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Skin changes: Before, During and After the Menopause

Many women start to experience shifts in hormones that send their periods haywire in the years leading up to menopause. This phase that precedes the menopause is called the perimenopause. Consider it the pre-menopause. It can vary anything from a couple of months to several years.

While many women may be excited to stop dealing with birth control and periods, this shift in hormones doesn’t do many favours for your skin.

So what happens to your skin during the perimenopause?

Dryness

The nosedive in hormones during the perimenopause results in skin dryness which is one of the commonest reported symptoms. This dryness not only affects the skin on your face but also vaginal dryness which can be quite uncomfortable. It is really important to look for skincare ingredients that hold moisture into the skin to help during this phase.

Fine lines and Wrinkles

There is a drop in collagen levels, and you might notice fine lines and wrinkles that seem to have settled in overnight! Itchy skin is often noticed during this time too, again usually caused by drier skin due to loss of oestrogen and collagen.

Acne and Rosacea

Perimenopausal skin can become more sensitised and respond unpredictably to ingredients. You may also start to notice that your skin is more prone to acne that’s reminiscent of your teenage years! A lot of women experience hot flushes and redness of the skin and many develop rosacea.

As there is a relationship between collagen production, skin thickness, and lack of oestrogen, the skin is much thinner in menopause

Discolouration

Women of colour may experience discolouration and hyperpigmentation, a concern I often see in my clinics. Those pesky dark circles may even become more apparent!

So what happens to your skin during the perimenopause?

Once women reach menopause, things change again. Menopause marks the end of your periods and the NHS define it as when women reach the point where they haven’t had a period for 12 months.

As there is a relationship between collagen production, skin thickness, and lack of oestrogen, the skin is much thinner in menopause. Skin cell renewal also slows down leading to dull and rough skin. The skin gets even dryer, showing more pronounced lines and wrinkles.

Some women begin to notice some scraggly facial hairs and a generalised thinning of scalp hair. There is one positive though – less hair on the arms, legs and pubic area!

With a variety of unwelcome changes during this time, it’s really important to adjust your routine depending on your skin’s needs. There is a much greater understanding of menopausal women’s needs and several brands are now focussing their energies to produce formulae that cater to menopause-specific skin concerns, which makes navigating your way through these changes slightly more bearable!

Dr Sonia, The Derm GP and Faace skincare expert.

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