A woman’s hormones help support youthful skin. After menopause, your skin starts to change. It’s not your imagination!
Compared to your skin before menopause, your postmenopausal skin starts to show:
- Atrophic withering
- Slackness (especially on your forearms and face)
- Progressive dryness and scaliness
You will also notice that fine wrinkles and crinkles will deepen into courser wrinkles. Postmenopausal skin may also become fragile, tearing and bruising more easily. It is also drier and more prone to dry skin eczema conditions. As if menopausal skin changes were not enough, most of us “women of this certain age” can add intrinsic aging (the passing of years) and sun damage to the list of reasons why our skin is becoming thin, wrinkled, dry, and fragile. It’s a perfect storm. Luckily, the skin care remedies are similar for all three causes.
Why does your skin change after menopause?
You are probably wondering what, exactly, is happening to your skin after menopause? Scientific studies have demonstrated the following structural changes that happen in your skin after menopause.
- Decrease in skin cell renewal. As the top layer of your skin, called the epidermis, flattens and thins, the skin cells in this layer (called keratinocytes) don’t renew themselves as rapidly. The epidermal cell layer is also drier and holds water less effectively than before menopause. This results in your skin becoming scaly, rough, and dry looking.
- Collagen reduction. The second layer of your skin, called the dermis, loses as much as 30% of your dermal collagen within the first five years after menopause. This is followed by a slower loss of about 2% per year over the next 20 years.
- Water abatement. Also in the dermis, important water-binding substances, called dermal glycosaminoglycans, (including hyaluronic acid) are decreased.
- Oxidative stress. Oxidative damage in your skin is accelerated after menopause, causing greater damage to skin structures such as cells, collagen, and elastin. This damage is beyond the normal amount that occurs from sun damage and natural aging.
What products and skin care practices work best to reverse the skin changes of menopause?
There are six different ways your skin care products and routines can reverse and slow the changes of menopause on your skin. Discover these actions below.
Build collagen in the dermis, the second living skin layer.
This is really important. Look for products with professional formulations of retinoids, like retinol and prescription tretinoin (Retin A), glycolic acid products, and vitamin C products.
Rebuild the living epidermal cell layer of your skin.
This can be done by retinoids, which can help strengthen your skin.
Stimulate your skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid.
Look for products with glycolic acid.
Rejuvenate the appearance of the outer dead cells in your stratum corneum skin layer.
This will brighten your skin and give it a more youthful glow. Products with glycolic acid, retinoids, and BHAs like salicylic acid will do this.
Slow skin aging.
Professional antioxidant products and broad spectrum sunscreens can help slow the effects of aging.
Hydrate and avoid drying products so skin stays moist.
Because post-menopausal skin is often also older skin, it is more prone to dryness. Use only sensitive skin cleansers and deeply hydrating moisturizers to keep skin from drying out and looking crinkled, wrinkled, and dull.
How do you build a skin care routine that works to slow menopausal skin changes?
First, you need to know that effective skin care involves 4 essential steps: