Skin is a complex organ whose functioning is influenced by multiple factors. Everything you do can either contribute to the skin’s quality or physiology or negatively influence it. Changes that occur in your body over the years also play a role in skin health. Let’s take menopause for an example; its effects go beyond night sweats and hot flashes. This special time in your life influences your quality of life, mindset, and your skin as well. In fact, during menopause, your skin tends to be dry. What is behind the menopause dry skin relationship? Is there any way to make it more nourished? Keep reading to find out.
Can menopause cause dry skin?
Before you learn how to make the skin more hydrated, you want to know what causes the sudden dryness. Evidence shows that dryness, like many other effects of menopause, is strongly associated with levels of the hormone estrogen. A study, published in the Journa of the American Academy of Dermatology, revealed that aging is linked to declining levels of several hormones including estrogen. Although the relationship between estrogen and skin is evident, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. The study also shows that estrogen deprivation causes skin dryness, atrophy, decreased laxity, and impaired wound healing in postmenopausal ladies.
Can hormones cause menopause itching?
Estrogen also stimulates the formation of skin-smoothing collagen and oils that are necessary for hydrated and nourished appearance. Declining levels of the hormone are the primary culprit behind dry, itchy, and scaly skin that menopausal women usually notice on their face. Not only do low levels of estrogen cause dry skin, they also reduce the body’s ability to retain moisture. When the skin is not able to retain moisture or hydration, it becomes even drier and rough to the touch.
While it is natural for estrogen levels to decrease and to go through menopause, many other factors accelerate the process of skin dryness or development of different signs of aging. Exposure to sun’s UV rays without adequate protection, sleep deprivation, smoking, and unhealthy lifestyle, in general, are all major factors that aggravate this problem.
Dry skin texture and dull appearance can be frustrating for any woman, but you are not entirely helpless. Different solutions can help you overcome dryness and get a nourished, smooth skin. Below, we’re going to discuss menopause and skincare, an important subject every woman should know.
Have your thyroid hormones checked
Although this is not some skincare advice but it is equally important. Evidence shows that menopausal and postmenopausal women can also have hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland). In hypothyroidism, the gland doesn’t produce sufficient amounts of much-needed hormones T3 and T4.
Women are more prone to hypothyroidism than men, especially middle-aged ladies. This also happens to be the time when they enter menopause. Why is this important? Hypothyroidism causes a multitude of symptoms and changes in the body and dry skin is one of them. A growing body of evidence confirms that skin in hypothyroid individuals is rough and covered with fine scales.
Schedule an appointment and have your thyroid hormones checked. If you do have hypothyroidism or some other thyroid disorder, your doctor will recommend an adequate treatment to normalize the hormone levels. This can also help combat dryness associated with menopausal skin.
Menopause dry skin supplements
A) Get more Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is vital for our health and wellbeing. We usually decide to get more vitamin C during cold winter months to fend off flu or cold, but it does more than that. The micronutrient is beneficial for our overall health and wellbeing. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, the vitamin is absolutely crucial for the healthy and youthful skin. Studies reveal that vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen through lipid peroxidation. In addition, the micronutrient serves as a co-factor for the important enzymes that are responsible for cross-linking and stabilizing collagen molecules.
Another important benefit of vitamin C is its ability to decrease the formation of melanin. As you age, overproduction of melanin causes age spots and dark patches. Vitamin C can prevent them and help you minimize the appearance of these spots. Due to the anti-inflammatory properties, the vitamin promotes wound healing.
Destruction of free radicals, better wound healing, improved collagen synthesis, are just some of many benefits of vitamin C for menopause dry skin. Consume fruits and vegetables that are rich in this vitamin and opt for skincare products that contain Vitamin C in their formula to maximize the benefits.
B) Change your moisturizer
It is easy to think that just about any moisturizer can help you stay nourished, but the reality is entirely different. Not every moisturizer is equal. There is a special product for every skin type, but most of us don’t pay attention to the labels. Dry skin is prone to irritations, allergic reactions, redness, itchiness, and other frustrating effects. Therefore, it requires a moisturizer that will keep it hydrated and nourished enough to prevent these reactions.
When it comes to menopause and skincare, an important thing to bear in mind is that you have to update the products you use and replace them with adequate alternatives. In order to tackle skin dryness associated with menopause, go for a heavier and oil-based moisturizer. You can also opt for daily and night creams that are formulated to address the unique needs of the skin at different times of the day.
Smoking is an unhealthy habit that increases the risk of lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and has a negative impact on overall health and wellbeing. A study from the journal Maturitas discovered that current smokers tend to have more severe hot flashes and they occur more frequently than in their counterparts who never smoked or those who quit.
The harmful effects of smoking extend to skin aging too.
Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide which displaces oxygen in a person’s skin and nicotine which reduces blood flow, thus leaving skin discolored and dry. Now, when you consider the fact menopausal skin tends to be dry on its own and add smoking into the equation, you get even more severe effects and greater roughness.
Although quitting smoking may seem like a mission impossible, you can do it successfully. When it comes to cessation with this unhealthy habit, it all comes down to getting support from loved ones and friends and believing in yourself. Be confident and believe you can do it, write down all the reasons you want to quit and ask your doctor for useful advice to improve your odds.
Other things you can do
- Use a gentle cleanser
- Avoid skin and beauty products that contain alcohol
- Get enough sleep
- Use sunscreen regularly
- Protect your lips with lip balm containing SPF
- Stay hydrated
- Avoid taking long showers and baths
- Use warm rather than hot water for showers and baths
- Apply moisturizer immediately after washing your face and body
- Don’t use the same moisturizer for face and body because skin on these parts has different needs
Menopause dry skin is a well-known relationship caused by declining estrogen levels and accelerated by an unhealthy lifestyle, sun exposure, smoking, and other factors. Fortunately, simple lifestyle tweaks and changes in your daily routine can help you combat this problem successfully.