occurrence; in fact, almost 50% of women will experience skin issues related to perimenopause and menopause.

Understanding the impact of perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause on your skin is crucial for maintaining healthy, vibrant skin during this phase of life. By implementing some practical tips and making informed choices about the skincare you use, you can alleviate, or at least ease, many of the common skin concerns associated with menopause.


What are common skin conditions associated with menopause?

Itching and Dry Skin

One of the most frequent complaints among perimenopausal and menopausal women is itching and dry skin. Estrogen, an essential hormone throughout our whole body, plays a crucial role in maintaining the skin's natural hydration mechanisms. It promotes the production of ceramides, natural hyaluronic acid, and sebum, which help retain moisture. However, with declining estrogen levels, these substances become scarce, leading to increased water evaporation and resulting in dry and scaly skin.

What you can do:

To combat dryness, avoid using drying soaps that lather, foam, or bubble, as they strip away natural oils. Instead, opt for a gentle, non-foaming cleanser for both your face and body. If your skin remains dry, consider using a moisturising lotion as a soap substitute. Make it a habit to moisturise your skin twice a day, especially after showering or bathing. Lighter moisturisers are ideal for daytime use, while heavier ones work well for nighttime hydration. Using a moisturiser with Hyaluronic acid on damp skin can also help draw in moisture, along with topping up moisturisers with a good-quality facial oil for extra hydration.

If persistent itching occurs, consult your doctor to rule out other potential causes such as histamine release, skin nerve irritation, iron deficiency, or thyroid disturbance.


Spots and Acne

Dealing with spots and acne can be distressing, particularly during menopause, when you may have been used to clear skin for many years. Some women, especially those who experienced acne as teenagers, may experience flare-ups during this stage of hormone fluctuation and decline. While the exact cause is still unclear, it's believed that a decrease in estrogen levels may contribute to an imbalance of male hormones, triggering spots and acne.

What you can do:

Review all of the products you put on your skin, from your makeup to your sun protection. Try to only use products that are non-comedogenic (contain ingredients that won't clog or block the pores on your skin) and won't aggravate spots or acne. Use a mild cleanser containing salicylic acid to gently exfoliate the skin and help unclog pores. Other beneficial ingredients to include in your skincare are retinol and niacinamide, with studies showing them to be safe and effective for acne. Remember, consistency is key; it may take a few months for these products to show noticeable results, so be patient and keep going.


Redness and Flushing 

Flushing, aka hot flushes or flashes, is characterised by sudden facial redness and warmth (for some, a burning heat) and is a well-known symptom of menopause. Additionally, some women may experience flushing due to rosacea, a condition where the skin's blood vessels become highly reactive. Rosacea tends to be more prevalent in women, especially during the menopause years.

What you can do:

Some simple lifestyle changes have been shown to help alleviate the redness and flushing caused by rosacea, and also reduce the severity of hot flushes. Limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine, avoid spicy foods, and protect your skin from the sun. In some cases, creams or laser treatments can shrink the tiny blood vessels in the skin and provide further relief from rosacea.


Facial Hair

The rapid drop in estrogen levels causes an imbalance in the estrogen-to-testosterone ratio. For some women, this imbalance can lead to the growth of unwanted thicker facial hair around the upper lip, chin, cheeks, and jawline.

What you can do:

Luckily, these days we have various hair removal methods to choose from, including plucking, waxing, threading, shaving, and creams. For those wanting a more permanent solution, electrolysis and laser hair removal can be considered.


Fine lines, Wrinkles, and Jowls

Estrogen is vital for collagen production, which gives strength, plumpness, and structure to the skin. Studies have shown that collagen drops as much as 30% in the first five years of menopause, then approximately 2% every year thereafter. Reduced collagen levels mean the skin loses its tightness, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, jowls, and a loss of jawline definition. You may also start to notice your skin feeling thinner than previously.

What you can do: 

To minimise the decline in collagen levels, adopt habits that protect your skin. Limit sun exposure, avoid smoking, and minimise your alchol consumption. Review your skincare routine and incorporate anti-ageing serums containing retinoids and vitamin C - ingredients shown to help with dull skin and fine lines.


Once you reach postmenopause (12 months after your last period), skin changes will start to settle and become more gradual. Focus on the basics: staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and limiting your consumption of alcohol and processed foods. 

Remember, it's never too late to prioritise self-care and embrace your skin's natural beauty.




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This article has been reviewed by our expert advisory team.

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