Understanding and managing menopausal skin

As you will already know, our skin goes through changes as we age, with some people experiencing phases of acne and irritation and a loss of texture throughout the years. Much of these transformative processes can be linked to hormonal changes, and perhaps one of the greatest examples of this is when a woman reaches perimenopause and menopause.

One significant symptom of this hormonal shift is that skin can undergo a series of changes, often resulting in frustration and confusion when it comes to addressing these changes effectively.

However, we are here to take a look at just what is going on during this time and how we can help to combat the visual effects of menopause on your skin.

What are some of the side effects of menopause?

As menopause is an incredibly complex process, not every woman will experience it the same way. As estrogen levels go down and progesterone increases, skin can appear to rapidly age. One reason for this is because lower estrogen means fat becomes redistributed, leaving less to support the neck, face, arms and hands. Without it, the skin begins to sag, and wrinkles can appear.

When estrogen levels decrease during the period before menopause (perimenopause), it also means less production of collagen and elastin, vital in supporting the suppleness and resilience of our skin.

Blood flow through the dermal capillaries is also reduced during menopause, with fewer nutrients and less oxygen available to the lower layers of the skin’s epidermis (outer skin layer). This contributes to the skin becoming thinner in appearance. In addition, a reduced skin cell turnover rate means the skin’s barrier function doesn’t work as well as it once did, resulting in a loss of hydration and dry skin.

Skin can be subject to a wide range of changes during menopause. Skin can be subject to a wide range of changes during menopause.

On the other hand, oily skin is also a common complaint for women going through menopause. When estrogen levels decrease, testosterone is no longer masked in the body. As testosterone triggers thicker sebum (oil) production, it can result in oily skin and potentially adult acne.

Without the same repair functions, and the lack of collagen, our skin can become more vulnerable to the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Why should I be cautious of the sun during menopause?

Estrogen is partially responsible for regulating melanin production. As menopause arrives, areas of the skin that have been exposed to UV rays over the years see a spike in melanin without the estrogen to properly control it. This can result in brown age spots appearing on the face, hands, neck, arms and chest of many women.

Cosmeceuticals can help to target some of the signs of menopausal skin. Cosmeceuticals can help to target some of the signs of menopausal skin.

How can I address the signs of menopausal skin? 

Sun protection becomes even more important during menopause. Free radicals generated by UV damage can potentially lead to the development of melanomas, the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia, according to the Cancer Council.

In addition, UV exposure is thought to be responsible for up to 80 per cent of extrinsic ageing. Fortunately, you can protect against the power of the sun with a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen such as Ultraceuticals’ SunActive SPF 50+ Range which can also be boosted with powerful free radical fighting Ultra Protective Antioxidant Complex.

To support the skin’s barrier function and restore lost hydration to the skin, you can turn to the Ultra B2 Hydrating Serum or the Ultra Moisturise Range. The most powerful impact in your quest to support skin through the menopausal years can be found in formulations that contain potent levels of vitamins C and A.

Look no further than the Ultra C Firming Range and the Ultra A Skin Perfecting Range which, when prescribed correctly, can deliver amazing results. In addition, small changes in diet such as adding more essential fatty acids such as omega-3s can work wonders to help maintain our skin’s natural lipid barrier.

When you book a professional consultation with an Ultraceuticals skin technician, they may also be able to prescribe you products specific to your skin tone. In addition, they may be able to recommend professional treatments that can help to address menopausal skin concerns.