During menopause, many women find that their skin becomes dry and flaky. Changing levels of hormones slow down the skin’s production of collagen and natural oils, and make it harder for skin to retain moisture. As a result, skin feels thinner and more prone to dryness, sensitivity and fine lines.
We take a look at why women get dry skin during menopause, and consider some common myths and misconceptions relating to menopausal dry skin.
Why do you get dry skin during menopause?
The hormone oestrogen has a number of different functions, including helping to regulate moisture levels in the body, and stimulating the production of collagen and oils. These help to make skin feel smooth and elastic, and create a waterproof barrier which helps to hold in moisture.
Collagen is particularly important for giving strength, volume and elasticity to the skin. During menopause, as oestrogen and collagen levels begin to fall, the skin’s natural moisture levels drop and skin can become less plump and prone to dryness, dullness, sagging and blemishes.
Are all women affected by dry skin during menopause?
While menopause affects every woman differently, issues with dry, sensitive and flaky skin are an extremely common symptom.
In the first few years of menopause, the production of oestrogen and collagen decreases rapidly and this is the time at which women can be most affected by changes to their skin.
Some women find that their skin feels dry and itchy, while others also describe a tingling, prickling or crawling sensation. These symptoms can occur during the night or day and can be uncomfortable and disruptive.
It’s also very common to experience problems with age spots and skin blemishes, as skin loses some of its ability to heal and repair.
Common misconceptions about menopausal dry skin
‘Menopausal skin just feels a bit drier’
Menopausal dry skin is associated with a number of symptoms, including dryness and itching, irritability and an increased likelihood of wrinkles, blemishes and acne.
To help lessen the effects of itching, redness and inflammation, the Live Better With community recommend the Itchy Skin Soother Set which contains a range of products specially formatted to soothe sensitive menopausal skin.
During menopause, your skin also becomes thinner and more vulnerable to UV damage from the sun, so to protect your skin it’s important to wear a good sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
‘Applying some moisturiser will do the trick’
Keeping your skin hydrated by applying a good moisturiser regularly is very important to help combat the effects of dry skin. The Live Better With community recommend Hot Beauty Morning Moisturiser and Lyonsleaf Calendula Cream.
However, making some simple lifestyle changes can also help reduce the effects of menopausal dry skin. To help keep skin as healthy as possible you should eat a balanced diet which includes plenty of lean protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and essential Omega-3 fatty acids - these can help to boost your skin’s natural oils and can be found in foods such as salmon, sardines, walnuts and flax.
Smoking and alcohol can also worsen the effects of dry and itchy skin, so you should aim to reduce or minimise your intake.
You can read more about the best foods to manage your menopause symptoms here.
‘It only affects the skin on your face’
While the symptoms of menopausal dry skin commonly affect the skin on your face, it’s important to remember that it can affect the whole body, from your arms, legs and back to your feet and even the delicate vaginal area.
You can help to reduce the effects of menopausal dry skin by using gentle, unscented soaps, cleansers and deodorants, to help preserve your skin’s natural oils and avoid irritating sensitive skin.
The Live Better With community recommend Weleda calendula soap and Skin Blossom Cleanse & Nourish Body Wash. Avoid taking very hot baths or showers, and always remember to moisturise your skin afterwards.
You can view the Live Better With range of recommended products to help with dry or itchy skin and eyes here.
To find out more about coping with the effects of dry skin, read the Live Better With range of articles and guides, including: What to do to combat dry skin during menopause and Dry or itchy skin and eyes.Do you have any questions or tips to share? Why not visit the Live Better With community forum.