Julia Vearncombe, found of skin:genius knows only too well how debilitating acne can be, especially when it hits you in later life. She shares her insights into looking after your menopausal skin.
When I was in my teens and twenties, I suffered with breakouts around my nose, mouth and chin – the spots would be inflamed, sore and often have a head on them. Now I’m perimenopausal, my spots can appear hard under the skin, along my jawline, down my neck and at the top of my back.
But what causes this second wave of acne during our menopause?
During times of hormonal imbalances such as puberty, pregnancy and the (peri)menopause, breakouts, spots and acne can appear. Around 95% of people suffer with acne of some form between the ages of 11-30 and about 25% of women over the age of 40. It’s reassuring to know you’re not alone.
During the perimenopause, the hormones oestrogen and progesterone fluctuate, while testosterone can increase threefold compared to oestrogen before the menopause. Testosterone increases sebum levels in the sebaceous glands, which can create spots, breakouts and acne. As we emerge from the menopause, our levels of testosterone reduces and breakouts fade.
Most of us will experience levels of stress during the (peri)menopause for one reason or another. There’s a lot going on with our bodies that we don’t quite understand. Then we have work, kids, ageing parents and home life to juggle as well! It’s A LOT to take on board and while we may be brilliant at being Wonder Woman, our bodies will show this stress one way or another.
When stress levels are increased, levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) rise. This activates the sebaceous glands to produce excess sebum, which in turn causes breakouts, spots and acne.
What can you do to help?
For many of us, if we have less sleep, or eat and drink too much the day before, our skin can lack colour and tone while dark circles (more than normal!) around the eyes and spots appear.
Thankfully there are some daily key things we can do to improve our skin and make us FEEL good:
Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Take time for you and remember that a little of what you fancy does you good!