Let’s talk about skin —a canvas that undergoes many transformations throughout our lives. It undergoes shifts from summer’s sun-kissed glow, to the dry embrace of winter and even monthly changes as your hormones play havoc with your complexion. Now, brace yourselves for the grand entrance – perimenopause! Aging gracefully come with a whole different set of rules as hormonal shifts send your skin into a whirlwind. Luckily, caring for your skin in perimenopause can be simple! You just need to understand your skin’s changes and find a skin care routine that accommodates these evolving needs.
How Hormones Effect Your Skin
Understanding how hormonal fluctuations affect skin health, is the first step to caring for your skin in perimenopause:
- Estrogen plays a pivotal role in maintaining skin moisture and the production of collagen – the protein responsible for your skin’s elasticity and firmness. As you approach menopause, lower estrogen levels can lead to a decrease in collagen production, which may result in dry skin and a more pronounced appearance of wrinkles.
- Testosterone, while thought of as a male hormone, is also produced by women. During perimenopause, some women experience increased testosterone levels which can change your skin’s oil production, potentially leading to acne or an oily complexion.
Perimenopausal Skin Changes:
As a result of these hormone fluctuations, there’s a lot of skin changes you might experience during perimenopause. Of course, we’re breaking them down for you and providing some easy-to-implement tips to keep your skin looking it’s best…
1. Dry and Itchy Skin
With the onset of perimenopause, many women feel as though all the moisture has been zapped from their bodies. You might notice your skin starting to feel parched and itchy. You may have areas of redness with a rugged, flakey texture. These spots appear because as our estrogen dials down, we experience a shortfall of collagen and the nurturing oils that your skin loves. When these two elements go AWOL, your skin’s moisture-retaining abilities falter, leaving you dry, itchy, and flaky. The key to finding relief is to pamper your skin’s protective barrier.
So, here’s what you can do:
- Stay Hydrated: Water, water, water! Sip away throughout the day to keep your whole system well-hydrated.
- Daily Moisturizing: After your bath or shower, while your skin is still slightly damp, slather on a nourishing moisturizer to seal in that precious moisture.
- The Right Ingredients: When shopping for skincare products, lean towards lotions infused with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin—these champions draw moisture right into your skin.
- Upgrade Your Routine: Consider incorporating treatments designed for sensitive skin into your beauty regimen to prevent any further irritation.
2. Dull Skin
This lack of radiance often goes hand in hand with dryness and the occasional flakiness. Changing hormones tends to steal your natural glow, making your complexion appear lacklustre, fatigued and even grey. It might even be rough or bumpy to the touch. Dull skin is a result of dead skin cells building up on the surface of your skin which creates a barrier between your radiance and the world.
Here’s your action plan:
- Gentle Exfoliation: Give your skin a little TLC by exfoliating gently 1-2 times a week. This helps remove those dead skin cells that can contribute to dullness. Plus, it paves the way for your moisturizers to work their magic more effectively.
- Treatment Time: Explore treatments infused with antioxidants and ingredients that rev up collagen synthesis, offering your skin a healthier and more resilient future.
3. Wrinkles, Jowls, and Sagging Skin
Many women start to notice significant (and unwanted) shifts in their perimenopausal skin:
Wrinkles: These come in all shapes and sizes, from those fine lines to those deep furrows. They typically show up on areas of your skin that have seen their fair share of sun, like your face, neck, hands, and forearms.
Jowls: That sagging skin beneath your jawline due to the weakening of facial muscles and skin elasticity.
Sagging Skin: This is your skin waving goodbye to its former firmness, often seen on the face, neck, arms, and abdomen.
Why does this happen? According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), collagen levels start to plateau during perimenopause, thanks to hormonal shifts. Within the initial five years of menopause, your skin experiences a whopping 50% loss of its collagen. And your collagen production goes into a steady decline in post-menopause. You lose about 2% of collagen every year for the next two decades. Add to this the loss of your skin’s structural fat during perimenopause, and you become more susceptible to wrinkles and sagging, especially in the neck and jawline areas.
Now, what’s your game plan?
- Support Collagen Production: Load up on foods rich in vitamin C to give your collagen synthesis a boost. Consider topical treatments containing retinoids and peptides, which can also promote collagen production and minimize the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin.
- Skin Hydration: Keep the skin hydrated with moisturizers featuring hyaluronic acid. It’s like a magnet for moisture, temporarily improving the look of sagging and fine lines.
- Professional Treatments: Explore the world of professional treatments, like anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, or therapies using various technologies to tighten the skin. These can be formidable allies against the loss of firmness.
- Sun Protection: Guard your skin against further damage with broad-spectrum sunscreens. Steer clear of excessive sun exposure to prevent those wrinkles from deepening and sagging from progressing.
- Establish a Routine: Craft a skincare routine tailored to mature skin. Seek out products designed to strengthen and nurture aging skin, armed with active ingredients ready to combat wrinkles and sagging.
- Facial Exercises: Try some facial exercises designed to tone and uplift those facial muscles. You might look a little funny in the mirror, but it’s like a natural lift for areas prone to sagging, such as the cheeks and jawline.
- As you navigate through perimenopause, you may notice significant changes in your skin, such as increased wrinkles, development of jowels, and sagging skin. These effects are often due to hormonal fluctuations that impact the production of collagen and elastin, vital proteins for maintaining skin’s firmness and elasticity.
4. Pimples and acne
Because we associate acne with puberty, it can be confusing when women find them showing up in their 40s. However during perimenopause, your estrogen and testosterone levels fluctuate which sometimes means an increase in skin oiliness – the perfect playground for pimples. So, what should you be on the lookout for?
- Small, red bumps or pimples.
- Acne that tends to concentrate in those areas that used to be oil-prone in your younger days.
- An uptick in skin sensitivity.
Perimenopausal acne can also have other co-conspirators, including lifestyle factors, dietary choices, stress levels, and even genetics. While some women may experience minor acne outbreaks here and there during menopause, others might find themselves in the midst of severe acne episodes that demand intervention.
So, let’s talk solutions:
- Lifestyle Changes: Consider making some tweaks to your lifestyle, like: cutting out dairy, reducing sugar and alcohol, improving sleep, and stop smoking.
- Consider Topical Treatments: Over-the-counter options containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can be your allies in this battle.
- Seek Professional Guidance: If acne decides to overstay its welcome, it might be time to explore hormonal therapies or prescription medications that target those underlying hormonal changes. Don’t hesitate to consult a healthcare provider, preferably one with expertise in skin and hormones, to explore personalized treatment options.
5. Redness and Rosacea
During perimenopause you might notice an increased redness to your skin. Extreme cases are known as rosacea, a condition characterized by permanent redness and visible blood vessels, possibly with a burning or stinging sensation. While rosacea isn’t usually a cause for concern, it can be a bit of an aesthetic annoyance.
Here’s what you can do:
- Gentle Skincare: The cornerstone of rosacea management is a gentle skincare routine. Steer clear of harsh exfoliants or products with alcohol that can exacerbate the situation.
- Sunscreen: Incorporate sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection into your daily routine. UV radiation can be a trigger for rosacea symptoms, and protection is your best ally.
- Avoid Triggers: Identify and steer clear of potential triggers like hot drinks, spicy foods, and extreme temperature shifts.
- Specially Formulated Products: Embrace a skincare routine designed for sensitive skin, with products tailored to soothe and nourish.
- Seek Expert Guidance: For persistent symptoms, don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist. They may recommend prescription gels, creams or laser treatments to keep rosacea in check.
- Lifestyle Tweaks: Reduce stress levels and opt for makeup that is non-comedogenic, as these choices can also play a pivotal role in managing rosacea.
6. Sun damage and age spots
As you age, you’ll likely start to see age spots and the remnants of sun damage. Because reversing this damage is difficult, it’s critical to understand these conditions and arm yourself with the knowledge to protect and pamper your skin.
Let’s start with age spots. They’re those flat, small, dark areas that typically show up on the parts of your skin that have had their fair share of sun exposure. Think the face, hands, shoulders, and arms. Age spot or liver spots happen when your skin goes a little overboard with melanin production – the pigment responsible for your skin’s color.
Next there’s sun damage. This one sneaks up on you and stealthily changes your skin texture, leading to wrinkles, and an increase risk of skin cancer. This damage isn’t a one-time thing; it’s cumulative, gathering its strength over the years from every sunburn and even from everyday exposure without proper protection.
How can you protect against it?
- Sunscreen: Make sunscreen your daily companion. Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30, no matter the weather or season. Slather it generously on every exposed inch of skin and don’t forget to reapply every two hours – or more often if you’re taking a dip or breaking a sweat.
- Defensive Wardrobe:Dress the part with a wide-brimmed hat, UV-blocking sunglasses, and clothing boasting a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating. These pieces are your armor against the sun’s rays.
- Chasing Shade: Whenever possible, seek refuge in the shade. Especially during the sun’s peak hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when its rays are at their fiercest.
- Regular Skin Check-ups: Mark your calendar for annual skin exams with your trusted dermatologist. These check-ups keep an eye on any changes in your skin, from the arrival of new age spots to alterations in existing ones.
7. Fragile skin and slow wound healing
You may have started to notice that your skin is more delicate and prone to minor cuts and bruises. And these cuts and bruises seem to take their sweet time to heal. Your new fragile skin is often a direct result of the perimenopause hormonal changes and their impact on the production of collagen and elastin.
So, what’s your game plan?
- Regular Moisturizing: Hydration is key. Apply a nourishing moisturizer regularly to keep your skin well-hydrated and reinforce its protective barrier.
- Feed Your Skin: Your skin craves a diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Think leafy greens, berries, and nuts – they’re your skin’s best friends, supporting its healing process from the inside out.
- Opt for Gentle Skincare: Show some love to your skin by choosing products specially designed for sensitive skin. They’ll help you avoid any unnecessary irritation.
- Play It Safe: Be proactive in safeguarding your skin from potential injuries. When engaging in activities that might pose a risk, don protective clothing to keep your skin out of harm’s way.
Caring for Skin in Perimenopause
Caring for your skin during perimenopause is crucial, as your body undergoes significant changes. Remember a few key tips:
- Moisturize Regularly: Your skin may get drier, so find a quality moisturizer that works for you.
- Wear Sunscreen: Always: Incorporate a broad-spectrum with at least SPF 30 into your daily routine
- Use Gentle Cleansers: Choose mild cleaning products to avoid further drying your skin.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help maintain your skin’s elasticity and overall health.
- Explore targeted treatments and noninvasive procedures: they might also offer support in managing these skin care challenges during the menopause period.
Remember, these strategies are your toolkit for enhancing the resilience of your skin during this transformative period. And skin health isn’t just about what you put on your skin but also what you feed it from the inside, with a balanced diet and proper hydration playing essential roles alongside the treatments and protection you apply externally.