Do your skin and hair feel different these days? You’re not imagining it.
Menopause can have noticeable effects on your skin and hair. That’s because as your estrogen levels decrease, your skin can become thinner, less elastic, easier to bruise, and more prone to changes in pigmentation. You may also find facial hair growing where it didn’t used to be and breakouts of pimples for the first time in ages. Fortunately, you can reduce these effects with the proper care and annual dermatologist checkups.
Skin protection 101
Now is the time to up your skin care game. If you don’t already, apply broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) daily to any areas your clothes don’t cover. This can help to prevent further loss of elasticity, changes in pigment and fine lines and wrinkles. You should also ask your dermatologist about skin cancer screenings, any age spots you may have noticed, and how to perform your own daily skin checks to monitor for changes.
The role of collagen
Research has found that women’s skin loses about 30% of its collagen during the first five years of menopause, and after that, it becomes more gradual—about 2% per year. This reduction can lead to wrinkles, lines, and sagging. If you’re concerned, ask your dermatologist about products with retinol or peptides, which can boost collagen. Gentle facial massages can also naturally stimulate collagen.
Dealing with dry skin
Menopause causes your skin to lose its ability to hold water. To counter this effect, try moisturizing after bathing and throughout the day. Moisturizers with hyaluronic acid or glycerin can be especially helpful. You may also want to use mild cleansers instead of soap, which can be drying, and consult with your dermatologist about exfoliation or microdermabrasion.
Hair growth and loss
Ironically, during menopause, you may grow new facial hair—such as above your lip or under your chin—at the same time as losing hair up top. The good news is that unwanted facial hair can be removed with treatments such as waxing (if your skin isn’t already too thin), laser hair removal, or prescription creams. Talk to your dermatologist about the best option for you.
As for thinning hair on your head, see your dermatologist at the first sign, such as a widening part or receding hairline. The earlier you seek treatment, the better the results. If your dermatologist confirms that menopause is the cause, laser treatment or minoxidil (or both) may be recommended. A hair transplant is also an option for those with more profound hair loss.
Bruises, wounds, and rashes
In addition to bruising easier, you’ll notice that wounds take longer to heal following menopause. It’s a good idea to build in more time for healing and wear protective clothing to prevent skin injuries. Also, around age 50, the pH level of your skin changes, making it more sensitive. Rashes can be more common, while conditions like eczema or rosacea can worsen. See your dermatologist about any lingering wounds or rashes and try using fragrance-free products to reduce irritation.
Acne at my age?
Yes, you may feel like a teenager, but menopausal women can suddenly have pimples and other types of acne as their estrogen levels drop. Yet the treatments an adolescent might use could be too harsh for your skin. Try using a gentle cleanser with salicylic acid, and if that doesn’t work, you can ask your dermatologist about prescription treatment options.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
- American Academy of Dermatology Association. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/anti-aging/skin-care-during-menopause.