Menopause is a significant life event that every woman experiences as they age that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. It is primarily driven by hormonal changes, i.e., a decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels which represent the two key female hormones. These hormonal fluctuations have a profound impact on various physiological systems, including the skin. 
Skin, representing the body’s largest organ, is intricately connected to hormonal balance. Estrogen, in particular, plays a pivotal role in maintaining skin health. It aids in regulating sebum (skin’s natural oil) production, promoting collagen synthesis, and ensuring proper hydration by retaining moisture within the skin barrier.
Menopause, in general, leads to a variety of skin changes (menopause skin) including dryness, premature aging, and the potential recurrence of acne necessitating tailored skincare strategies to address these issues effectively. In this article we will explore the intricate relationship between hormonal shifts during menopause and their impact on the skin in order to help you create the perfect anti-aging skincare routine for menopausal skin.
What do hormones have to do with menopausal acne? 
Think of your skin as a well-balanced ecosystem, with hormones playing a pivotal role in maintaining its harmony. During menopause, hormonal fluctuations can disrupt this balance, leading to various skin issues, including the unexpected and unwanted return of acne.
Menopause acne (aka menopausal acne) can be attributed to the intricate interplay of hormonal shifts. During this phase, estrogen levels decline while androgen hormones like testosterone remain relatively stable. This hormonal imbalance triggers an overproduction of sebum (skin’s natural oil) by the sebaceous glands.
As sebum accumulates it can clog pores, creating an environment ripe for acne development. The excess sebum also provides a feeding ground for acne-causing bacteria (C. acnes), further worsening the condition. The resultant inflammation, characterized by redness and swelling, leads to the emergence of menopausal acne.
The mechanism behind menopausal acne underscores the importance of hormonal regulation in maintaining skin health. The relative dominance of androgen hormones during menopause shifts the skin’s equilibrium, and understanding this hormonal impact is fundamental to addressing and preventing menopausal acne.
Why is my skin dry during menopause? 
In addition to acne, many women experience dry skin during menopause. Menopause-induced dry skin is also primarily driven by hormonal fluctuations. Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining skin hydration and promoting the production of ceramides, which are needed by the skin barrier to seal in moisture. As estrogen levels decrease, the skin’s ability to retain moisture also decreases leading to dryness, flakiness, and a compromised skin barrier.
The analogy for this process can be likened to a diminishing water supply used to water a garden. Here, estrogen serves as a life-sustaining sprinkler system, ensuring a continuous flow of hydration to skin cells. As menopause sets in, estrogen’s role becomes less effective, similar to a dwindling water supply to the garden. As a result, skin becomes dehydrated, resembling parched and cracked soil in desperate need of moisture.
How does my skin change during menopause? 
Menopausal changes also involve a decrease in collagen and elastin levels in the skin which have a profound impact on skin health and appearance. Collagen, analogous to the binding of a hardcover book, is responsible for maintaining skin’s firmness and structure. Elastin, on the other hand, functions like a rubber band, providing elasticity to the skin.
During menopause, there is a notable decline in the production of both collagen and elastin proteins. As collagen and elastin levels decrease, skin loses its ability to bounce back, leading to sagging and the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. This decline in skin firmness and elasticity can be compared to a well-loved book whose binding becomes weak, causing pages to sag and wrinkles to form, affecting its overall appearance.
Moreover, as collagen and elastin levels decrease, the skin’s ability to repair itself is also compromised. Collagen is integral to wound healing and a decrease in its levels can lead to delayed recovery from skin damage. Additionally, reduced collagen production results in thinner skin which makes it more vulnerable to external stressors like sunlight and air pollution which can lead to skin damage and premature aging. The good news, however, is that with the right anti-aging skincare routine geared specifically to your menopausal skin, both skin firmness and elasticity can be improved!
Why is my menopausal skin itchy? 
Menopausal itchiness is also closely related to the hormonal changes that occur during this phase in a woman’s life. As was mentioned earlier, because estrogen plays a vital role in the skin barrier’s ability to lock-in moisture, which is critically important to a properly function barrier, a decrease in estrogen can cause the skin barrier to become compromised. When the skin barrier is compromised, external irritants and allergens can more easily breach the skin barrier resulting in inflammation and, ultimately, itchiness!
In addition, the decrease in estrogen levels also affects the skin’s ability to produce its natural oil (sebum) which plays a vital role in keeping skin supple and protected. With diminished oil production the skin’s surface becomes drier, rougher, and irritated which leads to persistent itching sensations.
Effective Anti-Aging Skincare Routines for Managing Menopause Skin and Regaining Elasticity
To address the issues of menopause acne, menopause dry skin, menopause itchy skin, and the overall changes in your skin during this phase of life, it’s critically important to tailor your skincare routine to meet these specific needs. An effective menopause skin, anti-aging skincare routine should include the following:
- Cleanse daily: Be sure to use a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser at the start and end of your day. Look for a cleanser that won’t strip your skin of its natural oils which are essential to the proper functioning of the skin barrier. For example, BIA® GENTLE CLEANSING OIL 2.0 with ingredients like Vitamin E, ceramides, and fatty acids, was specifically formulated to gently cleanse dry, flaky, itchy mature skin in a microbiome-friendly, pH-balanced manner. Or the BIA® EXFOLIATING WASH 2.0, a gentle everyday cleanser with natural jojoba grains that help soften and smooth dry, flaky, itchy menopausal skin.
- Moisturize daily: Use a moisturizer in the morning and evening to help hydrate and lock-in the moisture your skin barrier so desperately needs to operate at peak performance. Look for a moisturizer containing humectants for hydrating your skin, and emollients for locking-in the moisture. The award-winning, clinically proven BIA® SKIN SUPERFOOD with its patented BIACOMPLEX® is a rich, nourishing, restorative cream that both re-hydrates and seals moisture in dry, flaky, itchy menopausal skin. Another excellent option is the BIA® NOURISHING FACIAL OIL, a deeply hydrating dry oil that zaps dry, flaky skin on contact.
- Support collagen production: Apply a potent antioxidant-rich serum which will protect your skin barrier from damage-causing free radicals while simultaneously promoting collagen production. Look for microbiome-friendly serums like ANTU® SKIN BARRIER SERUM with its patented ANTUCOMPLEX® based on a combination of potent Matico, Maqui, and Murtilla (M3™) antioxidants to effectively manage the menopause phase of your life.
- Regenerate your skin: Retinoids like retinol and tretinoin stimulate collagen production and boost cell turnover to help compensate for the impairment of these processes caused by menopause-induced hormonal imbalances. Their use is considered a “best practice” when it comes to skin regeneration and skin tightening. For those who prefer to use Mother Nature’s plant-based retinol, Bakuchiol, then SHAANT® BALANCING OIL CONTROL CREAM is just the ticket to stimulate cell turnover, improve skin texture, and combat the appearance of redness.
- Treat acne: Whether over the counter (OTC) or by prescription, topical treatments can help manage the symptoms associated with menopause acne. Products containing ingredients like sulfur, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, retinoids or topical antibiotics may be used to target acne-causing bacteria, unclog pores, reduce inflammation, and promote skin cell turnover. The SHAANT® OILY, ACNE-PRONE SKIN SET is an excellent all-in-one solution for menopause-induced acne sufferers wanting to proactively manage this painful and embarrassing skin condition. The set includes a cleanser, toner, oil control cream, and clay mask for getting ahead of menopause acne before it turns into a major problem. And for those times when an unavoidable breakout does happen to occur, the OTC product SHAANT® SPOT HERO offers a fast, effective, yet non-irritating pimple treatment solution for all skin types, especially sensitive skin.
- Use sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen having an SPF of at least 30 throughout the day to protect your skin from harmful UV rays which can accelerate the aging process and worsen skin conditions such as those associated with menopause skin.
- Stay hydrated: Just like a garden needs water, your dry menopausal skin needs hydration. Drink plenty of water each day to maintain your skin’s moisture levels from the inside out.
- Eat properly: A diet rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients can support your skin barrier’s health during the menopause phase of your life. If your diet needs a helping hand, consider taking a daily supplement like ANTU® SKIN BARRIER SUPPORT SUPPLEMENT which, in addition to having potent plant-based antioxidants for supporting and maintaining the skin barrier (critically important for those suffering from dry, flaky, itchy skin conditions caused by menopause) also contains the amino acid L-histidine which supports skin barrier strength and moisture retention.
- Manage stress: Stress can exacerbate skin issues as it has a tendency to trigger inflammation in the skin which is DEFINITELY NOT what your skin needs when in the throes of menopause. Find stress-reduction techniques that work for you, whether it’s meditation, yoga, or even hobbies. Once again, should your stress-management strategies need an additional boost, consider SHAANT® SKIN DE-STRESS DIETARY SUPPLEMENT with its stress-, metabolism, and hormone-supporting plant-based actives.
- Consult a dermatologist: If you experience severe skin issues associated with menopause, such as persistent acne or itching, don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist. They can provide more personalized guidance and treatments that address your specific concerns.
Menopause is a transformative phase in a woman’s life impacting not only her overall health but also the health of her skin. Understanding its effects on your skin will empower you to make informed choices on how best to manage this phase of your life with confidence and grace knowing that you have the information and tools to navigate the impact of hormonal changes on your skin. With the right anti-aging skincare products and strategies, you can look and feel your best, regardless of where you are on your menopausal journey!