Menopause causes a number of changes to the skin, hair and nails. The hormonal changes cause the body to make less new collagen. There is also atrophy or thinning of the facial bones and the fat layer under the skin. As a result, there may be sagging around the neck, jawline and cheeks. The reduction in estrogen during menopause causes dry skin. All of these changes combined make fine lines and wrinkles more visible. Thinner hair and more brittle nails are other common concerns. Here are some answers to your FAQ regarding menopausal skin.
Can menopause cause itchy skin?
As estrogen production diminishes around the time of menopause, dry, itchy skin becomes a very common symptom. The decline in skin thickness and collagen production appears to be most rapid in the few years immediately preceding menopause.
Lowered estrogen levels also decrease the body’s ability to retain moisture and slow down the body’s production of natural skin oils, which also contributes to itchy skin.
Menopausal skin solution for itching :
The itchy skin can be treated naturally by applying OTC moisturizers daily after showers on damp skin. Moisturizers containing ceramides, naturally occurring skin lipids that prevent water loss, may have enhanced results. Options include Cerave, a pharmacy brand and Avene Xeracalm, sold in dermatology offices.
How does menopause affect your hair?
Menopause causes androgen or male hormone levels to increase, which can trigger thinning of scalp hair as well as excess facial hair. Initially, androgens reduce the length and thickness of scalp hair; later on there may be recession of the hairline
Solution to hair changes during menopause:
Hormone replacement therapy, if recommended by your doctor, will help minimize both scalp hair thinning and excess facial hair. Rogaine 5% or Minoxidil 5% (generic) , available OTC can be used once daily, to improve hair thinning. If hair thinning persists, consider augmenting this program with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments done in a dermatology office. While still in the investigational stage, smaller studies have shown that this treatment delivers growth factors to the hair root. The result is thickening of existing hair and stimulation of new growth.
Excessive facial hair can be treated temporarily with waxing, epilation or home depilatories. Laser hair removal can achieve 80% permanent reduction after a series of treatments . For facial hair that is not easily treated at home, it is a safe option.
Does menopause cause acne?
The hormone changes during menopause include a rise in female testosterone. This can cause increased oil production in the skin, one of the causes of adult acne.
Solutions for menopausal acne:
Menopausal acne typically responds to topical therapy. Skin care products and medications need to be customized for dry, more sensitive skin of adult acne patients. When topical medications are not 100% effective, a testosterone blocker , spironolactone is often used. See a dermatologist for a program tailored to your specific skin needs before investing in OTC products that may irritate rather than improve your skin.
What are the best anti-aging options for menopausal skin?
Skin care for menopausal skin:
Take care to prevent dry skin by using gentle cleansers. Moisturize nightly and consider using a product with active ingredients such as antioxidants. Most dermatologists agree that prescription strength tretinoin cream used nightly is top rated for skin smoothing and wrinkle reduction. For best results combine with a daytime serum with Vitamin C such as our Societe C or a serum with growth factors. And, don’t forget fanatic sun protection. Use sunscreen daily, reapply and wear hats and protective clothing. Your skin will show it!
Use a body moisturizer on damp skin after showers. For extra dry or peeling skin, consider an exfoliating product such as Glycolic acid lotion or Amlactin.
Top non–surgical procedures for anti-aging post menopause:
If you have significant sun damage and wrinkles, Fractional CO2 laser will provide the best results with 7-8 days of healing time.
Not ready for a facelift, but concerned about early signs of sagging skin? Ultherapy is a non-invasive option that can provide skin tightening and help regenerate new collagen
For patients with volume loss, especially in the mid-face, volume enhancing fillers such as Sculptra, Radiesse or Volume can add facial volume and stimulate new collagen.
If you are already using Botox, keep it up as a preventative. If you have not tried it, consider combining Botox with some of the treatments above.
And don’t forget, 50 may be the new 40 with what we now know about aging! Schedule a cosmetic consultation with Dr. Goodlerner at Ca Skin Institute Torrance to learn more