When discussing menopause symptoms, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, weight gain, and sleep issues get most of the attention—and rightfully so. Yet these are only a few signs of declining estrogen levels, and many women experience menopause skin changes—both in the look and feel of their skin.
According to Dr. Debra Jaliman, board-certified NYC dermatologist, Assistant Professor of Dermatology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and author of the book, Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist, “Women go through many symptoms as their hormones shift during the months or years leading up to menopause.” From new wrinkles and skin dryness to possible itching and sensitivity, these indicators of menopause are certainly worthy of discussion as well.
How does menopause affect your skin?
The hormonal changes associated with menopause have a significant impact on the body both inside and out. Primarily due to the loss of estrogen, it’s common to see a reduction in skin hydration, elasticity, and thickness. The decline of estrogen compromises the skin’s collagen and elastin, which are the natural proteins that give youthful skin its smoothness, plumpness, and tautness. In fact, studies have shown that women can lose up to 30 percent of their skin’s healthy collagen within the first five years of menopause.
Dr. Jaliman recommends taking hyaluronic acid and collagen supplements (even well before menopause), as they can have far-reaching benefits for the skin. “Consuming hyaluronic acid and collagen together boosts the effects of both, helping to increase skin elasticity, promote the skin’s natural repair process and prompt the body to form new collagen. They may also help alleviate dry skin, which in turn reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” she adds.
“The drop in estrogen levels can also result in a loss of the supportive fat below the skin of the face, neck, hands, and arms, which leads to sagging and wrinkles,” Dr. Jaliman explains. Menopause also shifts in the balance of estrogen and testosterone within the body. “Due to the unmasking of testosterone as estrogen declines, women may develop facial hair, particularly in the chin area.” In some women, higher levels of testosterone can cause an increase in oil production and acne breakouts as well.
Menopause skincare solutions
The proper products and ingredients can help improve the skin symptoms associated with menopause. Topical hyaluronic acid is an extremely effective hydrator that can be found in a variety of serums and creams at virtually every price point. Dr. Jaliman also recommends skincare products formulated with peptides to treat sagging skin on the face and neck. For those interested in office-based aesthetic procedures, “Radiofrequency treatments like Exilis Ultra and Thermage CPT can help smooth, tighten and contour the skin,” she shares.
On the subject of hormone-replacement therapy…
Many women turn to hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) in the form of medications and creams to help offset the wide array of menopause symptoms, and many women are also concerned about the potential side effects.
Enter a skincare ingredient called methyl estradiolpropanoate (MEP). Dr. Jaliman shares, “The studies are impressive, and MEP can be beneficial for menopausal skin.” This technology has been found to interact with estrogen receptors in the skin, in turn stimulating the production of more collagen and elastin, increase hydration, and essentially mimic the youth-imparting benefits of estrogen. However, unlike HRT treatments, MEP is broken down into an inactive compound once it’s metabolized by the skin, which means no potential hormone-based side effects. (MEP can be found in Emepelle’s serum and night cream, which are also formulated with antioxidants, niacinamide, and peptides for additional anti-aging benefits as well.)
It’s a fact that menopause causes visible changes in your skin, but you’re not alone. Whether used individually or in combination, a proper skincare regimen, supplements and professional treatments (if you so choose) can help minimize the effects of menopause, and keep your skin looking and feeling its best.