Symptoms Of Menopause - Skin Changes
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Skin Changes and Menopuase

More on Skin Changes
Dry, thin and sagging skin are common complaints among patients. But what many don’t realize is that, in additional to long-term exposure to the elements, namely sun and wind, the hormonal changes associated with menopause cause additional problems for the skin.

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Many women who complain of skin changes also complain of unwanted facial hair,
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How your Skin Changes with Menopause

“Many women will notice changes in their skin and hair during the menopause. Dry, thin and sagging skin are common complaints heard during menopause. The two main reasons for the change in skin are loss of estrogen during menopause and long-term exposure to the elements, namely sun and wind. Other symptoms attributed to the skin during the menopause and perimenopause transition include acne-type breakouts and unwanted facial hair.” – John Sunyecz, M.D.

Everyone realizes that skin shows increasing signs of aging as the years pass.  It happens to women and to men.


But what many don’t realize is that, on top of changes that are directly due to aging, hormonal changes associated with menopause cause additional problems for the skin.


Fortunately, there are things that can be done to help offset the changes in the skin due to aging and menopause.  




Before we talk about the effect of menopause, let’s take a quick look at what happens to everyone’s skin as years pass by. 


  • Intrinsic aging  As the cells of the skin age, they become less able to carry on their normal functions.  The skin thins as production of collagen and elastin lessen.  The hair produced by the skin begins to turn gray.  Skin releases superficial dead cells less readily, causing dry and dull-appearing skin.
  • Photo aging  The areas of the body that are exposed to sunlight typically show much more deterioration over time than areas on the same person that aren’t exposed to UV rays, such as the inner arm.  Increased wrinkling on the face compared to the inner arm is generally due to the accumulated damage from sunlight.
  • Environmental aging  As the outer shield for the body, skin comes into contact with a lot of damaging conditions and materials.  Pollutants.  Sprays.  Wind.  Extreme temperatures.  Smoking.  All of these take their toll as well.




By the time you reach menopause, the results of these three aging effects are beginning to accumulate.  Unfortunately, menopause accelerates these skin changes.  Mostly, it has to do with the loss of estrogen.


Estrogen is very involved in the normal function of the skin.  It directly affects the function of key cells in the skin, like the fibroblast (produces collagen and elastin), keratinocyte (closely involved in skin protection) and melanocytes (involved in evenness of skin color, etc.).  It also helps regulate hair follicle function (hair production) as well as sebaceous gland activity (producing skin oils).





With the arrival of menopause and its decreasing levels of estrogen in the body, the effect is felt in the skin as well.  Cells in the skin have estrogen receptors; this means that they ‘listen’ for instructions from estrogen.  When the estrogen begins to disappear, those messages aren’t getting through. 


Here are some key skin changes that the decrease in estrogen levels is believed to be at least partially responsible for:


  • Increased loss of collagen –the support structure in the skin
  • Decrease in the glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s) that provide ‘plumpness’ to skin
  • Decrease in dermal thickness
  • Decrease in skin elasticity
  • Dry skin
  • Fine wrinkling
  • Poor healing, increased susceptibility to trauma
  • Increase in unwanted facial hair
  • Decrease in scalp hair
  • Decrease in skin strength





If you suspect that replacing the body’s lost estrogen would limit these effects, you would be correct.  Multiple studies confirm that hormone therapy (HT) can reverse these effects to a large degree.  For example, Korean women using HT have a significantly lower risk for the development of facial wrinkling.


As you can read in greater detail elsewhere on this site, the issue of HT is a complex one. When dermatologists evaluate the isolated issue of whether to use HT to treat skin changes (aside from what else might be going on in the body), they generally do not recommend it to treat just the skin.  They are cautiously optimistic that research currently being done on selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) could provide a solution at some point in the future by targeting effects on the skin, but this would be a long way off.


However, if you and your physician determine that your overall situation requires HT, it is likely that you will see benefits to your skin as part of the results.


You might wonder if an estrogen-containing cream would be helpful for skin changes.  At least one study confirms that topical application of a cream containing estradiol significantly increased the amount of collagen in the treated skin.





Whether or not you choose to use HT, there are things that can be done to help protect your skin from the effects of menopause


  • Collagen support  Look for ingredients that encourage an increase in collagen production and, ideally, the glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) that help fill out the skin. 
  • AHA’s  Alpha- and Beta-Hydroxy Acids increase the thickness of the epidermis and decrease the thickness of the dead superficial cells, improve GAG content and help normalize the tone of the skin.  If you’re using AHAs, you should also be using sunscreen as the they can increase sun sensitivity of the skin.  We recommend a low concentration of about 5% AHAs derived from complimentary sources like milk, sugar cane, and maple for example.
  • Sun Protection  Because the sun’s UV rays do substantial damage, you should regularly use sun protection.  Don’t be afraid of getting a modest amount of sun on your body regularly as it is crucial for helping provide your body with active vitamin D.  But, we encourage use of an SPF15 sunscreen for the parts of your body that are chronically sun-exposed.
  • Moisturization  A significant skin function is to keep water in – in the skin and in the body.  But, aging skin gradually loses its ability to do so, resulting in dry skin, but also in greater loss of water through the skin.  Use of a body lotion that mimics and replaces as much as possible the normal skin oils can help.  Similarly, for the face there are advanced moisture-holding agents, such as seaweed and algae extracts, that can help.
  • Anti-oxidant Protection  Much of the deterioration of the skin occurs through oxidation, a process that is essentially what happens when a metal rusts.  The skin normally has antioxidants present to help counter this effect.  Providing additional antioxidants through topical application can help further protect the skin.  No single antioxidant is a ‘miracle’; use products that combine complementary antioxidants for the best effect.



Unfortunately, with the intense competition in the cosmetics industry, shopping for reliable products can be extremely confusing.  With all of the quasi-scientific names, the advice from the counter salesperson and hundreds of products…what can you rely on?  Here are a few tips.


  • Fairy Dust   This is a  dirty little secret of the cosmetics industry.  If a new scientific discovery has been made of an ingredient that really makes a difference, companies know that you’ll be looking for a product that contains that ingredient.  But, because the ingredient is expensive, they put just a tiny amount in (a little fairy dust) and then splash the name of the ingredient everywhere – on the package, in the advertising, etc.  And they get away with it because you can’t tell from reading a cosmetics label how much of that ingredient is actually in the product. This is common practice – even among the biggest brands.
  • Lots Of Bottles  Take a look around your bathroom shelves.  How many different partially-used bottles of stuff do you see?  The industry loves to see that – they thrive on encouraging you to buy all sorts of different promises, as though you need to use seven or eight different products to start every day.  Don’t fall for it.  Use well-formulated, multi-functional products instead.
  • The Most Expensive Is The Best  While it’s true that you can’t get the best skin care for drugstore prices, don’t fall for those ridiculously-priced products.  Excellent skin care doesn’t have to be expensive.



Our concern at is to provide the best information we can and we don’t take that responsibility lightly.  So, we took a long time researching to find a skin care line that was in tune with our values. 


We recommend the Striking Anti-Aging Skin Care product line because they’re particularly well-suited to meet the needs of women dealing with menopause.  This brand uses that latest in peptide technology to support healthy, vibrant skin.  But, most impressive of all is the feedback of those who use Striking Skin Care products.


If you’re not happy with the state of your skin and are looking for the best way to pamper it, we’d encourage you to take a look at their Striking Skin Care System or individual products in their line.


These products fall in line with our recommendations and we’re confident you’ll find them a treat for your skin.


Read more about evaluation and treatment at:
- Health Concerns / Hair Loss/Facial Hair