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Skin Changes During Menopause

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Article by Ananda Mahony

Ananda Mahony - Naturopath & Clinical Nutrition Profile | Email | Website
Ananda Mahony - Naturopath & Clinical Nutrition As a naturopath and clinical nutritionist Ananda's practice focus is twofold: chronic skin conditions and integrated pain management for both acute and chronic pain.

Acute and Chronic Pain including migraines, trauma and injury associated pain, reproductive pain conditions, neuropathic pain, low back pain, IBS, fibromyalgia and pain matrix conditions

Skin Conditions including eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea.
Clinics in Ashgrove and St. Lucia
Ashgrove and St. Lucia
Australia 4000
0400 223 949

Apart from the myriad of other symptoms, the onset of menopause can cause considerable skin changes in women. Symptoms range from dry, itchy skin to increased oil, thinning skin and acne breakouts.

Changes in hormones, particularly estrogen are responsible for many of the body changes during menopause including skin issues. The role of estrogen in the skin is to stimulate the formation of collagen and oil production. As menopause approaches the levels of estrogen drop and dry skin becomes very common. Increased oiliness and acne-breakouts are less common but also may occur initially as the hormonal profile begins to change. In this case estrogen may drop relative to testosterone which then drives oilier skin. Then as all hormones lower, the body’s oil production decreases as does the oiliness. Due to the reduction in oil production, the oil’s skin-protective effect decreases as does the body’s ability to hold onto moisture.

While dry skin may occur anywhere on the body, from elbows to face to legs, even the nail bed, itchiness tends to be limited to hands.

While these changes are an inevitable result of menopause, there are many ways to manage the skin effects and slow permanent changes.

Manage Dry Skin

  1. Consume good fats – essential fatty acids promote the skin’s protective oil barrier and help keep skin from losing moisture. Western diets tend to be low in omega 3 fatty acids and most of us could use a top up. Foods rich in omega 3 include salmon, sardines, anchovies, flax oil, fish oil and green leafy vegetables.
  2. Drink water – it makes sense to help maintain hydration.
  3. Protect your skin from sun damage – too much sun exposure can dry out your skin and cause long term damage. Use a natural micronised zinc oxide sunscreen. Hats and protective clothing are also important during the middle of the day.
  4. Choose a good moisturiser – if your skin is dry or dehydrated, choose a moisturiser that is rich in shea or cocoa butter (stop moisture evaporation) or plant oils (support skin cell health and moisture retention). Other ingredients to look for include hyaluronic acid (helps the skin attract and hold moisture) and antioxidants (maintain the health of the skin cells so they hold onto more moisture)
  5. Use oil-based serums at night – oils carry antioxidants and nutrients into the skin ensuring the health of the skin cells. The healthier they are, the more moisture they hold onto and the slower they age.
  6. Only wash the areas you need to with soap – I know this is getting personal but your underarms, feet and groin are the key areas that really need soap. If you don’t get dirty on your arms, legs and torso, just let water rinse over you. Washing with soap strips away the layer of natural body oil which means you have to add it back. I am not suggesting you never wash or scrub your body again but maybe less often if your skin is feeling dehydrated.

Manage Oily Skin

  1. Use a light moisturiser – or even a serum. This will help balance oil production and reduce the potential for breakouts. 
  2. Light exfoliation – this will help keep congestion down and allow moisturisers to penetrate the skin more effectively. Choose a gentle exfoliant with even exfoliant beads
  3. Monitor your skin closely as this phase is unlikely to last. As soon as you notice your skin become less oily, change to more appropriate products. Don’t assume it will stay oily.

Maintain Skin Collagen Levels

  1. Exercise – this is important for all aspects of health during and after menopause including bone density and heart healthy. It can also help to keep skin healthy by increasing the nutrients and oxygen that are circulated to your skin.
  2. Use cosmeceutical ingredients to slow collagen breakdown and support new growth. Vitamin C is one of the most significant collagen supporting nutrients.

To read more articles about anti-aging go to > Anti-Ageing Research

5 Jan 2011

Last Update: 19 Apr 2015

Article/Information supplied by Ananda Mahony

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.