Itchy, saggy, dry - those are the top 3 skin situations on your menopausal changes list and dryness is the most uncomfortable one so, this is a good question to ask. As you'll learn below, the skin’s inability to retain water plays a major role in skin dryness during the menopause.
Having dry skin during menopause is very common
Dryness is one of the major clinical changes during facial skin ageing in post- menopausal women. Of all mature women’s dermatological conditions, dry skin is one of the most common.
A recent survey of 3,875 postmenopausal women over 40 showed that 36.2% suffered from dry skin.
This is caused by decreased levels of oestrogen and progesterone. In your 50's, the pH level of the skin changes as well as the ability to hold water, your metabolism slows down and skin becomes drier, dull, less firm and less smooth. Altogether, less friendly, that’s for sure …
There are various symptoms of menopausal dry skin
- Tight skin after showering or swimming
- Flaky or peeling skin
- Cracks on hands and feet
- Itchy skin
- You can notice grey or ashy tones on your skin if you have a darker skin tone
These skin changes happen when the renewal of the keratinocytes (cells constituting 90% of the surface layer of the skin) slows down and causes accumulation of aged cells on the epidermal surface. The lipid barrier therefore becomes less organized, causing skin to lose its resistance.
In addition, (last one for this article, we promise), your naturally-occuring hyaluronic acid becomes highly sensitive to degradation by a special enzyme called hyaluronidase and this causes progressive worsening of hydration and firmness.
The lipid barrier is less well organized, thus the dryness
Key elements to remember
Dryness of the skin is due to a lack of hydration provoked by decreased level of oestrogen. When its balance is disturbed, your skin is not able to function properly and has trouble retaining moisture levels.