How Lower Hormone Levels Affect the Skin
Dry, thin and sagging skin is among the most common complaints of women who have gone through menopause. Lower estrogen levels are the cause, and the result is that your skin’s normal function slows down. Because your skin does not work as fast to shed dead cells and build new skin, you lose radiance. If you have not taken good care of your skin in the past or spent years in the sun, your skin will look rough and weathered.
Treating skin well is now more important than ever.
iVillage Beauty Skin Expert Dr. Barbara Reed recommends monthly facials for anyone who can afford them. Why? Because, Dr. Reed explains, the idea is to exfoliate the dry, dead skin from the face. Since care is so important, you need to super-hydrate the skin with rich creams, following exfoliation. You can give yourself a facial at home monthly by using an alpha-hydroxy mask, followed by a thick moisturizer. "Look for a moisturizer that comes in a jar, and not one you can squeeze out from a bottle, ensuring its density," says Dr. Reed. Finally, always use a sunscreen with a high SPF whenever you're outside.
There are many products on the market that contain ingredients that are designed to eliminate fine lines and correct other skin conditions of menopause. There are many products that come in a range of prices. For your daily regimen, look for these kinds of ingredients to soften fine lines and moisturize skin:
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Derived from natural sources such as sugar cane, milk and apples, AHAs dissolve the "glue" that binds dead skin cells to the skin's surface. When these cells build up, the skin looks gray and dull. When you remove this buildup, your skin will not only look more radiant, it will be able to absorb moisturizers better. Look for products that contain either glycolic or lactic acids to help soften the overall appearance of your complexion. If you use either, you must use a sunscreen of SPF15 or higher whenever you go outside.
Retin-A, Renova (Tretinoin) or Retinoids
Retin-A and Renova are the commercial names for drugs that contain retinoids, or vitamin A acids. Retinoids began as a treatment for acne, until it was later learned that they could aid aging skin. Renova is less harsh to use than Retin-A, but some say it doesn't work as quickly. Both treatments plump and smooth the skin, reduce fine lines and can even fade discoloration. Ask your dermatologist which is right for you. If you are using either of these drugs, you must use a sunscreen whenever you are outside.
Facial hair may be a concern after menopause.
The only permanent hair removal process is electrolysis, or laser treatments. You can bleach or temporarily remove hair by plucking, waxing or applying a depilatory.
One more thing:
If you're on hormone replacement therapy, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun because your skin can darken in patches.