Oily Skin: During the reproductive years, B-Estradiol stimulates a more fluid sebaceous gland secretion (“anti-acne” effect). as estrogen levels decrease, testosterone is no longer masked in the woman’s body.
Testosterone reveals itself by stimulating sebaceous glands to secrete thicker sebum, giving the appearance of oily skin (and the tendency toward adult acne in some women).
Tip: Try Dermalogica Breakout Control to control excess sebum without drying effects.
Facial Hair: Also due to the unmasking of testosterone, some women may develop facial hair, particularly in the chin area.
Sagging Skin and Wrinkles: Estrogens stimulate fat deposits over the female body; as estrogen levels drop during menopause, fat deposits tend to become redistributed.
The result is a loss of supportive fat below the skin of the face, neck, hands and arms; this allows sagging wrinkles to appear.
Elastosis: Protein synthesis, particularly that of collagen and elastin, are partially controlled by estrogens and with the lowered estrogen levels result in less production and repair of collagen and elastin in the dermis of the skin.
This lack of repair is particularly pronounced if the skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays are very destructive to collagen, and if we lose our repair mechanism, then we lose our skin’s resiliency. This results in elastosis.
Thinning Epidermis: The growth and maintenance of blood capillaries in the dermis are partially under the control of the estrogens. When blood flow through the dermal capillaries is reduced during menopause, and less nutrients and oxygen are available to the Stratum Germinativum or Basal Cell layers of the epidermis, it contributes to the thinning of the epidermis and a slower cell turnover rate, leading to increased trans-epidermal water loss and dry skin.
An interesting note, the cells that make up the surface of the skin are similar in structure to those of the urinary tract and vagina. When a woman begins to notice changes in her skin (wrinkling, sagging, dryness, flaking, loss of resiliency, etc.), there are similar changes occurring in the lining of the urethra, bladder and vagina. Thus, the skin may be revealing other tell-tale signs of menopause.
More Prone to Sun Damage: The maintenance of Melanocytes (cells that manufacture the pigment Melanin) is under the control of estrogens. During menopause, the number of melanocytes in the skin is reduced (they degenerate). With less melanocytes, we produce less of the protective melanin and skin appears lighter. making the skin more prone to sun damage, aware of protecting the skin with a sunblock.
Tip: Try Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50 to protect from sun damage.
Hyperpigmentation / Age Spots: Estrogens also temper melanin production. In areas of the skin that have been exposed to UV rays over the years, as menopause arrives, melanin synthesis increases (due to lack of regulation by estrogen). This can result in brown “age spots” appearing on the face, hands, neck, arms and chest of many women.
Tip: Try Power Bright treatment kit to treat hyperpigmentation.
Hot Flashes: Hot flashes are typically defined by a strong sense of warmth in the skin, (mainly the face), followed by excessive sweating. It had long been thought that hot flashes were caused directly by the abrupt lowering of B-Estradiol levels, but we now know that a woman’s sympathetic nervous system is more active after menopause because of low estrogen, causing the dilation of skin arterioles and sweating, as well as the rise in body temperature and an increase in heart rate. Hour-to-hour changes in the secretion of the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland of post-menopausal women have also been associated with hot flashes.
Tip: Try Dermalogica Antioxidant HydraMist to refresh and firm the skin.
Menopause affects much more than the skin. Some possible internal symptoms can include dizziness, numbness, heart palpitations, insomnia, backaches and dry mouth,