Menopause Mythbusters: 7 Myths About Menopause and Skin

by | January 15, 2019

Did you think that all of your skincare woes would disappear after puberty? Join the club. From adult acne to psoriasis, it turns out that there are a number of skin issues that can arise with age. And while many of us are all too familiar with the vaginal dryness that menopause causes, the drop in estrogen that happens during menopause can wreak havoc on your skin in other ways, too.

But don’t despair; there are countless treatments out there to help your skin looks its best during menopause. Here are some of the top myths and questions that we’ve surfaced about menopause and skin.

1. Does menopause cause dry skin?

Yes, in fact, dry skin during menopause is very common. See, estrogen stimulates collagen and oils in the skin that keep it moisturized. When estrogen levels drop, it’s common to experience dry and itchy skin – and that includes vaginal dryness. It might feel as if your entire body has suddenly transformed into the Sahara desert because menopause affects the skin everywhere – from your face to elbows and even nails.

So what can you do? Essential fatty acids found in salmon, walnuts, and fortified eggs can help your skin’s oil barrier, and you could even opt for an omega-3 supplement. You should also use unscented soap or one that is formulated for sensitive skin since anything with fragrance can strip your skin of its natural oils. Finally, avoid scalding hot showers, which can dry out your skin even more.

2. Are all moisturizers the same?

Nope. There are specific ingredients to look out for that are proven to help dry skin during menopause. Most experts agree that hyaluronic acid is effective for building up your skin’s moisture barrier. Antioxidants like vitamin C and green tea are helpful too. If you’re experiencing severely dry skin throughout your body, mineral oil is ideal for trapping moisture.

3. Is dry skin the only skin-related menopause symptom?

Afraid not. With lower estrogen and potentially higher levels of testosterone, your sebaceous glands can go into overdrive which gives the appearance of oily skin and can lead to acne. This can be challenging to treat because traditional acne medications designed for teens can be too harsh for sensitive skin during menopause. You’ll definitely want to schedule an appointment with your dermatologist to find the solution right for you.

4. What can I do about acne during menopause?

It seems unfair that acne can be a menopause symptom, but it does happen. Talk to your dermatologist about solutions. You can also opt for acne treatment with salicylic acid for sensitive or combination skin in the meantime, as this will help unclog pores without drying your skin out. Products with retinol can be helpful for treating acne during menopause too – your doctor may prescribe a treatment that includes retinol, but there are also over-the-counter products with retinol available. If your skin is extra oily, blotting papers can do wonders for controlling oil during the day.

5. Do I still need to wear sunscreen during menopause?

Yes! In fact, our skin may offer us less protection from the sun as we age. A broad-spectrum SPF is just as important as ever to protect your skin from the sun during menopause. It’ll also help prevent additional age spots and wrinkles.

6. Is it true that I can’t stop hyperpigmentation during menopause?

Fortunately, you can treat hyperpigmentation (or age spots). Since estrogen helps regulate melanin when estrogen declines you’ll naturally become more prone to hyperpigmentation and other types of sun damage. Look for serums or moisturizers with a high concentration of vitamin C – it’s known for its ability to fade dark spots fast. Retinoids can be powerful for hyperpigmentation caused by acne.

7. Does menopause cause wrinkles?

Yes. The decline of B-Estradiol during menopause can cause the skin to age faster. And when estrogen drops, our fat deposits get redistributed. As a result, the supportive fat under the skin on the face is reduced leading to sagging and wrinkles. The decline of estrogen also leads to a decline in melanocytes, which can make you more prone to sun damage. Fortunately, there are a lot of options for wrinkles during menopause, including Botox, wrinkle fillers, laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, and more.

When it comes to menopause and skin, you’ve got options

Menopause can affect your skin in a lot of unexpected ways. The good news is that there are plenty of treatments out there to help everything from acne to age spots. If you’re experiencing skincare woes during menopause, see your dermatologist to get the treatment that’s right for you.