Menopause is a natural part of the ageing process for women, but – as we all know – the symptoms can be challenging. Everyone talks about drawbacks such as hot flashes, brain fog, and lagging libido—all due to dwindling levels of oestrogen and other hormones. But menopause also means that collagen production reduces by approximately 30% Consequently, your skin undergoes lots of changes too. Fat deflates, ligaments length, structures herniate or protrude, skin becomes more inelastic, hair thins, skin gets drier, and wrinkles and creases deepen. It’s an unending battle against gravity and time.
As one of the best aesthetic surgeons in UK, specialising in rejuvenation treatments, Dr Rozina Ali’s aesthetic practice is founded on accurate knowledge of anatomy and a keen understanding of the effects of ageing on the separate components and in combination. In this article, she will share with us some useful insights on how the skin, especially facial skin, changes during menopause.
Those unsightly dark marks, often appear after menopause and they’re hard to treat at home.
Collagen, the protein that gives your skin its firmness and elasticity, makes up about 80% of the dry weight of adult skin. As much as 30% of collagen is lost in the first five years after menopause.
This combined with sun damage, age spots and larger areas of darker skin can appear on your face, hands, neck, arms, or chest. Practising good sun protection year-round can help prevent future skin damage. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that’s SPF 30 or higher. Meticulous sun protection can ward off signs of ageing and prevent skin cancer. To see the effects of sun damage on the skin you just have to look at the experience of the elderly in Japanese ‘blue zones’ compared to their counterparts in Mediterranean blue zones.
Dryness, flakiness and itching
During menopause, skin loses some of its ability to hold water, so skin can get quite dry. This can be especially noticeable when the air is dry – air conditioning or centrally heated environments. Once again, hormones play a role in keeping the skin hydrated. After menopause, your skin gets drier because oil glands aren’t as active. Extreme dryness of the skin may cause pruritus (skin itch). The condition is menopause-related, as the skin tends to become much drier with the drop in oestrogen levels.
If you have a skin condition like eczema, rosacea or psoriasis, you might notice that it gets worse during menopause. In each of these cases, you should schedule a consultation with your esthetician. Similarly, eyes/mouth may get drier, redder, and more easily irritated.
Sensible ongoing solutions include cleansing your skin with a more mild cleanser instead of soap, moisturize more regularly and with richer products to replace oil dehydration versus water dehydration, increasing hyaluronic acid products that can reach deep into the skin, avoiding irritating ingredients, and keeping showers short and not too hot.
Oestrogen markedly promotes hair growth, density and fullness. During menopause, people may notice their hair is thinning, less full or shedding more. Once again, this is thought to happen due to hormonal imbalances. Moreover, as levels of female hormones fall, unwanted facial hair may appear under your chin and along your jawline or above your lip.
For facial hair, waxing may be an option, but concerning thinning of the hair, see a board-certified FRCS (plast) plastic surgeon for solutions to the problem.
Jowls, slack skin, and wrinkles
During menopause, many women rapidly lose their skin’s elastic fibres and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) due to the drop in estrogen levels. The resultant reduction in fibroblast function, HA production, collagen and elastin fibres and other glycosaminoglycans leads to a global thinning, dehydration and inelastic changes to the skin. These effects are further exacerbated by sun damage. mGAGs are what make your skin plump and bouncy. When these start to drop, facial wrinkles and creases progressively deepen.
Sagging or wrinkles may initially be managed by using daily and regular sun protection and considering using a skin care product that contains retinol or peptides as they can increase collagen production in your skin. As skin sagginess continues, it may soon become time to consider the removal of excess, poor quality and inelastic skin.
For all of your needs and concerns, it’s always a good idea to speak to a certified plastic surgeon about your symptoms and the best ways of treatment.