Menopause skin problems: Most common signs and symptoms, tips to combat them
The most common signs and symptoms of menopause are changes one sees on the skin. Read on to know what they are and tips to combat them or limit the damage
Menopause is defined as the day in a woman’s life when she has not had her periods for 12 consecutive months and it is a turning point in a woman's life as it brings about many changes in the body and they reflect on the skin while the time before this is also plagued by fluctuations in the regular menstrual cycle, hormonal changes, weight, skin and hair changes that can be quite disturbing and confusing. The combined effects of menopause and the lower oestrogen can have some drastic effect on the skin and the emotional being of a woman.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rinky Kapoor, Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Dermato-Surgeon at The Esthetic Clinics, revealed the following as the most common signs and symptoms of menopause that are changes one sees on the skin -
· Dry skin
· Parched looking skin
· Wrinkles and lines
· Lose jowls and sagging cheeks
· Flaky and itchy kin
· Increased acne
· Redness and rosacea
· Increased skin sensitivity
· Facial hair growth
· Haxthausen disease which causes skin thickening on hands and feet
· Changes in skin around the genital area
· Increased psoriasis is one that is already suffering from it.
· Adult acne
· Reduced body and scalp hair
She added, “Other common signs include hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, depression, and sleeplessness, vaginal dryness, irritation, frequent infections in vagina and urinary tract, discomfort and pain during sexual contacts. The average age is in the early to mid-50s.”
Why do these changes happen?
Dr Rinky Kapoor answered, “Mainly because of decline of oestrogen levels in the body, a condition also known as hypo-oestrogenism. Since oestrogen is usually present in abundance in the genital, face and lower limb areas and therefore its decline shows up most in the skin conditions in these areas. Oestrogen is responsible for maintenance of skin elasticity and hydration by promoting water retention and keeping the hair growth normal. When its levels drop the skin loses its ability to keep itself moisturized and the hair becomes thinner. It also reduces the cell turnover cycles and increases sebum or oil production.”
What can one do to combat menopausal skin issues?
While we understand it might feel confusing to see the changes happening, you don’t have to lose hope over it. Dr Rinky Kapoor revealed that some simple changes in your daily skin care routine can help you keep the skin healthy and glowing at all times. She recommended:
· If you have not yet, then it is time to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Exercising daily, focus on good diet and nutrition, cut down on alcohol and completely avoid soaking.
· Hot flushes and night sweats are one of the main causes of itchy skin.
· Incorporate facial massages using a good facial oil in your daily skin routine. It helps stimulate blood circulation and improves collagen production.
· Use gentle face cleansers. Mostly cream or gel based cleansers will work very well. Choose a cone that is free of parabens.
· Your facial moisturizer should help keep your skin hydrated and therefore invest in products containing hyaluronic acid, fatty acids, squalene and ceramides so serve the purpose.
· Do regular exfoliation. Use a nonabrasive exfoliating scrub that does not damage the skin. AHAs like glycolic acids make a good choice for the weekly scrub to remove the dead skin cells and improve cell turnover.
· Talk to your dermatologist about non-invasive treatments that can help revive the skin from the damages of menopausal hormonal changes. These include Botox , laser skin rejuvenation and hair removal treatments and dermal fillers to help stimulate collagen synthesis. These treatments are non-invasive and have very little downtime.
· Apply sunscreen every day. Sunscreen does very well to protect the skin from harmful rays, free radical damage, dark spots and signs of ageing from getting worse.
To contain or limit the damage, Dr Rinky Kapoor advised:
· If you feel the urge to itch, resist. Instead, pat or rub the area through the clothes. Scratching the skin will only make it thinner and weaker.
· Avoid taking hot showers and baths. Opt for tepid and short showers. This will prevent the skin from drying out further.
· Apply the moisturizer when the body is still damp.
· During winters keep the heating down and wear natural fibres to help the skin breathe.
· Avoid heat treatments, chemicals and extensions to the hair. This will help prevent damage to the hair.
· Avoid wearing fragrances, or products with colour and alcohol.
Dr Rinky Kapoor concluded, “If the problems are persistent for example the rashes, blotches, bumps and acne last for long then visit your doctor for an effective treatment depending on the cause. These treatments can range from antibiotics, emollients, lubricants etc. You might not like what the hormonal changes are doing to your skin and hair but with little care you can maximise your well-being. Make good health a priority and you will feel the best.”