Does Menopause Cause Acne?

animated woman with spots holding a mirror sad

Some skin-deep changes often accompany menopause – collagen levels plummet, your hormones take a turn, and the drop in estrogen can lead to dryness or hypersensitivity. Oil production decreases, pores may appear larger than normal, and many inflammatory conditions such as rashes, rosacea and acne come into play. All of this combines for an interesting ride that affects more than just our mood!

A common side effect of menopausal acne is a type of hormonal acne that can occur during menopause, perimenopause and post-menopause.

What does acne from menopause look like?

Menopausal acne is commonly presented with deep, tender cysts around the mouth, chin and jawline in contrast to traditional facial blemishes like blackheads or whiteheads usually seen on oily areas of the face such as the T-zone. Excess facial hair commonly accompanies this type of hormonal skin issue – further evidence that your body’s hormone balance may be awry during this period of transition.

Why does menopause cause acne?

  • Changes in hormone levels. Menopause skin breakouts are caused by hormonal changes. As estrogen levels decrease during menopause, testosterone takes the reins resulting in skin that is more prone to oiliness and clogged pores. Research indicates this phenomenon seems most prevalent on lower facial areas due to increased concentrations of androgen receptors. Hormones being out of balance—whether it be a rise or sudden drop like experienced by post-menopausal women—demonstrates itself as either an increase in acne or exacerbation if already present. 
  • Skin cell turnover slows down. During menopause, the rate of skin cell turnover often slows down. This can lead to clogged pores and a build-up of sebum, causing acne during menopause and acne in perimenopause.
  • Stress. Menopausal acne and other side effects of menopause can cause feelings of anxiety, leading to the increase of stress hormones and oil production which can trigger acne, creating a vicious cycle.

Managing Menopausal Skin

Your daily routine during menopause is critical to overall skin health. If you take care of your skin, it will love you back. We all need a little TLC during hormonally-chaotic times. There are three core principles in menopausal skincare:

  • Be gentle. Your skin is tender and sensitive at this time as well as easily inflamed. Find a trustworthy, mild and gentle cleanser that doesn’t irritate your skin to avoid any flare ups.
  • Lock in the moisture. Due to the low estrogen levels that accompany menopause, your skin produces less oil than usual which means less moisture. Shea and cocoa butter are great humectants and may become your skin’s best friends.
  • Prevent any further moisture loss or damage. A retinoid treatment and a solid, hydrating moisturizer are a great way to close each day. You also want to make sure that your routine is not stripping away any valuable moisture.

Other tips to consider when managing your hormonal skin include finding ways to relieve stress, increasing quality sleep, quitting harmful substances, hydrating, and exercising.

Treating Your Menopausal Acne

Menopausal acne can be a challenge to deal with, as hormone fluctuations make conventional treatments less effective. But never fear! Your dermatologist has plenty of tips for conquering this condition from the inside out – some medications and other therapies combined with specially tailored lifestyle changes that will have you saying goodbye to menopause-induced blemishes in no time.

Some of the most common options your dermatologist may discuss with you include:

1. Non-drying forms of topical antibiotics and/or retinoids. It is extremely important to use kinds that do not dry out your skin.
2. Topical sulfur – this kills bacteria, mites, etc.
3. Androgen-blocking spironolactone – this helps with the hormonal issues that cause the acne.
4. Other hormone-regulating supplements such as phytoestrogenic herbal supplements.

In Summary

Menopause marks a new chapter in a woman’s life, one filled with opportunity and freedom! But along the way many women experience fluctuations in their skin – from dryness to hormonal acne. Don’t let these changes weigh you down; instead visit your dermatologist for professional advice on what advanced treatments are available that can help restore balance to the skin during this time of transition.

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