Recent studies suggest that by 2030 approximately 40 million women will be Menopausal.
That’s a lot of women – and a lot of Menopause-related symptoms roaming around!
Menopause is a herculean process for the female human body to undertake. Declining and fluctuating hormone levels- be they estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, or thyroid can have a significant impact on the body, mind and emotions.
Usually, body tissues dry out as hormones fluctuate and accruing deficiencies progress- but in some women, Peri menopause and Menopause can usher in a time very reminiscent of puberty.
These women actually buck the dryness trend and develop oily skin and acne as they progress through Menopause. It’s even been reported that some women, develop both exceedingly dry skin, while having acne flares at the same time. Nice of Mother Nature, huh?!?
How does this happen? And even more important, what can –and should- be done to ease this condition?
The general consensus is that when an adult woman between the ages of 35-50 + suffers with acne, hormone imbalances are almost always the cause. Androgens are thought to be first and foremost the primary culprit.
Androgens are hormones that serve to stimulate the sebaceous glands which cause them to enlarge. These glands then over-produce sebum, the protective waxy substance that rests on the skin’s surface.
Studies have shown that women with acne have significantly more circulating blood levels of androgen than women who do not suffer the condition. This is important to note.
Other studies also link higher circulating levels of dihydrotestosterone in women with acne conditions.
Both androgen and dihydrotestosterone serve to stimulate the sebaceous glands- causing excessive production of sebum and overly stimulated follicles. This then sets up a perfect scenario for the development of bacterial contamination, and resultant inflammation and infection.
While all of this crazy stuff is going on, it’s also thought that declining estrogen levels cause the skin to become more sensitive, and also more prone to damage, scarring and dehydration.
Estrogen also is believed to keep the follicle secretions in check, so it would stand to reason that as estrogen levels decline and sebaceous gland-stimulating androgen levels rise, that pores become more able to create an excess of sebum- and then allow it to perpetuate.
Either of these scenarios creates a rather hostile environment within the skin. Basically, the skin protecting lipids are diminished and follicle secretions are over-stimulated, resulting in skin that is parched on the surface, and swimming in oil just below the surface.
If you are a Menopausal woman and are experiencing acne, the first and best place to start looking for answers is with your Physician and/or Naturopath, and you have several methods of treatment from which to choose: the more conventional, mainstream HRT options including but not limited to birth control pills, and the less conventional but highly touted BHRT using Bio Identical hormones to balance and restore flagging hormone levels.
For maximum health and beauty, hormone imbalances must be corrected, and the sooner the better. Rectifying these imbalances will have a significant impact on overall health- as the body will then be better able to cope, repair and heal itself.
Other ways to effectively combat Menopausal acne flares once hormone balance has been achieved is as follows:
Keep your diet healthful. It’s believed that poor dietary habits- especially during Menopause- can make acne breakouts worse. Diets high in sugar and trans fat can make imbalanced hormones even more unstable. Dehydration also has a role to play in making Menopausal acne worse, so it’s crucial to get enough high quality water daily.
It’s also shown that the Omega fatty acids (especially 3, 7 and 9) taken as both fish oil and Evening Primrose Oil help nourish the skin and keep it supple and free of inflammation.
Many healthcare practitioners also suggested avoiding excessive sun exposure, as skin tissues can be more prone to burning and sun related skin damage/blotching.
While it’s believed that most Menopause-related acne flares cease after full-blown Menopause has been reached and the body stabilizes on this new plateau, developing solid, good skin care habits and then maintaining them during this time is wise- and advisable.
Cleanse your skin regularly. Cleansing -when done properly- removes surface dirt, environmental pollutants and impurities. It’s not a step that can be ignored. Cleanse first thing in the morning, and a much more thorough cleansing before bed. -Each and every day!
Most women either don’t grasp the importance of exfoliating regularly, or they perceive it to be a step they can do without. This step is vital- not only for healthy skin- but for skin that is radiant, supple, bright and beautiful.
Dead skin cells can build up over time and trap sebum, causing blackheads, whiteheads and pustules. This build-up can also stop moisturizers and other treatments from penetrating and being beneficial to the skin.
For truly healthy skin, toner application should immediately follow cleansing. Your toner product should always be alcohol-free.
Regular moisturizing is another crucial step to healthy skin. Your skin faces major stressors during the day and because of these stressors, your skin saves its major repair work for night.
Simply put, all this boils down to the need for two different moisturizing treatments, if the skin’s moisture and nutrient needs are to be properly met.
One with a bit of sun protection for day use- and another for maximum skin benefit for nighttime use.
And my most important: if you’re suffering through Menopause-related acne: PLEASE –PLEASE- PLEASE! Do NOT return to the acne products of your youth!!!! Benzoyl peroxide is NOT a friend to your Menopausal skin!
Using these harsh products will only chemically strip your skin-leaving more damage in its wake. Gentle mud and clay based masques can draw out impurities and absorb excess oils without over-stripping.
As you’ve heard me state before, good skin starts from INSIDE—and nowhere is this truth more obvious than in the successful treatment -and prevention- of Menopausal acne!
Copyright 2019 Carrie E. Pierce all rights reserved
Health and Beauty has been Carrie E. Pierce’s career focus for over 28 years.
Throughout her career, Carrie has served as: Guest and Corporate Makeup Artist for numerous major, international cosmetic companies and as a Hollywood film, TV and special effects makeup artist.
She’s provided skin care and makeup services for the fashion industry, as well as restorative make up procedures for burn and scar patients, cancer patients, domestic violence survivors and women suffering with self-esteem issues.
Carrie is a licensed Aesthetician, Certified Color Analyst, Menopause Skin Care Specialist, Author and Co Host of a nationally syndicated radio show.
Together with Life Coach Kris Cavanaugh Castro, Carrie has co created a coaching program created especially for Midlife women- and the men who love them. Called ‘Making Peace With Menopause’ this program covers the myriad health, beauty, emotional, spiritual and mental aspects of the Menopause journey.
It’s Carrie’s mission and her passion to help women be the best they can be – especially as they move through Midlife!