One of the toughest things women endure while aging is dealing with menopause. For some, the symptoms appear to be a mere end to the monthly cycle, but for others, it is often a difficult process that can last for almost a few years and cause a variety of changes. This can harm several areas of your body, even your skin. Menopausal skin can see some serious effects because of the hormonal changes that go on in our bodies. In this article you’ll learn all about this effects and how you can possible counteract them.
So what exactly is menopause? For those who are unfamiliar, it is the end of menstruation. This is the period in a women’s life, typically between 45 & 50 years of age when this process occurs. Dealing with menopausal skin is just the icing on top of the cake for some women, so before we go into it’s affects and dealing with those; it might be important to discuss the changes that women have to deal with when dealing with menopause. There are many hormonal changes and declines, as well as in ovarian activity that cause many of these changes. To find out more about these changes keep reading on.
What Causes Menopausal Skin?
These hormones in can cause hot flashes, which are intense feelings of warmth in the skin, particularly of the face, accompanied by profuse sweating. In addition to that the adrenal glands and ovaries of post-menopausal women secrete increased androgens. These hormones, cause some menopausal symptoms such as voice deepening, and appearance of facial hair. So how exactly does this effect menopausal skin?
A lot of hormonal changes happen during menopause and even after it the skin’s physiology can change in new and different ways. There’s a decline in B-Estradiol during menopause, which is one of the culprits in the accelerated aging of your skin. This process can also be caused by age-related changes in the ovaries, and the number of follicles remaining in the ovaries of menopausal women is significantly reduced. The follicles that remain become less sensitive to stimulation by pituitary hormone, even though their levels are elevated, resulting in fewer mature follicles and a reduction in the production of corpora lutea.
What Specifically Happens In Menopausal Skin?
As women get closer to reaching their menopausal days the following changes begin to occur in the skin:
Oily Skin: B-Estradiol, during the reproductive years, stimulates more fluid sebaceous gland secretion. However, during menopause, estrogren levels decrease, testosterone is no longer masked in the women’s body. The testosterone itself reveals itself by stimulating sebaceous glands to secrete thicker sebum, giving the appearance of oily skin.
Facial Hair: This also happens due to the unmasking of testosterone, some women may even develop facial hair, particularly in the chin area.
Sagging Skin & Wrinkles: Estrogen stimulates fat deposits over the female body, as estrogen levels drop during menopause, fat deposits tend to become redistributed and often concentrated over the abdomen and/or on the thighs and buttocks. The end result is a loss of supportive fat below the skin of the face, neck, hands and arms; this allows sagging wrinkles to appear, and the skin over these areas is less easily compressed, as it loses its mobility.
Elastosis: Protein synthesis, particularly that of collagen and elastin are partially controlled by estrogens. Thus, during menopause, the lowered estrogen levels result in less production and repair of collagen and elastin in the derims of the skin. The lack of repair is particularly prononunced if the skin is exposed to UV rays. UV rays are very destructive to collagen, and if we lose our repair mechanism, then we lose our skin’s resiliency.
Thinning Epidermis: The blood flow through the dermal capillaries is reduced during menopause and less nutrients and oxygen are available to the basal cell layers of the epidermis. This then happens to contribute to the thinning of the outermost layer of skin and a slower cell turnover rate, which is accompanied by a reduction in the barrier function of the epidermis. This leads to increased trans-epidermal water loss and dry skin.
More Prone To Sun Damage: When the process of menopause progresses, the number meloncytes in the skin is reduced. When we produce less of the protective melanin and skin appears lighter. Our skin is therefore more prone to sun damage, making it even more important to protect the skin with sunblock.
Hyper pigmentation or Age Spots: Estrogen exerts a regulatory effect on the production of melanin; it keeps it under control. In areas of the skin that have been exposed to UV rays over the years, as menopause arrives, melanin synthesis increases.
Hot Flashes: This is usually defined as a strong sense of warmth in the skin, followed by excessive sweating. It has been long thought that hot flashes were caused directly by the abrupt lowering of B-Estradiol levels. Now women sympathetic nervous system is more active after menopause because of low estrogen, causing the dilation of skin arterioles and sweating. This also raises body temps and increase your heart rate. The hour to hour changes in the secretion of the luteinizing hormone from the pituitary gland of post-menopausal women have also been associated with hot flashes.