Hot flushes and heated hormonal swings – going through the menopause can be seriously rubbish.
As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, it turns out that perimenopause and the period after it can play havoc with your skin, too.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though.
As long as you know what to expect from your menopausal skin, you can get prepared and treat it properly.
Here’s what you need to be aware of – and how to deal with each issue.
Oestrogen plays an important role in maintaining hydration in the skin, so when levels of this hormone fall, dehydration can become an issue.
Restoring moisture is key, not only through skincare but via lifestyle changes, too.
‘It’s vital that you help your skin out during this time by feeding it with as much moisture as possible, in the form of collagen supplements, retinol, hyaluronic serum and if recommended, HRT,’ says Dr Anna Puri, dermatologist and founder of Skinora. ‘Moisturisers should contain Omega oils and vitamins, to be of most benefit.’
Ensure you’re drinking plenty of water, and cut down on hydration-sapping habits such as drinking caffeine and alcohol.
Mike Kocsis, director of healthcare at Balance My Hormones, adds: ‘It is thought that HRT, which works to rebalance oestrogen levels, has the ability to boost dermal collagen levels and increase epidermal hydration and skin elasticity.’
‘Menopause can also trigger episodes of acne,’ says Mike. Fun!
Add a product to your routine that contains salycylic acid or AHAs to break down dirt and bacteria and clear spots. Glossier’s Solution is an easy option, or if you’d prefer to change up your cleanser, try The Inkey List’s.
This goes hand-in-hand with dehydration, and it’s just as annoying.
‘Menopause and even perimenopause can play havoc with the skin, making it appear dull, sallow and tired,’ says Dr Anna. ‘Jowls start to form and lines begin to appear around the eyes and mouth.’
A good-quality moisturiser remains key, but acids are your friend, too. Just don’t go over-the-top. Skin thins as we age, so it’s more important than ever to be gentle.
Try something like Ren’s Ready Steady Glow Tonic, which isn’t too harsh but still works to revive skin that’s looking drab.
Sagging and sinking
‘Collagen production decreases by up to 30%, which can give cheeks that hollow look and highlight wrinkles,’ says Mike.
We’re sorry to say that even the fanciest night cream won’t give you an instant facelift. Once the skin has really drooped, it’s tricky to get it back up.
But you can prevent some of the damage by taking proper care of yourself.
Always apply SPF, eat foods rich in omegas, and quit smoking, if you haven’t already.
‘The skin can become much more sensitive during menopause,’ explains Mike.
You might find that products you used with no issue previously cause irritation or purging.
Make sure you don’t try to remedy any issues by piling on harsh products or large quantities of acids.
Go slowly and gradually – if you’re using retinol, you’ll need to slowly build up your tolerance (start with The Ordinary’s 0.5% in Squalane rather than going straight to higher percentages) – and only change one thing at a time, so you can easily identify if something isn’t working for you.