Menopause is a natural part of the aging process for women, a time that marks the end of your menstrual cycle. You may experience hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings, but skin changes during menopause are also very common, thanks to plummeting hormone levels. While there's no way to "cure" menopause, there are ways to treat your symptoms so that you feel your best every single day.

How Menopause Affects Your Skin

Menopause can be a tricky time, both physically and emotionally. It can sometimes last four or five years, and it isn't fun—your body's going through some major adjustments after all. But in the end, it's just a phase of life. Often, lifestyle changes like regular exercise, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and doing things to relieve stress can help you navigate the challenges that come with menopause.

Many women experience skin changes during menopause. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, as your hormone levels drop, your skin loses elasticity and becomes more dry and dull. You may have even heard the question among friends, "Is dry skin a symptom of menopause?" During menopause, your skin isn't able to retain moisture the way it once did, as natural proteins like elastin and collagen deplete rapidly. As a result, fine lines and wrinkles may appear more pronounced. In fact, you lose approximately 30 percent of your natural collagen in the first five years of menopause—then the decline starts to slow to around 2 percent each year. This can leave your skin feeling dry, uncomfortable, itchy, and in need of nourishing and hydrating products that make your skin glow.

During this time, your skin is more sensitive to sun exposure. As your estrogen levels drop, you naturally produce less melanin, so you may find that you burn more easily or even develop a sun rash. Further, existing sunspots and hyperpigmentation may appear darker and more pronounced. Practicing proper sun safety is more important than ever during menopause, so find a sunscreen you love and get in the habit of using it every day.

How to Care for Your Skin During Menopause

While menopause isn't an easy transition, you should take this opportunity to give yourself some extra TLC. Carve out some time in the morning and evening to pamper your skin in a way that helps you look good and feel good, too. Remember, your skin is more fragile than it used to be, so look for gentle skin care products that focus on hydration and boosting luminosity. Start with the EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser; the gentle enzyme and amino acid blend balances your skin and reduces redness.

Follow it up with the EltaMD Skin Recovery System Kit, which includes a toner, serum, and moisturizer. This Dermatologist-tested kit is designed with sensitive skin in mind, effectively reducing redness and adding a dose of hydration after only one use. The toner detoxifies and hydrates your skin, the serum penetrates deep into the layers to calm inflammation, and the lightweight moisturizer locks in healthy moisture.

For best results, top it off with a super-hydrating sunscreen that includes hyaluronic acid, like EltaMD's UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44, and practice good sun safety, like avoiding the sun at peak times and wearing lightweight layers, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat.

If menopause brings severe skin changes, talk with your Dermatologist about in-office procedures. They can help you identify exactly what's going on with your skin and create a game plan to tackle those issues.

Enjoying the New You

Think of menopause as a new season of life. Take this time to slow down, prioritize your well-being, and do what makes you happy. Your body may be changing, but the beautiful thing is that it's keeping you alive and healthy. Commit to skin and sun care that hydrates, soothes, and makes you love the new you.

Author

  • Catherine Hufton is a UK-based freelance journalist and writer who has worked for some of fashion's most iconic companies and written for the world's best known magazines and newspapers. Beginning her career at Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion over 12 years ago, she has created content for L'Oréal, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, The Telegraph and more.