Simple menopause skincare tweaks for ageless beauty

Age may be just a number but as we get older hormone changes can impact our skin. Here’s how to navigate menopause skincare with complete fabulosity.

We know to expect changes to our mood, mental health and, yes, weight during menopause — but how about our skin?

A 2022 study found as many as 64 per cent of women attending menopause clinics experienced skin problems during this life stage, which typically arrives in our late 40s or early 50s.

“Menopause is a time of massive hormonal instability and a lot of the typical symptoms — hot flushes, night sweats, day sweats — are to do with that hormonal fluctuation, which extends to your skin,” dermatologist Dr Katherine Armour says. “Patients I see daily talk about changes to their skin that they weren’t expecting.

“They all say, ‘Nobody told me this was going to happen; I didn’t look like this a year ago’.”

Judy Cheung Wood of SkinB5 agrees, saying the changes can leave us feeling stressed and struggling with flagging confidence in our appearance, which can affect our day-to-day life.

Common menopause skin changes

Estrogen, the hormone that plays a key role in keeping your skin plump and radiant, takes a dip during menopause, leaving skin feeling dry, thin and more prone to wrinkles. The impact can be felt in four major ways:

1. Compromised skin barrier

“Hormonal fluctuations can lead to a decrease in oil production, causing skin to lose moisture, resulting in dryness and itchiness,” Dr Armour says.

“Clinically, we also see an increased frequency of different types of eczema and rosacea.

“Skin can feel more sensitive than it used to, with less tolerance to potentially irritating active skincare.”

2. Decline in collagen

As estrogen levels drop, collagen production also takes a hit, Dr Armour says.

Collagen is the scaffolding of skin and when it weakens can lead to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines, especially around the eyes and mouth.

3. Acne resurgence

“It’s like a cruel joke — just when you thought you had left acne behind in your teenage years, it decides to make a comeback during menopause,” Judy says. “Hormonal imbalances can trigger breakouts, leaving you with pimples and wrinkles at the same time!”

4. Age spots and uneven skin tone

Hormones also play a role in regulating melanin production, so when they go haywire, it can lead to age spots and uneven skin tone, Dr Armour explains.

Skincare tips for ageless beauty through menopause

The good news is that while your skin may be undergoing fairly major changes, with the right skincare routine you can keep it looking and feeling its best.

Skincare for menopause skin

“What used to work may not be working anymore and it’s time to look for a nourishing moisturiser and ingredients,” Dr Armour says.

She notes retinols are popular and credits plant-based compound bakuchiol with creating the same sort of anti-ageing benefits.

Dr Armour is also a fan of astaxanthin as well as hyaluronic acid, which hydrates and plumps the skin, and niacinamide, which supports the skin barrier and is suitable for sensitive skin.

Judy says CoQ10, another active ingredient in some skincare, works wonders for some women.

Gentle cleansing and sunscreen are also key

“Skin is more sensitive so opt for a gentle cleanser,” Judy advises.

“And if you’re using a mask, look for calming ingredients like clay or avocado.

“A favourite hack of mine is to use almond oil as a cleanser.

“Simply wet your palms and smooth a small amount over your face.

“It even takes off waterproof make-up.”

Dr Armour adds it is never too early to be mindful of the sun’s UV rays.

“Sun protection is one of the most important things you can do for your skin, protecting your collagen and elastin.

“The sooner you start this, the better off you’ll be,” she says.

Lifestyle matters

You know the drill — less stress, more sleep, no smoking, limit alcohol, keep moving and eat a healthy and well-balanced diet.

All of these are good for your skin.

“Turn off Netflix and get some fresh air — you’ll feel relaxed and it will show in your face,” Judy says.

Dr Armour adds don’t forget treatments like dermal needling and laser treatment, “which can help with specific concerns and in plumping skin up”.

In traditional Chinese medicine, menopause is known as the “second spring’’ — a shift from fertility and reproduction to conserving and nourishing the self.

We’ll take that — here’s to radiant skin and embracing the beautiful you!

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Written by Liz McGrath