Menopausal Skin Changes

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After menopause, you may find that your skin gets thinner, drier, and more wrinkle-prone. Lower estrogen levels can contribute to a decline in skin collagen and thickness. The best strategies for protecting your skin are to quit smoking (if you smoke) and use sunscreen liberally whenever you plan to be outside. If you’re going outside for an extended period (such as a day at the beach or hiking) consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat and protective clothing as well. In addition to protecting your skin, you might try moisturizing your face and body daily to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

You also could be surprised to find yourself developing acne right around menopause, with shifting hormone levels likely to blame. For mild acne, your best bet is to try an over-the-counter topical lotion. Common active ingredients include benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. If the acne doesn’t improve or you have moderate-to-severe acne, your doctor might be able to give you a stronger prescription lotion. One of the most common active ingredients is tretinoin, which is derived from Vitamin A and helps prevent the hair follicles from getting clogged. Antibiotic creams are also available to target the bacteria that can lead to acne. Some combine an antibiotic with another active ingredient, such as benzoyl peroxide.

To find sunscreens, moisturizers, and acne creams that eliminate or minimize the use of potentially harmful additives, check out the Environmental Working Group’s SkinDeep Cosmetics Database.

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