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About 6,000 women reach menopause every day. Menopause is a normal and natural part of aging. This happens after a woman’s last period during the middle age. The process can also hit immediately, for example, after a hysterectomy. Menopause means the end of periods and pregnancies. However, the condition opens up a Pandora’s box of side effects. From hot flashes and mood swings to weight gain and loss of libido. What many soon realize is that menopause also affects the skin. In some cases, women get acne.
With menopause, the ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are critical in the health and appearance of the skin. Estrogen and progesterone help produce collagen and elastin. Both collagen and elastin are responsible for firm, beautiful, glowing complexion. In fact, research shows women will lose about one-third of collagen within the first 5 years of menopause. This puts the skin at a terrible disadvantage.
Menopausal changes in the skin are subtle at first. With time, these changes are more noticeable. The first change is dryness and itching. Fewer hormones mean the skin holds less water. The skin also loses firmness, giving the appearance of wrinkles. Women will also notice sagging skin, as there is less elastin. With less available hormones, the body rations the estrogen and progesterone to vital organs first. Unfortunately, in terms of needs, the skin gets the least. So the turnover of old skin cells for new ones slow down.
Acne happens for most people in the teenage years. This makes sense, as hormones spike to help with development. Hormonal changes are happening during menopause too. Less estrogen and progesterone are available to balance out other hormones like testosterone. Oil glands in pores tend to enlarge, producing more oil. Thinner skin mixed with larger pores produces hormonal acne. Added stress from going through menopause spikes cortisol. This stress hormone can also cause sudden breakouts. Acne often shows up along the chin and jawline, where many oil-producing glands live.
While these changes cannot be helped, women can manage and maintain skin health in several ways. Nutrition is an excellent place to start. Make sure to keep hydrated, taking in more water than before menopause. Diet also plays a key part. Get critical nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, and zinc through a balanced diet. At the same time, avoid creams and products that can dry out the skin. Use products containing retinoids, or zinc oxide to unclog pores and keep skin fresh. By focusing on self-care, women can significantly reduce effects.
The changes during menopause are wide-ranging and emotionally taxing. The reduced hormones affect the look and quality of the skin. What’s more, menopause can bring along pesky acne. Acne can be a sign to visit a dermatologist. The doctor can recommend medication and treatment options to deal with the condition.