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 those to hair and skin¹. Women can experience everything from hair loss to excessive hair growth, as well as decreased skin thickness and elasticity, loss of collagen, increased laxity, and wrinkling¹. It may leave many of us wondering what causes menopausal skin or hair changes, 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 may play a role as well. For example, chronic sun exposure and smoking can have a lasting aging effect on the skin¹. Genetics and stress can also contribute to midlife hair changes¹.
What to do about menopause skin changes
During menopause, skin loses some of its natural ability to hold water, which can cause it to get quite dry². Here are a few tips that can help address the dry and itchy skin that can come with menopause ¹,²:
- Try a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid or glycerin after bathing and throughout the day
- Wash with a mild cleanser instead of soap
- Talk to your dermatologist
- Quit smoking
- Avoid the midday sun, and wear protective hats and clothing
- Avoid tanning salons
- Use sunscreen consistently
- Stay hydrated
Many of these suggestions are also helpful tips for preventing skin damage and dryness. Even if you haven’t experienced menopause skin changes, it’s great to take small steps to help protect your skin and be proactive.
What to do about menopause hair changes
Hair changes during menopause, including hair loss or excessive hair growth, are common¹. We don’t yet know exactly what role estrogen plays in this, but we do know that similar to menopause skin changes, there are many factors to consider including genetic predisposition and stress¹. Here are a few tips that may help address hair changes that can come with menopause¹:
- Take note of when you first noticed symptoms, what they were, how severe they are, and how long they last.
- Bring all this information up with your doctor when evaluating possible medicinal solutions.
- Some anti-dandruff shampoos (such as ketoconazole 2% and zinc pyrithione 1%) can promote hair scalp growth.
- Eflornithine hydrochloride is an FDA-approved topical cream that reduces the growth of unwanted facial hair in women.
- Topical minoxidil 5% is an FDA-approved treatment of female pattern hair loss (FPHL) otherwise known as androgenetic alopecia.
Nutrition can help support healthy hair and skin
There are nutritional choices that can support our hair and skin health. For example, research has shown that Vitamin C plays an important role in immune health, but it’s also a necessary nutrient for collagen production in the skin³. Zinc is an essential mineral that helps support healthy skin⁴, and its mineral cousin, copper, is essential for collagen synthesis and skin support⁵. 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 transition and that some things will change. While you may not be able to change your genetic predisposition to skin and hair changes in menopause, you can tend to optimize nutrition, stay active, drink plenty of water, and be sure to get a good night’s rest as often as possible. All of these small choices may help create a smoother menopause transition and keep you feeling your best, no matter what your symptoms are.
- Shifren, J. L., & Gass, M. (2014). The North American Menopause Society Recommendations for Clinical Care of Midlife Women. Menopause, 21(10), 1038–1062. https://doi.org/10.1097/gme.0000000000000319
- Caring for your skin in menopause. (n.d.). https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/anti-aging/skin-care-during-menopause
- Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin C. (n.d.). https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/#:~:text=Vitamin%20C%20is%20required%20for,metabolism%20%5B1%2C2%5D .
- Office of Dietary Supplements - Zinc. (n.d.). https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/
- Office of Dietary Supplements - Copper. (n.d.). https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Copper-HealthProfessional/