Menopause is a complicated process that all women go through as they hit the middle age. Lucky are those for whom it is merely a roadblock for that monthly cycle. But, there are few others for whom it can be a really rough phase of one’s life. During the menopausal period, the body goes through a variety of changes. Some could be experienced and seen while others cannot be felt. There is a major hormonal reshuffle in the body that takes a toll on the woman’s mental and physical wellbeing.
The hormonal shuffle, as well as the slowdown in ovarian activity, cause many changes that can be associated with menopause. Hormones may cause hot flashes, in some women, which are intense feelings of heat in the skin, particularly on the face along with profuse sweating. Moreover, the adrenal glands and ovaries of post-menopausal women secrete increased androgens. The hormones in the absence of estrogens, cause some menopausal symptoms like voice deepening, enlargement of the clitoris and appearance of the facial hair.
Menopause and your skin:
Does menopause really affect the skin too? The answer is yes, of course. The hormonal changes that take place during and after the menopause change the skin’s physiology in many different ways. The sudden decline of B-estradiol during the menopause is one of the major factors in speeding up the aging process of the skin in particular.
As a woman gets closer to menopause, the following are some of the most common changes that begin to occur in the skin:
During the reproductive years, B-Estradiol stimulates a more fluid sebaceous gland secretion (“anti-acne” effect). During menopause, as estrogen levels decrease, testosterone (produced by the adrenal glands) is no longer masked in the woman’s body. Testosterone reveals itself by stimulating sebaceous glands to secrete thicker sebum, giving the appearance of oily skin (and the tendency toward adult acne in some women).
Also due to the unmasking of testosterone, some women may develop facial hair, particularly in the chin area.
Sagging skin and wrinkles:
Estrogen levels are responsible for the fat deposits over woman’s body. As the estrogen levels drop during the menopause, fat deposits redistribute themselves and are often concentrated over the abdomen and/or thighs and buttocks. This results in loss of supportive fat layer below the skin of the face and neck, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkle formation.
More Prone to Sun Damage:
The maintenance of Melanocytes is under the control of estrogens. As menopause progresses, the number of melanocytes in the skin declines. With less melanocyte, the skin produces less of the protective melanin and skin appears lighter. Menopausal skin is, therefore, more prone to sun damage, making it even more important to protect the skin with a sunscreen.
Hyper-pigmentation / Age Spots:
Estrogens disturb melanin production. That is, estrogen exerts a regulatory effect on the production of melanin; it keeps melanin under control. In areas of the skin that have been exposed to UV rays over the years, melanin synthesis increases, as the menopause approaches in one’s life. Thus, resulting in brown “age spots”, those are visible on the face, neck, arms, chest, and back of many women.
These were the ways in which the skin is affected by menopause.