What You Need To Know About Menopausal Acne
Focusing so much on big issues related to menopause such as vaginal dryness and hot flashes, we seem to neglect other crucial issues that can be so hard to take for older women. Let us talk about menopausal acne, the skin problem that accompanies this not-so-easy stage of life.
What is menopausal acne?
It is a type of hormonal acne. And hormone changes are one of the main reasons for acne and most changes happen in your menopause. The defining characteristic of menopausal acne is deep, tender bumps or cysts, mainly around the mouth, chin, and jawline. Another indicator that you are dealing with menopausal acne is the excess facial hair on the chin and upper lip.
What exactly happens to your skin during menopause?
Your skin goes through so many changes all at once, which may make you feel that the change happened overnight. But in fact, changes start to occur 2-8 years earlier in the premenopause stage.
Change in hormones, estrogen levels drop, which also means there’s less oil production. Collagen and elastin levels become lower, which explains why your pores may look larger.
In addition to dryness and fine lines caused by the drop in estrogen levels, many other things will happen. When estrogen is lower, it means testosterone has a bigger influence on your skin and body. This is why we start to see things like hair thinning, hair loss, facial hair, and acne breakouts. Because your moisture barrier gets compromised it leads to many skin conditions like rashes, rosacea, perioral dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and for some of us acne breakouts or even severe acne.
Treating menopausal acne is done with one main approach which is the “inside out”. You need to treat the root of the issue which means you need to fix your hormone imbalance and according to dermatologists, this is done by taking the oral medication spironolactone. The anti-androgen medication blocks the androgen receptors in the skin, helping to prevent both acne and excess facial hair growth. While it is commonly used to treat acne in women in their 20s and 30s, it is even better for older women as spironolactone may cause birth defects in pregnant women, and that’s obviously not a concern during menopause.
Topical treatments such as benzoyl peroxide and retinoids play an important role in fighting menopausal acne. Seek out gentle formulas and steer away from acids like salicylic acid as it may make your dry skin even drier.