Skin changes through the menopause

The menopause is a time where women go through many hormonal, physical, and physiological changes. Understanding these changes and why they occur can keep your skin looking healthy and aid you in choosing the correct skincare products.
Skin changes through the menopause

Skin metabolism decreases as a whole. The skin’s barrier function becomes less efficient resulting in increased trans-epidermal water loss so more water is lost from the skin.

Age really is just a number in the world we now live in. As time goes on, it is important we learn to give ourselves the attention our bodies deserve. The menopause is a time where women go through many hormonal, physical, and physiological changes. In particular, changes to the largest and most visible organ of our body, the skin, are extremely common. Understanding these changes and why they occur can keep your skin looking healthy and aid you in choosing the correct skincare products.

As a woman goes through the menopause, changes in the skin develop due to falling levels of oestrogen. Lack of this hormone is a major culprit in accelerated skin ageing. At the same time, the process of intrinsic or chronological ageing is occurring alongside relative oestrogen deficiency. Intrinsic skin ageing is inevitable and cannot be changed; it is a normal physiological process which takes place as time passes. Lastly, skin damage from ultraviolet radiation due to cumulative sun exposure over the years just adds to the mix.

These factors come together resulting in skin changes we commonly associate with the menopause. Common problems that are encountered include:

1. Skin dryness

Skin metabolism decreases as a whole. The skin’s barrier function becomes less efficient resulting in increased trans-epidermal water loss so more water is lost from the skin. Reduction in barrier function leaves the skin vulnerable to the elements (e.g. free radical damage, ultraviolet radiation). There is also an overall reduction in sebum (oil) and lipid production.

2. Wrinkles

Cumulative UV radiation over the years damages elastin fibres in the skin. Elastin is a highly elastic protein found in the skin’s connective tissue. Its breakdown results in loose skin and an inability of skin to snap back into shape once stretched.

3. Age spots

Uneven pigmentation and “age spots” develop in sun-exposed areas of the body such as the face, neck, hands and forearms. These are usually more common in fair skinned individuals and manifest as freckling or brown marks on the skin.

4. Increased fragility

Changes over time occur in every layer of the skin. There is thinning of the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous fat. The dermis or second, thicker layer of the skin shows the majority of change due to falling levels of collagen. Collagen gives skin its structure, support and elasticity. Its levels fall by 1% each year after the age of 25. In the layers below the dermis, there is a reduction in the size and number of cells that store lipids. Loss of this subcutaneous fat leads to deep wrinkles and folds. Additionally, loss of fat and connective tissue support around blood vessels makes them more susceptible to injury. Oestrogen has a protective role in wound healing and reduced levels of this after menopause means that the skin takes longer to heal from injury.

5. Redness/sensitive skin

Rosacea is a common condition, which mainly affects women and is common during menopause. It can cause redness, skin sensitivity, flushing and dilated blood vessels of the face that may become permanent contributing to the red appearance.

New products are designed specifically to deal with the types of changes that occur over time and are specific to skin going through the menopause e.g. Neovadial. These are ideally intensely hydrating and contain lipids in formulations that will help improve the integrity of the skin’s barrier function. Hydration also helps improve the appearance of fine line and wrinkles. If you have sensitive skin, your skincare needs to be suitable for sensitive skin types. It is also important not to forget the use of a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen, which needs to offer protection against UVA and UVB radiation. This needs to ideally be an SPF 30 or above and can be used in conjunction with daily facial skin care.

Going through the menopause takes strength. The experience is different for every woman, but Neovadiol can help meet your unique skincare needs during this time. With 14 years’ research behind it, Neovadiol works to reduce the appearance of the signs of ageing that come with hormonal changes, whilst helping your skin feel intensely hydrated. Find your strength with Neovadiol, for the ‘me’ in menopause.

This article reflects the opinions of Dr Anjali Mahto and is intended as general information only. You should seek advice from a professional before starting any new regime or course of conduct.

Anjali MahtoConsultant Dermatologist