For UK women the average age of the menopause is 51. Many of you will have a good understanding of the ways in which the body is affected by the resulting changes in hormone levels. Hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings are common. I came across a really useful site with self help tips the other day here, but if symptoms become difficult to manage then advice from your GP is recommended.
One area of menopausal change which gets little focus, however, is the effect it can have on a woman’s skin. I shall address these changes below, which all occur as a result of lowered oestrogen levels affecting the physiology of the skin. I will discuss ways you may need to change your skin care regime, along with treatment remedies for potential skin complaints.
Oily Skin One of the effects of the menopause can be a very unwelcome and distressing increase in acne. This arises from unopposed testosterone (more commonly known as the male hormone, but also one women have) which stimulates the sebaceous (oil) glands of the skin. If this occurs someone previously with normal to dry skin may need to switch their daily products to ones suitable for oilier skins.
Dry skin Contadictorily, and somewhat confusingly, although the skin can get oilier it can also tend to become dry in places, because of thinning of the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis). This thinning process reduces the ‘barrier’ function of the skin. This can also be improved with adjustment in your skin care regime. Try using an anti-oxidant serum (eg. Vitamin C). Alternatively you could consider using a medically prescribed anti-ageing Vitamin A derivative cream which works by stimulating aminoglycans production (the skins own moisturiser).
Increased sensitivity to the sun With increasing age the number of pigment cells in the skin decreases, so the skin becomes paler and more sensitive to the sun. This makes it all the more important to use a broad spectrum SPF.
Pigmentation changes Older women tend to have paler skin but with an increasing number of brown spots. The skin becomes paler due to loss of pigment cells, but with less oestrogen around the pigment cells that do remain produce more melanin. Prescription skin care can erase the brown spots.
Sagging skin with lines Finally the skin can sag due to loss of elasticity, both shrinkage and descent of the facial pad pads and also loss of bone volume. Imagine a tablecloth getting larger whilst the table becomes smaller. These changes can be addressed with a combination of prescription skin care, muscle-relaxing injections and dermal fillers.
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