Effects of Menopause on Skin & Hair
Dear Ladies, has this ever happened to you? You look in the mirror and spot a dark, thick hair on your chin or upper lip. Aghast, you immediately pluck it and it grows back! You pluck it again. It grows back again, only this time it’s darker and thicker. What’s going on?
Don’t worry: You aren’t turning into your father. Many things can cause a change in the balance between estrogens and testosterones in your body. One of the ‘not so discussed’ reason is Menopause.
Only one word comes to mind when we talk about Hot flashes, Weight gain, Forgetfulness, Irritability ….. ‘Menopause’!
During menopause, estrogen decreases. This affects your menstrual cycle, sexual arousal, appetite, mood swings and also the skin & hair. Women seldom talk about changes in skin & hair during menopause as these are the least of their concerns at that time. But the problem is, if you don’t pay immediate attention, these concerns will last forever.
Going through menopause can be an emotional experience. You struggle to get comfortable not only with what’s going on within you , but with the outside too. Be kind and gentle to yourself and remember that what you are experiencing is unique to you and nobody can totally understand what’s going on.
Following tips may help you better understand what you can do about the changes on your skin & hair that come with menopause.
Your Skin During Menopause
No matter what you do, you will age. How gracefully you age makes all the difference. As we age, the skin will naturally show an impact, but menopause can accelerate that process and create new issues you may have never had to deal with before.
Dryness / Dullness
Estrogen partially controls the growth & maintenance of blood capillaries under your skin’s surface to bring oxygen and nutrients to the top that help strengthen the barrier function of the skin. During menopause, blood flow to the skin is often reduced, contributing to increased water loss through the dermal layer. This leads to: chapped, flaky, scaly dry skin.
What can be done? Avoid long, steamy showers and use a facial moisturizer or oil with hydrating ingredients, such as Shea butter, coconut or jojoba oil and hyaluronic acid.
Due to increased levels of testosterone, the sebaceous glands in the skin secrete thicker sebum, causing an oilier appearance and in some cases leading to acne.
What can be done? Try a gentle cleanser, avoid over-washing and consider applying a clay mask to especially oily areas.
If you experienced acne during teenage, you’re likely to have a recurrence during menopause. This is because of the imbalance of estrogen and testosterone. Breakouts are common on the chin and neck.
What can be done? Look for cleansers and spot treatments containing either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid helps unclog pores and keep them clear where as benzoyl peroxide helps dry up excess oil.
The imbalance in the level between androgen and estrogen can lead to excessive hair growth called hirsutism. You may notice unwanted hair especially on face,chin and neck area.
What can be done? Tweezing, waxing, threading can help you get rid of unwanted facial hair. Other hair removal techniques like laser hair reduction may get rid of unwanted hair.
Wrinkles and loose skin:
Collagen and elastin that help keep your skin firm, smooth and plump, naturally diminish with age. However, during menopause, decreasing estrogen levels can speed up the aging process and thereby sagging skin and fine lines and wrinkles.
What can be done? Try at night, derivatives of vitamin A that can trigger new collagen production and gradually help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
Estrogen regulates the maintenance of melanocytes in the skin. As menopause progresses, your natural protection from UVA and UVB rays degenerate, making skin more prone to sun damage.
What can be done? By now, you might be applying your sunscreen regularly, but during menopause, go for a higher SPF e.g. SPF 50 filters up to 98 percent of the sun’s rays
Your Hair During Menopause
Menopause can change the texture and thickness of your hair in a dramatic manner.
Here’s what may happen and what you can do to minimize symptoms:
Thinning and Hairloss
Most women experience thinning and hair loss during menopause as estrogen and progesterone production declines.
What can be done? Use gentle products and avoid using heated tools. Try oil massage to increase blood circulation.
As your skin loses moisture due to hormonal shift, your scalp and hair may also become dry and brittle.
What can be done? If you have dandruff, use a shampoo that contains zinc or selenium. For dry & brittle hair, try a deep conditioner to soften locks, and limit the amount of heat styling you do. Put dryers and curling and straightening irons aside for the time being.
Your skin and hair may look their best during menopause with just a few lifestyle changes:
Smoking reduces estrogen levels in a woman’s body. It also contributes to fine lines and wrinkles, especially around lips & eyes. Now is the best time to say goodbye to smoking. This will not only will benefit your looks but also your overall health.
Stress can lower your body’s levels of estrogen contributing to the hormonal imbalance that causes these skin and hair issues. Change your environment to reduce stress, relax when you’re under pressure, and cope when there’s nothing you can do about the situation.
Watch your diet.
Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Eat healthy fats in foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids . A healthy diet will help boost your skin’s protective barrier, preventing dehydration.
Of course, see a professional doctor if any of the changes you’re experiencing are extreme.
*The Kosmoderma website contains facts, views, opinions, statements and recommendations of users of the Kosmoderma clinics, website, third party information providers and organizations. Individual results may vary.