As a major hormonal milestone that’s on a par with puberty and pregnancy, menopause can cause big changes in your skin. By discovering what’s happening internally, you’ll be able to face any external transformation that unfolds.
What is menopause?
Menopause is a biological stage that concludes the body’s ability to reproduce and is confirmed by 12 consecutive months of no menstrual cycles. Similar to puberty, it is driven by intense hormonal changes. While puberty launches menstrual cycles and reproductive capabilities that typically stay with a person through to mid-life, menopause is the natural reduction of hormone production and decrease of ovarian function that takes place in later years as the body transitions to no longer ovulating or releasing eggs.
At what age can you be premenopausal?
Also known as perimenopause, the period of transition before menopause can occur at different ages. It tends to start in women in their forties, as ovaries begin producing less estrogen and periods become irregular, but it can also happen with women in their 30s.
How long is menopause?
While experiences with menopause and low estrogen symptoms can vary from person to person, the internal process is generally quite slow and extends over many years. Studies have claimed that on average, signs of menopause vary from four and a half years to more than seven years in total.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
As estrogen levels start to decrease, there are many ways that the changes happening internally will manifest externally. Leading up to menopause, you may experience irregular periods, weight gain, hot flashes, night sweats, disturbances to your ability to sleep and even difficulty concentrating.
Big changes in skin conditions during menopause are also very common. Skin tends to become noticeably dry and may appear rough in texture. It’s more prone to irritation and allergies; you could also experience itchy skin during menopause. If you have an existing inflammatory condition, such as eczema, rosacea or acne, it can become worse in this stage of life. During menopause, age spots may appear and the epidermis becomes thinner, which makes fine lines and wrinkles more prominent and more susceptible to sagging.
From the inside out, there is a lot going on with a menopausal body, but by equipping yourself with knowledge and know-how, you can take charge of the care and comfort you deserve.
What causes skin dryness and itchiness?
It all starts with depleting estrogen and androgen hormone levels, which have an adverse impact on how skin cells function, and this affects the ability of the entire skin barrier. A weakened barrier, along with naturally dropping levels of hyaluronic acid (our built-in hydrator), means that skin has a reduced capability to trap and retain moisture. The result? Increased dryness. Meanwhile, a natural reduction of lipids (or fatty acids), which are a key component of supple skin, can contribute to a rough texture. And a plummeting collagen level (it drops 30% in the first five years of menopause) doesn’t help either. Collagen is essential for skin hydration and structure, and a lack of it leads to dryness, sagging and a loss of firmness.
But how can a hormonal imbalance cause itchy skin? A loss of hormones can lead to a vitamin D deficiency that can kick off a lack of calcium absorbency in both bones and skin. Since calcium is central to skin’s cellular functions, a reduction in calcium absorption can change skin’s pH level, making it more sensitive and prone to rashes and irritation. One of the common skin changes during menopause, an altered pH level can be the reason behind unexplained itching all over the body.
Best products for dry and itchy skin
The good news is that a simple skincare routine can help manage the signs of menopause that appear as changes in the skin. The first step to soothing dry, itchy skin is to use a mild pH-balanced cleanser that won’t strip skin’s barrier of valuable lipids.
To soothe itchy skin at night, choose a deeply nourishing moisturizer for menopause skin. Thanks to hydrating glycerin and shea butter, which has a hefty fatty acid content, La Roche-Posay Substiane Riche is a replenishing formula that also restores skin’s bounce and fullness.
Adding a hydrating face serum to your routine can be a major moisture boost. Try applying La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Anti-Aging Serum to damp skin to help trap extra moisture.
To seal in hydration while correcting signs of aging, look for an antioxidant-rich lotion for menopausal skin. La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C10 Anti-Aging Concentrate Cream was developed with sensitive skin in mind, and the blend of vitamins C and E, plus hyaluronic acid, addresses dullness, dryness, wrinkles and loss of firmness.
Using daily sun protection to help comfort dry skin. La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Hydrating Melt-in Cream Sunscreen SPF 50 for Face & Body has a velvety texture and provides protection. UV rays can enhance age spots and have a drying effect on the epidermis, plus any sun exposure can further irritate a sensitized or fragile skin condition.
Want to learn more? Discover the perfect anti-aging skincare routine for dry skin.