Menopause is an incredibly complicated process that all women will experience when they reach middle age. Symptoms vary in severity, some lasting weeks, while others lasting years, but ultimately a variety of changes within the skin, body and mind will take place. This is due to changes in the levels of hormones in the body, in-particular oestrogen and testosterone.
The epidermis is the upper most layer of skin and its functions include skin cell regeneration. During menopause the epidermis thins and trans-epidermal water loss increases, meaning more water is lost from the body through the epidermis of the skin. Skin cell renewal is also slower due to the drop in oestrogen hormone within the body, and the reduction of melanocytes (known for their role in skin pigmentation) leads to higher levels of melanin, which in turn can lead to patches of skin becoming darker in colour than the normal surrounding skin, known as hyperpigmentation.
Menopause also effects the Dermis of the skin (the layer of skin under the epidermis), which has a range of structures and functions including sebaceous (oil) glands, hair follicles, blood capillaries, lymph capillaries and nerve endings responsible for us feeling touch, pain, heat and cold. The Dermis also contains collagen, which gives skin a plump and youthful appearance, and elastin, which gives the skin its elastic properties. Whilst this network is strong, the skin will remain youthful and firm, however, as these fibres start to harden and split the network collapses and the ageing process starts to become visible. The menopause causes collagen depletion as you’re body stops producing as much collagen, which combined with the hormonal changes and increased water loss leads skin sagging especially round the cheeks, jawline and neck. Increased levels of testosterone hormone from menopause can also cause over stimulated sebaceous glands producing a thick sebum, which can lead to adult acne.
As well as loss of collagen, the body also loses adipose fat within the hypodermis layer of the skin during menopause, which adds to the overall appearance of sagging of the skin, forming more wrinkles.
Treatments that can improve the above affects are:
- Dermal fillers – to plump and fill the nasolabial lines and marionette lines on the lower face caused by cheek sagging.
- Anti-wrinkle injections – to soften and flatten wrinkles to upper face and around eyes.
- A course of chemical peels – to treat adult acne and hyperpigmentation, and exfoliate and hydrate skin.
- A course of micro-needling – to treat hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and give skin a plumper appearance.