Menopause and Your Skin
Menopause marks the second time in a woman's life when hormonal changes take place, the adult change, as opposed to puberty, is when estrogen and progesterone hormone production decreases. As a result, the ovaries stop releasing eggs and eventually menstrual cycles stop. The average age of women entering menopause is 51 years. However, menopausal symptoms typically begin months and often several years prior. This pre phase is referred to as "perimenopause." In truth, hormone changes for both men and women begin at 30 - however the declines are relatively small at that point. But for women, at 40, the hormone declines become more noticeable and at menopause, women experience a period of rapid diminishment. Post menopause hormones continue to decline but the rate of change stabilizes.
When a woman's estrogen levels drop significantly, so do her progesterone levels. Both hormones play a key role in a woman's sexual and reproductive health. Both are considered steroid hormones, especially estrogen, which can affect your serotonin levels as well as your overall health.
In terms of menopause symptoms and side effects, most women experience hot flashes, insomnia, fatigue, and mood swings. Traditionally, society likes to pretend menopause isn’t happening even though right this minute, over 32 million American working women are actually in some phase of menopause. And even more ignored, despite all the skincare articles and product in the world, is this ‘time of life’ skin aging. This is likely because the skincare business typically focuses on what we call general anti-aging. And that is aging primarily driven by sun exposure and other external causes, such as blue light or pollution. This is because much of hormone driven - meaning for the purposes of this blog - menopause caused aging, was thought to be impossible to do anything about.
Let’s start with some skincare basics. Your skin is your largest organ. Its job is to protect your body from bacteria, pathogens, viral infections, and other external aggressors that are harmful to your overall health.
Skin is made up of two layers: the dermis and the epidermis. The epidermis is the thin, top superficial layer that contains melanin and gives your skin its color and UV protection. The dermis is the thicker and more resilient layer beneath the dermis that holds the blood vessels, nerve endings, and fibers.
During the perimenopausal (remember that’s pre menopause and can start as early as the mid forties) and active menopause phases, the physiological makeup of our skin—and its resiliency—begins to deteriorate and change.