How To Treat Aging Skin During Menopause
Alleviate your menopausal skin problems with these professional insights on potent actives and efficacious skin care.
By Saskia Courtenay | 10 Min. ReadJanuary 5, 2023
How do I know if I’m experiencing the menopause?
The medical definition of the menopause is categorized as one year since a woman’s final menstrual period. There are myriad physiological symptoms associated with it (up to 48 according to the latest medical studies) and the average woman experiences it around the age of 50- 51. Everyone’s journey is different but common symptoms include hot flashes, brain fog, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, hormone induced anxiety and disrupted sleep. Menopause also represents an inflection point when skin can degenerate. However, with targeted professional care and insider understanding of key actives, it’s possible to take back control of your dermal health.
What are the main ways skin changes during menopause?
Menopausal skin can present with a wide range of dermatological changes. You may experience;
- menopause skin breakouts
- skin thinning, (atrophy)
- loss of elasticity and volume
- impaired barrier function
- mottled texture known as ‘menopause skin rash’
- more visible signs of aging and photodamage.
What’s the science behind menopausal skin changes?
At this pivotal time in skin health levels of the female hormone estrogen rapidly decrease. Estrogen stimulates the production of collagen; the vital protein that acts as the infrastructure of the skin.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology collagen levels drop 30% in the first five years of menopause and then approximately 2% each year for the next 20 years. Menopausal skin also has a higher pH level. (Potential Hydrogen). According to the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, healthy skin is slightly acidic with an optimum pH level of below 5. As pH levels elevate and become more alkaline, skin cells are less able to deliver their natural antioxidant protection that defends against free radicals and oxidative stress. This can result in an impaired skin barrier leading to menopause skin rash, sensitivity and dermatitis. If you experience eczema or rosacea these may also become more inflamed.
How does estrogen deficiency negatively impact my skin’s health?
Many menopausal skin problems are a direct result of plummeting estrogen levels. Estrogen is a pivotal signalling molecule that directly impacts dermal cellular processes. Levels of the female sex hormone are intrinsically linked to vital skin functions such as cell turnover and proliferation and lipid and glucose metabolism. Healthy levels of estrogen stimulate the protein ezrin that builds an intercellular network to support the integrity and structure of the epidermis. Estrogen also optimizes moisture and hydration in the skin as it stimulates production of hyaluronic acid. Not only that, it supports collagen production by binding to the receptors in the skin known as fibroblasts. And it also induces the hydrophilic hyaluran that supports skin thickness and density.
Why is antioxidant protection so vital in treating menopausal skin?
Estrogen is a power player in the fight against oxidative stress. So, as we experience dipping estrogen levels during menopause skin changes, the skin’s natural antioxidant protection is compromised. This leaves the skin more vulnerable to the full range of oxidative stressors spanning air pollution, cigarette smoke, UV rays and blue light or (HEV). Oxidative stress is one of the primary causes of skin aging. An excess of free radicals breaks down cellular structures and degenerates collagen and elastin fibers. Cutaneous oxidative stress results in irritated, sensitized dry and dull skin that loses its youthful glow. So, it’s paramount to protect skin daily from UV damage and look for high-performance skincare containing antioxidant rich actives such as niacinamide and Vitamins C & E.
How can mineral SPF help protect against sun damage during menopause?
A broad spectrum mineral SPF is the absolute cornerstone of sun protection in your daily skincare regime at any age. Used consistently from your 20’s onwards it can delay and reduce the signs of sun damage and photaging. During and post menopause it becomes critical. Why? This is the age all existing sun damage becomes more evident. You may start to notice pigmentation and age spots for the first time, or any previous areas of concern will appear more visible. Skin cancer and pre cancerous growths are often found in menopausal skin. Plus, depleted estrogen levels contribute to a loss in skin density. As a result, thinning skin on the face and neck becomes more fragile and further susceptible to sun damage during menopause.
Mineral SPF’s work to effectively block and reflect back UV rays. Newer, more sophisticated formulations not only block UV but also take the damaging energy out of UV rays.
While no SPF offers 100% UVA and UVB protection, a mineral SPF 50 is the gold-standard. It should be worn daily, irrespective of season or outside temperature and even inside to protect from Infrared radiation (IR) emitted from ovens, microwaves and heaters.
SPF 50, when applied at the appropriate dosage (2 mg per cm2 of skin to cover) delivers the maximum protection levels on the market today at 98%. To put that into technical context, it means that it only allows 2 photons per 100 (photons are a unit of light energy) through to the skin’s surface. It’s the safest and smartest skincare investment you can make to help treat aging skin and sun damage during menopause.
Topical Solution: SunsolveMD Anti Aging+ Pro-Hydration Facial Serum SPF50. offers the ultimate in full spectrum protection and daily menopause skin care.
This pioneering formula delivers the highest level of UV protection in a second-skin, high-transparency consistency. Expertly developed to harness the hydrating and barrier reparative power of five ceramides, it plumps and restores skin to its youthful and glowing best.
The rich 12% non-nano zinc oxide mineral base offers one of the highest concentrations available worldwide on the mineral SPF market. For scientific context, global dermatologists have long considered a mineral SPF with 5% zinc oxide to be the best. So this formulation marks a significant advancement both in technology and antioxidant protection levels. It’s a non-negotiable if you’re serious about treating sun damage during menopause.
Why is mineral SPF a safer choice than a chemical sunscreen?
Clinical research conducted by the FDA has shown that chemical sunscreens (also known as organic SPF’s due to their carbon base) pose an endocrinological health risk in the body. Specifically the sun filters known as octocrylene, homosalate and oxybenzone have been proven by clinical studies to be systemically absorbed into the body. Further research by the FDA also attested that these organic filters could be detected in the skin, blood and breast milk of chemical sunscreen users weeks after initial application. Non- nano mineral SPF particles are safer as they are not absorbed into the bloodstream.
Why is mineral SPF so good for menopausal skin sensitivity?
Mineral SPF is inert, meaning it won’t react with the skin and aggravate it, causing further areas of menopause skin rash. Zinc oxide also acts as a free radical shield; doubly essential in hypersensitized menopausal skin problems, which are intrinsically linked to compromised barrier function. Always look for a mineral SPF that contains ceramides. Ceramides are chains of fatty acids called lipids. They constitute around 30% of the epidermis, (the skin’s outer layer) and are integral to maintaining healthy barrier function.
Topical Solution: Find five essential ceramides in SunsolveMD Anti Aging + Pro Hydration Facial Serum SPF 50.
What specific type of zinc oxide SPF should I choose?
Look for a non-nano zinc oxide formulation. Non-nano means that the particles are firstly imperceptible to the human eye, so they leave behind no infamous ‘white cast’ on mineral SPF application. Secondly, non-nano denotes that a particular mineral SPF is safe and non-toxic to use as it will not be absorbed into the bloodstream. It is also free from the environmental (marine life) toxicities associated with nano zinc oxide SPF’s.
The technology encapsulated in SunsolveMD’s pioneering range of sun and skincare harnesses the power of a brand new, environmentally compatible non-nano zinc oxide. This innovative and patented zinc oxide formula has been expertly engineered into the finest texture of micron-sized (non-nano) mineral SPF available in the world. It breaks the mould of mineral SPF and is undetectable on skins of all tones and ethnicitiesFind it in SunsolveMD Anti Aging + Pro Hydration Eyes Serum SPF 50; a super fine textured zinc oxide based serum and sunscreen specifically formulated for the delicate eye area. Apply before makeup in the morning, under concealer as part of your menopause skin care regime. Weightless, yet potent, it brightens and lifts as it delivers broad-spectrum UV protection.
What causes menopausal acne and how can I treat it effectively?
Menopause skin breakouts are triggered by hormonal changes and imbalances in the body. As estrogen and progesterone, the two female hormones dramatically drop, levels of androgens increase. Androgens are the group of male sex hormones, you’ll probably be familiar with the most well known of these: testosterone. This hormonal imbalance increases due to a decrease in the sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels. This manifests dermatologically as menopause skin breakouts and often menopausal acne. If you have been diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) menopausal skin problems and acne can be more acute.
Treating menopausal acne can be complex, so it’s important to lean on the valued expertise of a professional Dermatologist who can devise you a bespoke targeted skincare regime. A solid foundation to start with at home is two-step:
1/ Add in a salicylic acid BHA (beta-hydroxy acid) to decongest and clear blocked pores. Start with a 0.5% based product and gradually build up to a 2% based gel or lotion.
2/ Use niacinamide to combat any associated sensitivity and irritation that may occur as you treat your menopause skin breakouts. Niacinamide is the active form of Vitamin B3. It boosts barrier function and stimulates the production of ceramides. Renowned by dermatologists as an effective topical anti-inflammatory it also increases the skin’s tolerance to retinoids. Effective for menopausal acne scarring, niacinamide works to reduce the transfer of pigment molecules from melanocytes to skin cells known as keratinocytes.
What are the main actives to look for to treat wrinkles and photodamage during menopause?
When assessing how to treat aging skin during menopause these are the actives to have on your dermatological radar:
Retinoids are Vitamin A derivatives that promote healthy skin renewal, stimulate collagen production, firm the skin and soften signs of photoaging. Common forms include retinol, retinaldehyde and retinyl retinoate. Retinoids are also particularly efficacious on menopausal skin as they suppress enzymes known as collagenases, which break down peptide bonds in collagen. No skincare regime for the menopause is complete without a retinoid.
Phytoestrogens are plant-derived compounds that contain estrogen receptor modulators (SERMS) that help stimulate healthy keratinocyte and fibroblast activity. Look for resveratrol (4AR) and isoflavanoid equol on labels, both of which are widely available skincare actives proven in clinical studies to enhance dermal health in estrogen deficient skin. Naturally derived from red wine, berries and grapes, they have a potent antioxidant action on the skin.
Innovative New Solutions: SunsolveMD has two powerhouse products in its expert sun and skincare range that have been meticulously formulated to target wrinkles and sun damage during menopause. Think of them as the clinical level treatments to add into your skin care for menopause, without having to add injectable fillers into your routine.
If your primary dermatological concern is sun damage during menopause, invest in SunsolveMD Solve DNA Reverse ™. This next-generation treatment contains a potent and complex repair enzyme that helps soften, and over time retexturize, perfect and reverse DNA photoaging and sun damage.
Densify and volumize thinning menopausal skin with SunsolveMD Volume Restore ™. This highly concentrated serum uses a unique blend of fatty acids to restore the skin’s lipid barrier. As anti aging products for menopause proliferate, it sets the menopause skin care bar high offering clinical level results in a well-tolerated formula.
What nutritional supplements can I add to help my menopause skin changes and symptoms?
- Omega-3 fish oil. This helps to enhance skin barrier function.
- Magnesium glycinate is a muscle relaxant and aids sleep.
Lephart ED. “A review of the role of estrogen in dermal aging & facial attractiveness in women” Cosmet Dermatol 2018; 17: 282-288.
North American Menopause Society www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments.
Matta, Murali K.; Florian, JAMA, 2022The role of epidermal Sphingolipids in Dermatologic Diseases https://lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12944-016-0178-7
Int J Womens Health, 2019: 11: 555-567, “Menopausal Acne Challenges And Solutions” , Niti Khunger and Krati Mehrotra https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6825478/
Markopoulos MC, Kassi E, Alexandraki KI, Mastorakos G, Kaltsas G. “Hyperandrogenism after menopause”. Eur J Endocrinol. 2015; 172:R79–R91.
Hall G and Phillips TJ “Estrogen and Skin: The effects of estrogen, menopause and hormone replacement therapy on the skin.” J M Acad Dermatol 2005; 53:555-568