One may have thought that they have left the pimply complexion of adolescents behind, only to reel in shock when there is a resurgence of acne in later years. Women going through menopause could develop acne. With all the changes in your body and hormones plus mood swings, the last thing a woman needs is to have skin irritations as well. In the past, menopause is often a taboo topic. However, with increased awareness, we are talking about it more to support women as they go through this process in their lives.

What causes menopause acne?

During menopause, hormones change which in turn results in a drop in collagen. The skin’s elasticity and collagen levels plummet, so the skin becomes thinner and drier. Estrogen levels drop, which also means that there is less oil production. There is less dermis, which includes collagen and hyaluronic acid and as collagen levels become depleted, skin pores look larger.

Those hormonal changes cause more than just dryness and fine lines. The biggest thing about menopause is that estrogen levels start to drop so you have this unopposed testosterone influence on your skin, and that manifests in many ways. The hypersensitive and dry skin is prone to inflammatory skin conditions: rashes, rosacea, perioral dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and — for some of us — teen-angst-era acne breakouts.

What can women do?

Experts suggest non-drying forms of topical antibiotics such as clindamycin, metronidazole, and azithromycin along with retinoids are helpful when managing acne in older skin. Some other experts have also suggested topical sulfur, as prescribed or found in over-the-counter treatments as they are said to kill bacteria, mites which can stop acne.

Maintain a daily routine that involves using the right cleanser, one formulated to exfoliate and cleanse gently without stripping valuable moisture from the skin. Seek the support of a qualified dermatologist to receive retinoid treatment and use a good moisturiser plus sunscreen (at least SPF 30) for the day.

If the above protocol seems to make things worse, you might have rosacea or perioral dermatitis instead. A trip to the dermatologist will confirm, and your doctor may advise you to stop retinoid and acne treatments immediately, as these protocols can irritate the skin. Your dermatologist can prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatories to soothe facial inflammation.

Rashes and eczema are also common in menopausal skin. Keep a tube of 1 percent hydrocortisone cream handy to soothe itching and irritation, but also investigate products formulated to soothe skin.

The best skincare regime for menopausal skin is based on three key principles:

1. Gentleness

2. Retaining moisture

3. Prevent moisture loss and further damage.

Always start with a gentle cleanser, regardless of skin type.

If you prefer foaming cleansers, go for a gentle option.

For the day, protect your skin from moisture loss and environmental factors. Use your gentle cleanser again, boost the skin with free radical-fighting antioxidant serums.

Menopause, like many things in life, comes with challenges but with a plethora of solutions of which we may avail ourselves. Seek the support of qualified medical professionals and never shy away from talking about it. You can thrive in any stage of life.

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