Both perimenopause and menopause signal a combination of physical changes for women, both internally and externally. Skin health is typically impacted, with many experiencing a stark shift towards dryness and dehydration. Dry skin ushers sensitivity, discomfort and texture concerns - so what’s the answer? This article covers everything to expect from your complexion during (peri) menopause and aims to provide proactive steps to help you cope with dryness.
What is menopause and perimenopause? Am I going through it?
Perimenopause is considered a pre-menopausal transition period. It refers to the several years of lead-up towards menopause, a natural, biological process that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Both stages involve changes in hormone levels, specifically a fluctuation and decline in estrogen and progesterone. You might be going through perimenopause or menopause if:
- You’re in your 40s (perimenopause)
- You’re between the age of 45 - 55 (menopause)
- You’re experiencing irregular periods, mood swings, night sweats, hot flashes and skin changes.
Perimenopausal skin - dryness, redness and other symptoms to expect
Hormonal shifts often play havoc with our skin - it’s exactly why teens experience acne during puberty. Menopause sees a similar hormonal upheaval, however, declining estrogen contributes to a reduction in skin elasticity and moisture retention, leading to your perhaps perfectly balanced skin to take a trip to the dry side.
Dryness and dehydration
One of the most prevalent concerns for perimenopausal and menopausal skin is a drier complexion. This is caused by a lowering of estrogen, impacting the skin’s ability to retain hydration and moisture.
Redness and hot flashes
Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause, manifesting in immediate and intense sensations of heat and redness across the skin. While these flashes pass quite quickly, they can cause real feelings of skin discomfort.
Loss of elasticity
Perimenopausal skin starts to lose elasticity due to the drop in estrogen that carriers throughout menopause. This hormonal drop affects natural collagen levels, a structural protein that gives your skin a firm feeling.
Skin thickness and density are also affected during these bodily changes, making you more susceptible to injuries and bruising. Thinning skin is also associated with a loss of underlying fat, which can cause sagging and drooping.
Sensitivity and reactivity
Hormone fluctuations can also increase your skin’s sensitivity and reactivity. Women going through perimenopause or menopause may find that they react poorly with irritation or redness to certain skincare ingredients or environments.
Increase in breakouts
You may not associate acne with menopausal skin, but on-set breakouts are actually very common for women during this stage of life. This is again due to hormonal fluctuations and an increase in androgens.
Common concerns with dry skin
● Trouble maintaining moisture
Dryness and dehydration often become an issue for peri and menopausal skin as the skin barrier weakens, making it harder to retain moisture. This outer layer of the skin is responsible for keeping things hydrated and warding off environmental stressors. Dry skin needs a skincare routine centred around moisturising products to support its natural barrier.
● Accelerated signs of ageing
A lack of moisture and elastin in the skin can lead to an accelerated appearance of ageing. Fine lines, wrinkles and age spots - all are a completely natural part of ageing, but can be exasperated when skin is perpetually thirsty and dry.
● Flakiness and peeling
With chronically dry skin comes flaking and peeling. You may find your skin sheds regularly, feels tight and uncomfortable, or itchy and sensitive with the build-up of dead skin cells.
● Dullness and changes in texture
Hydrated skin is plump and full of glow, dry skin in turn is often dull with a rough texture. This again is due to a build-up of dead skin cells and an impacted skin cell turnover rate. Cells starved of moisture struggle to function healthily, meaning natural exfoliation can be disrupted.
How to support dry menopausal skin
1. Gentle cleansing
It’s important not to skip out on cleansing during menopause in an attempt to avoid further dehydrating your skin. Instead, avoid soapy, foaming cleansers that strip away essential oils, and opt for gentle daily cleansers that will nourish and support your dry skin.
Our Glycolic Facial Cleanser has been created as the daily clarifying solution for dry, menopausal skin. Gentle yet powerful, this gel cleanser is formulated with glycolic acid to promote skin cell renewal and natural ingredients to soothe and hydrate. Use it twice daily, with lukewarm water - avoid hot temperatures and steam.
2. Hydration throughout your skincare routine
Moisturising, nourishing ingredients and products should play a starring role in any dry skincare routine. Focus on hydrating serums and thick creams that will help support your skin barrier and healthy cell renewal.
Each step of our Alivio regimen places hydration at the forefront, especially in our Facial Hydrator Serum, Nourishing Day Cream and Hydrating Night Cream. Each has been expertly formulated with naturally moisturising ingredients like hemp seed oil, hyaluronic acid and aloe vera juice. Use both AM and PM, and whenever your skin feels a little dehydrated throughout the day.
3. Protect your skin against environmental stressors
A key element of easing the concerns of dry skin, is protecting it from stressors that trigger the symptoms in the first place. The optimum way to protect perimenopausal and menopausal skin is by wearing a high-factor SPF daily. This will shield you from the damage of UV rays that will further deplete your natural collagen production, speeding up those common signs of ageing even more.
4. Lead a healthy lifestyle
Skincare can’t fix everything sadly, you also need to support dry skin with a healthy daily diet and lifestyle. Focus on a nutrient-rich diet with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like fish, flaxseeds and walnuts to boost skin hydration from the inside out. You can also get a source of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables which will help protect and preserve your skin barrier. Staying hydrated on the inside is just as important for healthy organ function, and make sure to get regular, daily exercise to boost blood circulation.
5. Seek professional care
Some cases of severely dry skin require medical or professional care, particularly if you’re experiencing severe pain from cracking dryness. In this case, we recommend talking with your physician or a dermatologist, who will be able to assess and provide solutions and products suited to your specific needs. Dry menopausal skin may also benefit from regular professional treatments and facials, either with your dermatologist or through a qualified salon/clinic.