How Does Menopause Affect Your Skin?

If you’re a woman in your 40s or early 50s, perhaps you’re wishing you could turn back the hands of time. You see changes in your face and the rest of your body that say middle age is approaching. 

You know that aging is nature’s way of counting the years, but perhaps no one has ever told you that menopause is the reason that some women seem to age overnight. How can you avoid that fate? By taking good care of your skin before, during, and after menopause. 

Here’s how menopause affects your skin and how our board-certified dermatologists and the rest of our team at Seacoast Dermatology can help you minimize its effects. 

Redistribution of fat 

Estrogen is the major female sex hormone, responsible for the development of your reproductive system and enabling you to bear a child. It also plays a central role in how your skin looks. 

In your youth, your skin had enough estrogen to keep it soft and supple. During menopause, your estrogen level drops suddenly. It’s been likened to falling off a cliff. 

Without the same amount of estrogen, the fat cells in your body redistribute. You lose the plumpness in your cheeks. They may look hollowed out. Your smile lines (the indentations in your face on either side of your nose down to your mouth) may become deep grooves. 

Your skin sags, sometimes below the jaw, masking the definition of your jaw and perhaps creating jowls. You may begin to get a double chin as your skin sags there, too. Masses of fat shift to your abdomen, thighs, and/or buttocks. 

Less skin elasticity 

Having less estrogen in your body due to menopause means you’re producing less collagen and elastin, important proteins that keep your skin from wrinkling. 

As you lose estrogen, your skin loses its elasticity. For instance, it doesn’t snap right back if you pinch the skin on the back of your hand. As your skin gets less elastic, small depressions form on its surface; you know them as wrinkles. 

Thinner skin 

As your estrogen level falls, the tiny blood vessels under your skin experience slower blood flow. Not enough nutrients reach the surface of your skin. 

In addition, your skin doesn’t make new cells at the same rate it did before menopause. As a result, your skin becomes thinner. The effect may be especially notable on your hands, as your blood vessels show more prominently. 

Skin more prone to sun damage 

It’s time to redouble your commitment to use sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days. Around menopause, your skin makes less melanin, the pigment in your skin that helps protect it from the sun’s UV radiation. 

If you’re fair-skinned, you have less melanin than darker-toned women, making your skin especially prone to sun damage, but all women (and men) still need sunscreen.

Women in menopause produce less melanin than younger women because the cells that make melanin are controlled by the amount of estrogen in your body. You’re more prone to sun damage than younger women, so keep your sunscreen handy. 

Dry skin 

You not only lose estrogen in menopause, but also oil in your skin. The oil glands decrease their activity, allowing your skin to become dry and itchy.  

Anti-aging skin treatments 

At Seacoast Dermatology, we can form a plan of attack to help you keep your skin looking youthful and glowing. We recommend a cleaning and hydrating routine for you at home. 

Our team has many tools at its disposal. If you’re bothered by crow’s feet around your eyes or furrows on your forehead, Botox® can work wonders. Dermal fillers can fill out sagging cheeks and thin lips. And laser treatments are available for dark spots, spider veins, and more. 

Call us at Seacoast Dermatology or book an appointment online today for a skin evaluation and a skin rejuvenation treatment developed specifically for you. We have offices in Portsmouth, Dover, and Exeter, New Hampshire.

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