Best skincare tips for menopausal skin

Menopausal skin care

As menopause introduces a new chapter in life, it brings about a myriad of transformations. Did you know this period of transformation dramatically impacts skin? The complex changes that menopause trigger within skin may throw you for a loop.

Can menopause cause skin problems?

Here are some possible changes to skin that may occur during menopause:

  • Skin that feels less supple
  • Crêpey texture
  • Dullness or discolorations
  • Skin that's become more sensitive
  • Increased breakouts
  • Skin that feels drier or dehydrated
  • Skin that doesn’t bounce back like it once did

Thankfully, research has come a long way and now provides real insights as to how you can counteract these common skin challenges. Whether you’re looking for preventive measures or ways to address the menopausal skin issues you’re experiencing now, here’s the basics on what you need to know and what you can do.

What is menopausal skin?

Many of the changes your skin will go through during menopause can be attributed to oestrogen loss. Its rapid decline affects skin’s elasticity, texture, density, resilience, hydration, and suppleness—all of which ultimately lead to crêpe-textured skin that loses its 'bounce' or elasticity. Rather shockingly, collagen can decrease as much as 30% in the first few years of menopause, causing skin to become thinner, weaker, and more prone to sensitivity, expressing signs of environmental damage.

Skincare for menopausal skin

When it comes to menopausal skin concerns, the key is to pay attention to your skin’s specific needs. Remember that sunscreen and the use of other important anti-ageing skincare products are a critical component to any skincare routine. For the best possible results, opt for superhero ingredients such as retinol, bakuchiol, vitamin C, peptides, niacinamide, BHA, and AHA.

The one-size-fits-all approach of rich, heavy creams for 'mature skin' doesn’t suit everyone, and it neglects to account for the complex variety of concerns during this phase of life. Read more on how to help ageing and damged skin.

To properly address these new skin concerns, adjust your routine based on your skin type in combination with products that target your specfic skin concerns. If needed, plan a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist. Here are some skincare tips to consider:

  • If your skin has become drier, switch to more hydrating products enriched with skin-restoring and skin-replenishing ingredients, including various non-fragrant plant oils. You may also need a richer body cream, as skin from the neck down can become drier as well.
  • If skin has become more sensitive, look for ultra-soothing, ultra-gentle formulas with ingredients that are specially designed for temperamental skin and redness. Take note that this also means choosing fragrance-free skincare.
  • If your complexion appears to be more dull or uneven in tone, use a leave-on AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) exfoliant to remove built-up layers of dead skin and give way to more supple, smooth skin hiding beneath. After this important step, follow with products containing ingredients proven to brighten and even skin tone like vitamin C, azelaic acid or tranexamic acid.
  • If you want to target wrinkles, consider the anti-ageing superstar ingredient, retinol. This ingredient can improve the appearance of fine lines, loss of firmness, and other significant signs of ageing.
  • If your enlarged pores have given way to orange-peel textured skin, use concentrated niacinamide to tighten, smooth, and minimise pores.

Menopause and breakouts

You may also experience breakouts during menopause (and perimenopause). It’s a complete myth that acne disappears after young adulthood. It's not a given that skin becomes dry during this period, so make sure you're using products that suit your skin type and concerns. Read more on skincare for wrinkles and acne-prone skin.

Acne treatment during menopause should start with a non-drying, fragrance-free cleanser that gently removes excess oil and debris without stripping skin. Follow that with a proven anti-acne ingredient such as salicylic acid, also known as BHA. Consider adding a retinol product to further tackle the issue if you’re facing stubborn breakouts. If you’re experiencing dryness and breakouts at the same time, an oil-free moisturiser layered over a lightweight hydrating serum can be helpful to add hydration without the risk of clogging pores.

References for this information:

  1. International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, June 2019, pages 85–90
  2. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, November 2018, pages 1186–1189
  3. Dermato Endocrinology, April 2013, pages 264-270
  4. Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, February 2019, page 495-499
  5. Gynecological Endocrinology, November 2017, pages 845-848
  6. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, October 2017, pages 535-542
  7. Nutrient, June 2017, page 622
  8. Frontiers in Pharmacology, May 2016, ePublication
  9. Dermatology and Therapy, February 2021, pages 53-69 10. Molecules, November 2022, pages 1–13