A few fortunate women experience virtually no symptoms of menopause. For them, their monthly cycles simply cease at some point. The vast majority of women, on the other hand, experience noticeable and often troubling physical symptoms. These can include hot flashes, dizziness, insomnia, dry mouth, heart palpitations and changes to the skin. Symptoms like these can last for months or years and may vary widely in their severity. Also, menopause skin care becomes a major concern.
Hormones, Hormones, Hormones!
Menopausal changes are the result of changes in hormones. Essentially, the female body ceases to produce the same level of estrogens that it once did. This absence of estrogen brings about some changes while the surging dominance of testosterone is responsible for others. In her younger years, a woman’s estrogens effectively mask the abilities of testosterone. As estrogen levels recede, testosterone causes unwanted changes like a deepening voice and the development of facial hair.
These hormonal changes can wreak havoc on healthy skin. From the sudden appearance of wrinkles to the development of acne that would seem more appropriate for a teenager, menopause skin brings changes that are difficult to predict. Some women feel that these changes occur overnight while others come on gradually. Either way, the woman experiencing menopause and skin issues is likely to feel that she’s no longer in control. That’s why working with a board-certified dermatologist on a menopause skin care routine is essential.
Skin Changes with Menopause
Women who are approaching or already going through menopause will see a number of changes even in healthy skin. An increase in the oiliness of skin is one of the most common menopause skin care issues. Rising testosterone levels trigger the sebaceous glands, which begin producing thicker sebum. Thus, the skin appears shinier than it did when estrogen levels were higher and masking testosterone. It is often this increase in sebum production that leads to acne.
Acne is just as troubling to the woman in menopause as it is to the most self-conscious teenager. Fortunately, a dermatologist has many menopause skin treatments that may prove helpful. These include the oral medication spironolactone. This steroid derivative is a powerful androgen blocker that can really help to level out hormones, thereby leading to decreased oil production and acne. Dermatologists may also suggest taking a natural flaxseed oil supplement. Flaxseed oil has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties. Since acne is essentially an inflammation, the flaxseed oil can be an effective part of the menopause skin care routine.
Your dermatologist may also recommend topical acne treatments. While effective, these treatments will also be gentle so as not to upset your skin’s delicate balance. A salicylic acid cleanser may make a big difference. Any topical products that are prescribed or recommended will be non-drying to avoid taking your skin from one extreme to the other.
Wrinkles and Sagging, Loose Skin
Wrinkles and sagging are another big concern for women experiencing menopause skin issues. Before menopause, the estrogen in a woman’s body stimulates fat deposits. As estrogen becomes scarce body fat tends to be redistributed from the face, neck and hands to the belly, buttocks and thighs. This fat redistribution makes wrinkles and sagging inevitable. The thinning of the skin only contributes to this difficulty. Estrogens help to feed and maintain the blood capillaries in the skin, so when these hormone levels drop the skin doesn’t get the nutrients it needs. This means skin cells don’t turn over as quickly and the epidermis becomes increasingly thinner.
Anti-Aging Skin Treatments!
Several treatments are available for women wanting to combat the wrinkles, sagging and thinning skin that come with menopause.
Proper Skin Care Products
Your dermatologist can provide a prescription-strength retinoid that’s capable of encouraging the production of collagen and repairing skin with surprising speed. The active ingredient in retinoids is a concentrated formulation of vitamin A. The vitamin is absorbed into the skin where it reacts with an enzyme to produce transretinoic acid. As long as the treatment does not dry your skin, retinoids can be used on a long term basis.
Peptides are another substance that stimulates collagen production and also provides helpful elasticity which the skin naturally loses with the onset of menopause. A rich moisturizer containing glycerin or hyaluronic acid can be an amazing antidote for women who experience drying skin during menopause. These effective moisturizers definitely help to minimize the appearance of wrinkles by keeping skin soft and hydrated.
Injections and Laser Therapy
You might consider fillers or injections like Botox, Juvederm, or Dysport to recapture the youthful fullness your face used to have. A resurfacing laser treatment can also help give skin a younger appearance by stimulating collagen production and reducing the look of fine lines.
Ultherapy is a new, non-surgical skin tightening procedure that uses the latest in ultrasound technology and a perfect solution for people who aren’t ready to try a surgical face lift. It naturally enhances and stimulates your body’s production of collagen and is for use on the brow, chin, neck and chest areas.
Working with your dermatologist is one of the best ways to counteract these troubling signs of menopause.
Be Vigilant about UV Protection!
Menopause and skin issues make harmful UV rays more of a threat than ever before. As the skin thins and becomes less resilient it also becomes more susceptible to sun damage.
Accordingly, women who are going through menopause must be more vigilant than ever when it comes to protecting against harmful UV rays. A lack of estrogen is once again the culprit for this problem. Melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin in the skin, are largely maintained by estrogen. With a lack of that substance the number of melanocytes declines, leading to greater susceptibility to sun damage. Making sunscreen a daily part of the menopause skin care routine is more essential than ever, and your dermatologist can help with treatments for hyperpigmentation and age spots, which are signs of previous sun damage.
Menopause and skin care issues go hand-in-hand. However, a board-certified dermatologist can help to create a menopause skin care routine that minimizes these issues. Your dermatologist can help you regain the healthy skin you once enjoyed.