Updated: May 12, 2020
Beyond the frequently discussed symptoms of hot flashes and brain fog, unexpected skin changes during menopause can be a massive annoyance for women. Read on for ways your skin – which is, in fact, the largest organ of your body – experiences declining estrogen, and concrete actions you can take today to take control.
Hormonal Acne Scientifically dubbed acne vulgaris (whoever coined the term clearly experienced the same rough teen years as your author), 26% of women in their 40s and 15% of women 50+ report adult acne. Beyond the usual culprits (stress, diet, etc.), hormonal shifts can cause increased clogged pores, excess oil production and irritation.
Cleansers with salicylic acid can be effective, but don't go reaching for your teenager's acne face wash just yet. Your skin needs a gentler approach to maintain moisture.
From prescription (anti-androgen drugs, retinoids) to natural products (e.g. tea tree oil and green tea can reduce inflammation), see Healthline's helpful solutions.
Dry & itchy skin We'll save you the squeamish biology charts, but know that reduced estrogen impacts the blood vessels and cells below your skin's surface, which thins your skin over time. This thinning results in reduced hydration, dryness & itchiness for many post-menopausal women.
In addition to supercharging your daily moisturizing routine, applying hyaluronic acid or glycerin after bathing can prevent skin dryness. Oatmeal baths can also be tremendously helpful (see: Healthy Obsessions).
Wrinkles / Sagging / General aging Studies show that women's skin loses ~30% of its – i.e. what is responsible for skin elasticity– in the five years post-menopause, and ~2% a year after that.
Rather than tackling the $532B global beauty industry ourselves, we'll let our friends at Allure showcase their curated list of solutions, including our #1 pick (see: Healthy Obsessions).
WHAT ELSE WE'RE READING
Debunking HRT myths – Important read from The Washington Post on how hormone replacement therapy (or HRT) got a bad rap and why women should reconsider.
Fat-free –> guilt-free? — One woman's moving essay on rectifying decades of internalized diet industrial complex feels with today's body positivity movement.
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