Menopause and skin changes

 

​​From dryness to rashes, menopause has many different effects upon the skin. Read on to find out more about the ways in which changing hormone levels affect your skin, which treatment options are available and when to see a doctor.

WHAT SKIN CHANGES CAN I EXPECT?

  • General aging of the skin, such as wrinkles and reduction in elasticity
  • Dryness and itching
  • Acne
  • Increased sensitivity
  • Redness associated with hot flushes
  • Facial hair (hirsutism)
  • Hair thinning
  • Changes to the skin around the genital area
  • Haxthausen Disease – a scaly thickening of the skin on the hands and feet.
  • A possible improvement in psoriasis, if you have suffered from it previously

Many other skin conditions can appear at this time that are not related to menopause. If unsure, check with your doctor.

If you are spending your days frustrated about your menopause symptoms… download Stella.

HOW LIKELY ARE SKIN CHANGES DURING MENOPAUSE?

  • Most women notice some skin changes at menopause – the type and degree of change is unique to each woman
  • One third of women experience hair thinning at the front and crown of the head

Read more about the stages of menopause.

HOW CAN YOU MINIMALISE SKIN CHANGES?

1. Look after your lifestyle. A generally healthy lifestyle is always a good idea. Try to exercise, eat a healthy diet, keep well hydrated, cut down on alcohol and avoid smoking.

2. Skincare. Use a regular moisturiser to help your skin stay hydrated.

3. Protect skin. If you are itching, try not to scratch – tap and pat instead. Keep nails short to prevent damaging skin.

4. Keep an eye on rashes. Speak to your GP if you have any persistent rashes – they may be able to prescribe an effective treatment depending on the cause.

5. Seek help. If your hair is thinning, your doctor may do tests to rule out an easily treatable cause like iron deficiency anaemia or thyroid disease. Avoiding heat treatments, extensions and harsh chemicals to slow hair loss.

WOULD HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY HELP?

Use of oestrogens has been shown to reduce the skin changes associated with menopause, including the decreased levels of collagen and glycoaminoglycans. However, HRT is not used purely to reduce the signs of aging. This is because HRT comes with a number of potential risks.

Read more about the HRT debate.

Skin changes and menopause

The ‘female’ hormone oestrogen has many functions throughout the body, including in the skin.

The high levels of oestrogen seen in younger women help to keep the skin healthy and plump by stimulating the production of collagen, glycoaminoglycans and natural oils. These help the skin to remain supple and hydrated.

However at menopause, your body begins to produce much less oestrogen, resulting in a reduction in these effects. Menopause also brings changes to the way the circulation supplies the skin, with reduced blood flow and flushing becoming more common. Hair thinning may be caused by the decrease in another ‘female’ hormone, progesterone.

See a doctor urgently if you have a rash all over your body or which is spreading rapidly.

You have a rash with a fever, which feels hot to the touch or which is leaking pus.

You have any ulcers, scabs or non-healing spots anywhere on your body.

You have any moles which have changed or look unusual.

You are concerned for any other reason.

Otherwise, see a doctor if:

  • You have a rash which is persistent
  • You are concerned for any other reason
Some of my itching is due to an autoimmune skin condition, Lichen Sclerosus. It’s a condition that can occur before or at menopause and is manageable”

Rowena

DISCOVER MORE

My search for treatment to relieve my vaginal atrophy. Read more

When you’re facing hot flushes and terribly itchy skin, what works? Read more

I turned my experience into a skincare consultancy during perimenopause. Read more

WHAT RELIEF IS AVAILABLE?

Download Stella for personalised cognitive behaviour therapy for many symptoms during menopause

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Cappelloni L, 2019, Menopause Hair Loss Prevention, Medline, accessed 9th March 2021 https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/hair-loss

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