Menopause and Skin
What are menopause and perimenopause?
Perimenopause is a transition period in which your body prepares for menopause. Your ovaries make fewer and fewer hormones during this time, leading to unpredictable or abnormal periods. That is why perimenopause is characterized as a time when your periods are irregular. Irregular periods may be a sign that you are leaving your reproductive years.
Perimenopause presents differently for everyone. It can last only a few months for some, while it can last up to 10 years for others. Additionally, perimenopause can start anywhere from your mid-30s to mid-50s (1).
As perimenopause is a transitional period, perimenopause ends with menopause. Menopause is another natural process, and it officially occurs when you stop having periods altogether for 12 months. Menopause can start beginning in your 40s; however, the average age is 51 (2).
What does it do to woman’s bodies?
As you notice your periods becoming irregular during perimenopause, your hormone levels are changing. In particular, your estrogen levels decline, and your ovaries begin to release fewer eggs. Likewise, fertility begins to decline; however, you may still become pregnant during perimenopause. Physical signs of perimenopause include:
- Erratic, abnormal, or irregular periods
- Hot flashes
- The urge to urinate more frequently
- Vaginal dryness and/or discomfort during intercourse
- Sleep issues
- Mood changes (e.g., mood swings, irritability, or sadness) (1)
Menopause represents a permanent end of your body’s fertility. With menopause, your body begins producing lower levels of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Having low estrogen levels during and after menopause can lead you to experience uncomfortable symptoms such as:
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Mood swings, depression, and trouble concentrating
- Sleep problems
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful intercourse
- Low sex drive (2)
How does it possibly affect the skin?
Perimenopause and menopause can both affect your skin. With lowered estrogen levels, your skin will begin producing less collagen. Low collagen can cause your skin to lose its tightness and plumpness. Therefore, the skin may become thin and dry with decreased elasticity. Age spots can start to appear on the body, including the face, neck, arms, hands, neck, and chest. Additionally, women may experience increased facial hair and less hair on the scalp (3).
How can women prepare for perimenopause and menopause?
Undergoing perimenopause and menopause can be difficult for some women, as it brings about physical and psychological changes. Seeing your doctor regularly and having a solid social support system can aid this transition. Maintaining a healthy diet and regularly exercising is always a good idea to support your overall health and wellbeing.
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- Perimenopause: Age, stages, signs, symptoms & treatment. (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21608-perimenopause
- Menopause: What is menopause? Menopause symptoms, treatment, diagnosis—Ucla. (n.d.). Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://www.uclahealth.org/obgyn/menopause
- Caring for your skin in menopause. (n.d.). Retrieved June 2, 2022, from https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/anti-aging/skin-care-during-menopause