Ask any woman of a certain age and she'll tell you that looking younger is at the top of her wish list. But when it comes to figuring out how to get ageless skin, well, most of us wouldn't know the answer if it was staring us in the face. Serums? Creams? Cleansers? What to use and how? This skincare-by- numbers regimen makes it easy to stop aging in its tracks.
Transitioning to menopause can be an emotional experience. You’re moving from one stage of your life to another, perhaps even struggling to get comfortable not only with what’s going on on the inside, but the outside too. Be kind to yourself and remember that what you experience is unique to you. Tune into your body and focus on what you need to do to feel well and put your best self forward.
What follows may help you better understand what changes to your appearance can come with menopause and what you can do about them.
Your Complexion During Menopause
While aging will naturally have an effect on the appearance of your skin, menopause can accelerate that process and create new issues you may have never had to deal with before. Here’s how your complexion might change:
Sagging and Wrinkles The two components of skin that help keep it firm, smooth and plump—collagen and elastin—naturally diminish with age. However, declining estrogen levels can speed up that decline, causing sagging skin and the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles.
Suggestion: Try a night cream that contains retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A that’s been shown to trigger new collagen production and gradually help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
Dryness Blood capillaries under your skin’s surface work to bring oxygen and nutrients to the top, helping to strengthen the barrier function of the skin. Since estrogen partially controls their growth and maintenance, blood flow to the skin is often reduced during menopause, contributing to a thinning and increased water loss through the dermal layer. The result: chapped, flaky, scaly dry skin.
Suggestion: Avoid long, steamy showers (which can dry out your skin even further) and use a facial moisturizer or oil with hydrating ingredients, such as shea butter, coconut or jojoba oil and hyaluronic acid.
Acne It may feel unfair, but if you experienced acne during puberty, you’re likely to have a recurrence during perimenopause. This is due to the shift in the balance of estrogen and testosterone; breakouts are common on the chin and neck.
Suggestion: Look for cleansers and spot treatments containing either salicylic acid (which helps unclog pores and keep them clear) or benzoyl peroxide (which helps dry up excess oil).
Oily Skin Higher levels of testosterone may prompt sebaceous glands in the skin to secrete thicker sebum, causing an oilier appearance and even leading to acne, in some cases.
Suggestion: Try a gentle cleanser, avoid over-washing and consider applying a clay mask to especially oily areas to help spot treat.
Facial Hair The shift in the balance between androgen and estrogen levels can lead to excessive hair growth (called hirsutism)—particularly on the chin, upper lip and cheeks. You might experience growth of single, thick dark hairs on your chin or notice peach fuzz–like hair on your face.
Suggestion: Tweezing, waxing, threading and other hair removal techniques can help you get rid of unwanted facial hair.