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Dry skin from menopause: Caring for your skin in menopause

Caring for your skin in menopause

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How Natalie cleared her adult acne

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JAK inhibitors: A newer type of medication

JAK inhibitors are helping patients with alopecia areata, eczema/atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and vitiligo. Here’s what you need to know.

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Menopause and Dry, Itchy Skin: Hormones and Other Causes

Dealing with dry, itchy skin at menopause? Find out why — and get simple tips for smoother skin.

Written by Wendy C. Fries

Reviewed by Sharon Horesh Bergquist, MD on August 23, 2010

Every woman in menopause knows about the infamous hot flashes. Most are familiar with the night sweats. But dry skin at menopause, too? How did that happen?

The answer is simple: Hormones, specifically estrogen. It turns out that the same hormone behind so many of your body’s changes may be responsible for dry skin problems at menopause, too.

Somewhere between the ages of 40 and 58 most women enter menopause. This is when the ovaries stop releasing eggs, periods come to an end, and the production of estrogen begins to decline.

Estrogen is a powerhouse hormone. It stimulates maturation of a girl’s body at puberty. It helps keep a woman’s bones strong.

Another thing estrogen does is stimulate the formation of skin-smoothing collagen and oils. That’s why, as menopause approaches and estrogen production diminishes, dry, itchy skin becomes very common, says Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery.

That reduction of estrogen, and the changing ratios of hormones in your body, don’t just slow down your body’s oil production, they also reduce your body’s ability to retain moisture.

While a parched t-zone or flakey elbows may be the first places you notice the changes, “it really is a whole-body phenomenon,” says Tanzi, with dry skin appearing just about anywhere, from the oil-gland-dense face, back, and chest, to elbows, legs, genitals — even nails.

The changes to your skin can start as early as perimenopause, and they’re permanent, Tanzi says. Fortunately, easing the itch and combating the dry skin associated with menopause is largely in your hands.

To help turn dry, problem skin into smoother, fresher skin, experts offer these quick tips for women in menopause.

  • Focus on smart fats: Essential fatty acids — like the omega-3s found in salmon, walnuts, fortified eggs, or algae oils — help produce your skin’s oil barrier, vital in keeping skin hydrated. A diet short of these body-boosting fats can leave skin dry, itchy, and prone to acne. Most of us have a diet low in omega-3s, which are also found in sardines, soy, safflower oil, and flax.
  • Smooth on that sunscreen: Keep skin healthy with “a broad spectrum sunblock with an SPF of 15 or higher,” says Andrea Cambio, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist practicing in Cape Coral, Fla.

Dry skin, wrinkles, moles, and skin cancers can all result from too much sun, so add a sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection to your line of defense. Aim for about an ounce to cover all sun-exposed skin.

And if you think an overcast day means you don’t need sunscreen, think again. Skin-damaging ultraviolet light can penetrate clouds, fog, even snow.

  • Stop those steamy showers: Piping-hot baths and showers may feel fabulous, but “hot water … can be very harsh to the skin and dry it out miserably,” Cambio tells WebMD. Stop stripping your skin of its natural oils. Take shorter showers and use warm water.

Also, preserve those natural oils by scrubbing with soap only in the spots you really need it, Tanzi suggests, like your underarms, feet, and groin. Because your legs, back, and arms don’t usually get very dirty, skip the soap and stick to a warm-water wash for these areas.

  • Use a gentle soap: Scented, antibacterial, or deodorant soaps can be harsh, removing your body’s essential oils, leaving skin even more itchy and dry. Instead, reach for an unscented or lightly scented bar.
  • Remember to moisturize: Within a few minutes after your warm shower, smooth on your favorite moisturizer. You may favor a pricey potion from the cosmetic counter, but humbler lotions like mineral oil and petroleum jelly help trap in much-needed moisture, too.

As moisturizers go, petroleum jelly is “one of the best,” Tanzi tells WebMD. It does a good job of moisturizing even the driest skin. “Slather it on after bathing, then use a towel to gently pat off the excess.”

For dry skin problems on the face, Cambio suggests topical antioxidants such as vitamin C or green tea. Other moisturizers recommended by the experts include shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and lactic acid.

To help moisturizers penetrate the skin, the pros also suggest exfoliating — sloughing off the top layer of dead skin — with a gentle scrubbing or by using products containing alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids.

And remember you can hydrate from the inside out by drinking water, says Valerie D. Callender, MD, a dermatologist practicing in Maryland. Equally important is reducing or eliminating alcohol and nicotine, both of which can prematurely age and dry your skin.

Exercise, which is important in menopause for heart and bone health, can keep skin healthy as well. By increasing the amount of nutrients and oxygen that make it to your skin, exercise, like estrogen, can increases collagen, one of the key substances that keeps our skin youthful.

The hormone changes of menopause aren’t the only causes of dry skin. Hypothyroidism, fungal infections, vitamin deficiencies, and other issues can also lead to skin care problems, too.

If you follow a careful skin care regimen and still have dry skin problems, it may be time to call a dermatologist.

“Perimenopause and menopause can lead to many changes, not just dry skin,” says Tanzi. Acne, wrinkles, and thinning skin can all show up around this time, making it hard to figure out how to care for skin. A dermatologist can help you develop a regimen tailored to you particular skin care needs.

Check the American Academy of Dermatology’s web site to locate board-certified dermatologists in your area, or ask your primary care physician for a recommendation.

Dry skin at menopause may take you by surprise, but fortunately you’ve got lots of choices to help you care for that beautiful skin you’re in.

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Dermatologist-venereologist. Specialist in the field of aesthetic medicine. Wroclaw, Poland

Itching, ptosis (sagging) and dryness are the three main skin problems experienced by menopausal women. In this article, we will explain why, with the onset of menopause, mature skin often loses its ability to retain moisture and how to protect the epidermis from dehydration.

Dryness is one of the most common clinical symptoms of skin aging in postmenopausal women. This is due to a decrease in the production of natural collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid by the cells of the epidermis, which makes it thin, dry and sensitive.

It is caused by a decrease in the level of estrogen and progesterone in the body. With age, the pH level of the skin also changes, the hydrolipid barrier is disturbed, and immunity and the ability to retain moisture in the cells decrease, against which the epidermis becomes dull, uneven (peeling, irritation appears), thin and sensitive. Dry skin is more prone to the negative influence of external factors, especially ultraviolet radiation, and, consequently, premature aging.

There are various signs of dry skin during menopause, the main ones are:

  • skin tightness after cleansing;
  • peeling;
  • cracks and irritations;
  • pigmentation;
  • decrease in skin turgor.

According to the results of the survey, out of 3875 women over 40 years old, with the onset of menopause, 36.2% of them experienced dehydration and dryness of the epidermis, even if their skin type was previously oily or combination.

Dryness of the skin is caused by a violation of the hydrolipidic mantle against the background of a decrease in estrogen levels. Hormonal imbalance disrupts the vital processes of epidermal cells, due to which they lose their ability to retain moisture.

With the onset of menopause, in the process of hormonal changes in the body, the renewal of keratinocytes (cells that make up 90% of the epidermis) slows down, which provokes the formation of the stratum corneum. In addition, with the advent of menopause, under the action of a special enzyme – hyaluronidase – there is a splitting of the molecular bonds of natural hyaluronic acid. Thus, the structure of the lipid barrier is broken, as a result of which the skin loses its firmness, elasticity, becomes dull and dehydrated.

Get rid of the discomfort caused by dryness of the epidermis with a deep moisturizing treatment. The composition of anti-aging moisturizers must necessarily include hydrofixators, which allow cells to retain moisture, preventing its evaporation.


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Dry and itchy skin during menopause: symptoms of itching in women

Menopause is often accompanied by a negative change in the condition of the skin of the face: dryness, peeling, and, most unpleasantly, itching. If you are experiencing similar feelings, then this article is for you. Expert Anne Le Pillouer gives advice to women on how to avoid skin discomfort during menopause.

The condition of the epidermis in menostasis worsens due to a decrease in the natural production of the hormone estrogen by the ovaries

Female sex hormones – estrogens, in particular 17-beta-estradiol, which is a powerful antioxidant and helps skin cells to fight against negative influences, are responsible for the condition of the epidermis free radicals and resist oxidative stress(1). It is the imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants, provoked by a decrease in estrogen levels during menopause, that triggers active skin aging processes.

What happens to the cells of the epidermis and its natural protective barrier during premenopause?

With the onset of menopause, due to imbalance of hormones, the amount of free radicals in cells and intercellular space increases, which contributes to the violation of the intercellular matrix – the basis of connective tissue responsible for nutrition, reproduction and regeneration of skin cells. This is the main reason why the condition of the epidermis worsens. What skin changes does a decrease in estrogen levels entail:

  • thinning of the upper layer of the epidermis and reduction of its barrier function;
  • activation of the degradation of extracellular matrix enzymes and a decrease in the synthesis of natural collagen and elastin;
  • reduction of proliferation of dermal fibroblasts;
  • decrease in sebum production and thinning of the hydrolipidic film of the epidermis;
  • dehydration, dryness, flaking of the skin ;
  • allergic reactions and itching occur ;
  • violation of blood microcirculation, leading to hot flashes , as well as a decrease in oxygenation and malnutrition of cells;
  • increased sensitivity and susceptibility of the epidermis to external negative factors of influence;
  • thinning and thinning hair;
  • appearance of cellulite;
  • slowing down the recovery of scars.

30% of the protein structure of the dermis is lost during the first 5 years of menopause (2).

Thus, the process of chronological (natural) aging, caused by internal hormonal changes in the body, is accompanied by a decrease in estrogen production, which provokes the appearance of small mimic wrinkles against the background of increased dryness and thinning of the skin, as well as its decrease in elasticity and firmness. This process occurs quite quickly and already five years after the onset of menopause, in the absence of any additional care, there is a loss of 30% of the protein structure of the skin (2) and it becomes difficult to smooth out the existing age-related changes, as well as prevent the occurrence of new ones.

Remember that the state of the epidermis is also affected by a number of external factors, such as:

  • environmental pollution violates the hydrolipidic barrier of the epidermis;
  • alcohol and tobacco use increase oxidative stress.