Menopause, which occurs one year after a woman’s last period, brings lots of changes to a woman’s body, including changes in the skin and hair. Many of these changes come as a result of a drop in hormone levels. These can include less hair growth on your scalp and more on your face, as well as a decrease in the elasticity of your skin, an increase in sensitivity to bruising, and the appearance of age spots.
Here are precautions and care instructions to take to try and mitigate the effects of menopause:
Age Spots and Signs of Sun Damage
While there is no way to completely “reverse” the effects of sun damage on skin, you can start preventing the addition of new damage by wearing sunscreen daily. If you notice what appear to be “age spots” make sure to see your doctor for a professional skin screening. We want to ensure these spots are not something else to care for, like melanoma or other forms of skin cancer, before treating them as “age spots.” Skin cancer sometimes looks like an age spot or other dark spot on your skin. If you use your age-spot treatment on a skin cancer, you may fade the spot and delay treatment. Delaying treatment for skin cancer gives the cancer time to possibly grow and spread. This can make the cancer more difficult to treat.
Your skin will naturally lose some of its ability to retain water, thus making it feel drier. To combat this, switch from washing with soap, to using a mild cleanser and apply moisturizer after bathing and whenever skin feels dry during the day.
Skin Slack and Wrinkles
Your skin will also quickly start to lose its collagen. As collagen diminishes, our skin loses its firmness and begins to sag. Jowls and permanent lines run from the tip of the nose to the corners of the mouth appear, and wrinkles that used to appear only with a smile or frown become visible all the time. Protect your skin from developing additional wrinkles by wearing sunscreen and consider using a skin care product that contains retinol or peptides. These ingredients can increase collagen in your skin.
As estrogen levels fall, skin becomes thinner and bruises more easily. To help prevent further thinning, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day. Then, consult with your dermatologist about treatment options. Our team will be honest about what may work for you. For some women, a retinoid cream or laser treatment may be a good option.
It’s never a bad time to consult with your dermatologist, if you’re experiencing changes in your skin. We can help ensure there isn’t another underlying cause or that you aren’t experiencing something beyond the effects of menopause as well as treat your concerns from both a skin health and aesthetic perspective.
Savannah River Dermatology is located at 575 Furys Ferry Rd in Augusta, Ga. For appointments and other questions our office can be reached at 706-691-7079.