What To Do About Menopause Hair And Skin Changes
Don’t let the sudden appearance of hair or skin changes give you wrinkles during menopause. Hormonal changes during this time can cause some very common symptoms in the body including things like acne or dry skin.1 Women can experience everything from hair loss to excessive hair growth, and decreased skin elasticity on their face as well as in their vaginal lining.1 It may leave many of us wondering what causes menopause skin changes or leads to menopause and hair loss, and what we can do about it.
There are many possible causes for these symptoms, including the estrogen loss that naturally occurs with menopause, but other factors can play a role as well. Chronic sun exposure and smoking can have a lasting aging effect on the skin.1 Genetics and stress can also contribute to midlife hair changes just as much as hormonal changes do.1 While menopause may play a role in these new symptoms, there are still a few steps we can take to tend to lessen its effects.
What to do about those pesky menopause skin changes
During menopause, skin loses some of its natural ability to hold water, which can cause it to get quite dry.2 Some women experience acne breakouts due to hormonal changes, as well as thinner or less elastic skin, wrinkles, roughness, and dryness.1 Here are a few tips that can help address the dry and itchy skin that can come with menopause:
- Try a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid or glycerin after bathing and throughout the day2
- Wash with a mild cleanser instead of soap2
- Talk to your dermatologist1
- Quit smoking1
- Avoid the midday sun, and wear protective hats and clothing1
- Avoid tanning salons1
- Use sunscreen consistently1
- Stay hydrated
All of these are helpful tips for preventing damage and dryness as well. Even if you haven’t experienced many menopause skin changes yet, you can always take small steps to help protect your skin and be proactive.
What to do about menopause and hair loss
Hair changes during menopause, including hair loss or excessive hair growth, are common as well.2 We don’t yet know exactly what role estrogen plays in this yet, but we do know that similar to menopause skin changes, there are many factors to consider including genetic predisposition and stress.1 Here are a few tips that can help:
- Take note of when you first noticed symptoms, what they were, how severe they are, and how long they last.1
- Bring all this information up with your doctor when evaluating possible medicinal solutions.1
- Some anti-dandruff shampoos (such as ketoconazole 2% and zinc pyrithione 1%) can promote hair scalp growth.1
- Eflornithine hydrochloride is an FDA-approved topical cream that reduces the growth of unwanted facial hair in women.1
- Topical minoxidil 5% is an FDA-approved treatment of female pattern hair loss (FPHL) otherwise known as androgenetic alopecia.1
Nutrition can help support healthy hair and skin too
There are a few nutritional choices we can make too to better support our hair and skin health. For example, science routinely shows that Vitamin C plays an important role in immune health, but it’s also a necessary nutrient for collagen production that’s needed to help with wrinkles. Zinc is an essential mineral that helps support healthy skin, and its mineral cousin, copper, is essential for collagen synthesis and skin support. Here’s a list of some key nutrients that can help support healthy skin and hair:
- Vitamin C
You can find these nutrients in food or in supplements, whichever suits your lifestyle best. The one thing here is consistency.
Tending to your beauty inside and out
The changes we experience in our hair and skin during menopause may be common, but they’re also commonly overlooked. It’s important to recognize your body is going through a restructuring and that some things will change. You can tend to your nutritional needs with a variety of plant-based meals, stay active with friends, drink plenty of water, and be sure to get a good night’s rest as often as possible. All of these small choices can help create a smoother menopause transition and keep you feeling your best, no matter what your symptoms are.
- The North American Menopause Society. “Midlife Body Changes.” Accessed on: April 6, 2020. < https://www.menopause.org/publications/clinical-care-recommendations/chapter-2-midlife-body-changes>
- American Academy of Dermatology Association. “Caring For Your Skin In Menopause.” 2020. Accessed on: April 6, 2020. <https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/anti-aging/skin-care-during-menopause>