As you may know, we have launched a new business called The Hormone Centre. This private GP-led service specialises in helping women through their menopause. We prescribe HRT where it can help to reduce perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms such as:

– Hot flushes and night sweats

– Hair loss

– Anxiety

– Urinary issues

– Vaginal dryness

– Brain fog

– Poor sleep

– Rage

– Heart palpitations

– Skin dryness / acne / rosacea

– Joint and muscle pain

– Reduced libido

– Low mood, feeling flat

– Extreme fatigue

– Headaches

– Not feeling like you anymore

But today, we are focusing on skin! Skin ageing is a much-overlooked issue of the menopause and one that can have a significant impact on women’s well-being and how they feel about themselves. So, below we have put together a 9-point guide to menopausal skin, to help you spot the signs.

Dr Sloan’s 9-point guide to skin and the menopause

Here we look at the main skin conditions that affect women during their perimenopause and menopause, outlining all the medical facts and available treatments.

1. How hormones impact my skin

There are three key ingredients, collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid coupled with skin cells, that form a barrier between the inside of our bodies and the outside, these stop us from losing water. When we go through menopause, our skin barrier weakens, and we start to find it hard to hold onto this moisture, causing our skin to become thin and dry.

Normally our skin is packed full of oestrogen receptor layers. When these oestrogen levels drop during the menopause, the skin produces fewer Ceramides. This lowering of oestrogen levels quickens the skin’s ageing process. There is also an imbalance in sebum production, too much sebum can cause acne and too little can cause dry skin. Menopause marks a reduction in your skin’s natural hyaluronic acid levels and causes a thinning of the skin.

Other symptoms can include the forming of age spots and thinning skin can expose capillaries. Many people also notice more veins protruding on the back of their hands. Underlying eczema can also resurface in the perimenopause/ menopause years.

2. How to treat dry and itchy skin

“I lie in bed at night and I feel my skin is hot and itchy all over” Does this sound familiar? You could be suffering from dry skin and pruritus (itchiness.) So, what can you do about it?

Well, firstly, stop using soap! It’s simple and obvious, but so many women use soap on their skin – which strips it of sebum, causing further drying. Dermol® wash, Diprobase®, and Doublebase® are all examples of good soap substitutes.

For hydration, there are many options, but at The Sloan Clinics, we recommend ZO® health Skin range for the face, neck and hands, including Daily Power Defense (DPD®). This contains hyaluronic acid and a mild dose of anti-ageing retinol.

A cheaper alternative is to use products that contain Glycerine. Glycerine works like DPD® by drawing in moisture and hydrating the skin.

3. What is Urticaria?

Unfortunately, menopausal women are twice as likely to suffer from sensitive skin and Urticaria is one of the more common complaints. Urticaria forms on the skin as red hives (patches with a slightly raised edge like a stinging nettle rash), which causes itchy skin – especially at night. And when itched, even more histamine is released, worsening the symptoms. The good news is antihistamines can really help reduce the symptoms of Urticaria. GPs also recommend barrier creams such as Diprobase® or Doublebase®.

4. Rosacea and facial flushing

Rosacea can worsen during menopause – this is associated with flushing and redness of the skin and can be associated with spots. Avoiding coffee and alcohol can help prevent flare-ups.

Plus, there are treatments available from the GP, or cosmeceuticals, that help reduce the signs of Rosacea. Laser treatments can be beneficial too in reducing facial redness. You can check out our blog on Rosacea here.

5. Acne

Acne affects up to 15% of women over the age of 50 and they need to be very careful when using certain HRT products, such as those containing testosterone. However, gels such as Treclin® gel can be very helpful for women with acne, as it contains both an antibiotic and tretinoin. For more information, read our blog on acne here.

6. Hair loss and the menopause

It’s certainly more than just a bad hair day. As well as skin problems, menopausal women report that their hair thins and takes longer to grow. In fact, 41% of perimenopausal and menopausal women report hair loss. Whilst hair loss can happen at any age, it typically worsens during the menopause. Age, genetics, medications such as valproate, fluoxetine, paroxetine and Ace inhibitors, stress, and weight loss – are just some of the factors that can play a role.
What’s the solution? Well, Oestrogen is thought to have a protective effect on hair growth by keeping it in the “growing phase” part of the cycle.

Other ideas include:
• Reduce the use of straighteners, hair dryers and other heat-damaging tools. Also, try thickening shampoos and conditioners.
• A healthy diet is vital and foods rich in iron, biotin, omega-3 fatty acids along with vitamins A, B, C and D are all important players in helping hair strength and growth.
• Check your medication for hair loss side effects – you can look at this on the package insert or ask your GP.
• Protect your scalp from sunlight – always wear a hat and SPF.
• PRP – Dracula therapy has some success in female pattern hair loss.
• Topical solutions can be purchased over the counter or prescribed by your GP to help your hair grow.

7. Skin atrophy and facial ageing

Approximately 30% of skin Collagen is lost in the first 5 years of the menopause. Collagen is important in the skin and Oestrogen stimulates Collagen production. In fact, Collagen makes up 98% of the dry weight of our skin.

During the menopause, women really notice their skin ageing, thinning, and wrinkles becoming heavier. They also start seeing signs of sagginess and reduced skin elasticity.

Botulinum toxin can really help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and has other benefits such as managing sebum production and reducing headaches!

Always use a really high SPF on your skin, all year around.

aging skin

8. Can HRT help my skin or prevent ageing?

As well as relieving the symptoms of the menopause such as anxiety, hot flushes, mood swings, night sweats and loss of libido – HRT has beneficial links in the skin, helping to keep it hydrated.

9. But what are the risks of HRT?

The associated risks of taking HRT show that blood clots, cardiovascular disease, endometrial or breast cancers show very minor or no increased risk when the correct individual combination of hormones (HRT) and applications are prescribed.

And there you have it.

As with all things menopause related, knowing the symptoms and what to look out for is crucial, so they are not overlooked, leading to long-term damage. We hope you found our 9-point guide to skin and the menopause helpful – please do get in touch with any questions.

Contact us today via our UK-wide online platform or book an appointment at our Seaford clinic to discuss your needs – because your happiness matters.