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Dry skin

Changes to your skin are common through menopause as our hormones are changing. Dry skin is particularly common after menopause, when oestrogen levels have fallen. Learn more about how to manage dry skin.

Dry skin is a really common problem - and it’s a tough one to crack. Typically, women have spent years perfecting some kind of skin routine. Even very basic ones. As our hormones change in perimenopause and as we transition through menopause it can cause changes to our skin. Often, this means we will have to adapt our routines.

Why does menopause change our skin?

The hormone oestrogen drops during perimenopause and as we go through menopause. Oestrogen promotes the formation of collagen, healthy skin oils and it helps keep skin looking plump and healthy. Collagen and oils help our skin to stay firm, and keep it’s hydration. When oestrogen drops during menopause our collagen and oils reduce, and many women will get dry or itchy skin.

How to recognise dry skin

Dry, itchy skin can range from the mild to the maddening. Usually - it’s a whole body phenomenon. Some women notice changes in their face first - to the classically more ‘oily’ areas (like your t-zone). It is possible to have both dry and oily skin at the same time!

How to manage dry skin?

Often, you’ll need to think separately about how to manage different areas of dry skin.

Body and hands
Hands, and legs and exposed areas can dry out quickly, and become dry and sore. Avoid washing using drying detergents - sadly that includes bubble bath! Switching to a bath oil, and moisturising at least twice a day with a body cream will help. Moisturisers work best applied straight after the shower on to damp skin. Showers are less drying than soaking in a bath.

We wash hands more than any other part of the body. They’re also exposed to the elements more than most parts of our body. This means remembering to use a handcream is important. Using gloves to protect your hands whilst going more harsh things can also help (like gardening, washing up or using any cleaning products).

Face
For the face, many of us have go-to products. The most important thing is to moisturise regularly. But there’s also a serum called hyaluronic acid which can really boost the impact of a face moisturiser.

It may be time to review your skincare routine too. Although we still need to exfoliate at menopause - if skin is becoming dry we might need to do this a bit less than before. A basic weekly mask to add in moisture can help too.

The whole person
Dietary changes can improve skin texture. Most notably focusing on getting enough omega fatty acids can make a real difference. This means eating oily fish (like salmon or sardines), and including nuts such walnuts and flaxseeds as part of your regular diet. Drink enough water too. It’s great for our overall health, but can have an impact on skin texture and consistency.

Using sunscreen helps to protect your skin from sun damage and dryness. Including sun protection in your daily routine can help with overall skin health and sensitivity. Many high street moisturisers (as well as more expensive ones) will have an SPF included. Look out for those ones.

Most importantly - moisturise, moisturise and moisturise! And don’t miss out on it. It can be a real faff to remember - but just a few weeks of consistency might make all the difference there.

References

  1. nhs.uk. n.d. Itchy Skin. [online]
    Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/itchy-skin/ [Accessed 22 April 2020].

  2. Oakley, A., 2015. Dry Skin | Dermnet NZ. [online] Dermnetnz.org.
    Available at: https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/dry-skin/ [Accessed 22 April 2020].