For many women, the menopause can be a time of uncertainty as the body enters a new phase.
In addition to classic symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings, women going through the menopause are likely to experience significant changes in the quality of their skin. With so much information available online, it can be difficult to know exactly what you should do to help these changes. In this blog, the team at WY’s skin clinic in London explain how hormonal fluctuations affect your skin during the menopause, and how to care for it in order to approach your body’s changes confidently.
How Hormonal Changes Affect the Skin
While the menopause is different for every woman, its onset is generally the result of changes in hormone levels – particularly the fluctuations of the hormone oestrogen. As the menopause takes hold, oestrogen levels decrease, triggering various effects in the skin.
These hormonal changes manifest themselves in several ways. In some women, lowered oestrogen inhibits the blood supply to the skin, which, in turn, causes the skin to lose moisture more quickly and become dry . In other women, the reduction in oestrogen levels means that the body’s testosterone is no longer masked, and its effects can become more apparent. One of testosterone’s effects is the activation of the sebaceous glands. This is why some women notice that their skin becomes oilier during the menopause .
As one of its many roles, oestrogen contributes to the production of collagen and elastin, the proteins that give the skin firmness and structure. Therefore, when oestrogen levels decrease, so does the amount of collagen and elastin in the skin – research demonstrates that women can experience up to a 30% reduction in collagen fibres during the first five years of the menopause . Paired with the facial fat loss that comes with lowered oestrogen levels, this breakdown in collagen and elastin production leads to the development of skin laxity, fine lines and wrinkles .
Treating Your Skin
There are a number of ways you can keep your body and your skin in the best condition possible as you deal with the changes brought on by the menopause. Of course, leading a healthy lifestyle, following a nutritionally balanced diet and implementing an exercise regime will result in healthier looking skin. You should also be sure to apply sunscreen regularly and avoid prolonged sun exposure, as decreased oestrogen levels make the skin more susceptible to sun damage .
Since the menopause affects every woman differently, it’s important to consult with a professional to come up with a skincare plan that suits your skin’s changing needs. At WY, we always begin our consultations with an in-depth computerised skin analysis that allows us to examine your pores, wrinkles and skin quality. We develop a comprehensive understanding of your skin concerns, and then create a bespoke treatment plan based on the results of our analysis.
Depending on your skin’s unique requirements, there are a variety of treatments we can offer you. For example, clients looking to hydrate and rejuvenate their skin may want to consider the HydraFacial, our signature skin resurfacing treatment which cleanses, exfoliates, moisturises and nourishes with a blend of antioxidant-rich serums tailored to your skin.
For women seeking to treat the symptoms of the menopause on a hormonal level, we may recommend Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). This treatment uses natural, plant-derived hormones identical to your own to supplement any imbalances you may be experiencing. After testing your hormone levels and determining the areas in which you need supplementation, we formulate prescriptions based on your needs and treat symptoms at their hormonal source.
This is by no means an exhaustive description of the treatments we use to combat ageing skin and other symptoms of the menopause. With WY’s tailored approach to skincare and aesthetic treatments, you can rest assured that the treatments we recommend for you are perfectly suited to your skin’s unique needs. Book an appointment with WY today to learn more about how the menopause affects your skin, and how we can help you cope with the changes.
 Barnish, Dr Michael and Miss Jonquille Chantrey. ‘Cutaneous Ageing and the Menopause.’ Aesthetics Journal, September 2017.