Whether you’re reading an article from Annabel, Grace or one of our marvellous guest contributors, we aim to give older women confidence to celebrate life and to help with issues that affect many of us.
From teenage years through to menopause, hormones have a huge impact on our skin at any age. If your skin has changed or you’re experiencing breakouts then it can help to understand exactly how hormones are impacting your body.
While acne is most often associated with teenagers, it’s one of the most common skin problems for people of all ages, and it’s often caused by hormones.
The main hormone that causes acne is testosterone. When you reach puberty levels of testosterone rise, in men and women, and this can cause your skin to produce more oil. With more oily skin there’s more chance of the pores becoming blocked up and causing spots and blemishes.
While testosterone levels are generally higher for men, as women’s hormone levels fluctuate with their periods this can cause acne to flare up. But there are also other conditions that can cause hormonal imbalances that also lead to acne.
Hormones aren’t the only cause of acne, especially as you get older, but they are one of the most common reasons. If you’re trying to understand why you’re breaking out then a body acne map can help you identify the cause depending on where your spots are. Once you’ve figured out what your body acne map is telling you, then you can address the different causes to try and clear your skin over time.
How to manage hormonal acne
Changing your diet is often a good place to start if you’re trying to manage acne. Refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta as well as sugary foods can trigger the skin to produce more oil and cause inflammation — so try switching to a healthier, more balanced diet. Some people will also find that cutting down on dairy products in their diet helps reduce acne.
Regular exercise and getting enough sleep can also make a significant difference to your skin and help tackle hormonal outbreaks. Plus working out and resting can help to reduce stress levels, which is another factor that can make your skin worse.
How menopause affects the skin
When you reach menopause your hormone levels also change dramatically, which triggers a number of other skin issues. There’s a drop in oestrogen levels, which is the hormone responsible for stimulating the production of collagen in the skin.
Many women will find that this means their skin is dryer and can become itchy and irritated during menopause. In some cases, it can cause skin conditions like eczema. The skin also loses some of its elasticity because of the lower levels of collagen and it becomes thinner, so lines and wrinkles can become more apparent.
There are also changes to your immune system, which means that when your skin is damaged or wounded then it can take a lot longer to heal, and you’re more at risk of developing skin cancer.
How to look after your skin during menopause
It’s important to get a good understanding of how your skin is changing so that you can look after your skin during menopause and adapt your skincare routine as you get older.
Keep your skin well moisturised so that it doesn’t become too dry. Use a moisturiser that’s suitable for your skin type and apply it after washing and throughout the day when your skin starts to feel dry. Look for ones that contain key ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. It’s also a good idea to use a cleanser and more gentle face washes, rather than soap, to help your skin stay hydrated when you wash it.
You should also use broad-spectrum sun protection with at least SPF 30, if not higher, every day. This can help to prevent your skin from getting any thinner and more wrinkles appearing. Skincare products that contain retinol and peptides can also increase the level of collagen in your skin to help keep skin firm.
If you’re still experiencing acne as you go through menopause it’s important to be careful about how you treat it. Many acne treatments are designed for teenage and younger skin, and they’ll be too harsh as your skin gets thinner and dryer. Use gentle products that are designed for sensitive skin.
As hormone levels change throughout life it’s good to understand exactly how these impact your skin and what you can do to take care of yourself and keep your skin healthy.