I probably can feel what you are thinking; Is it not enough to have 34
symptoms of the menopause? Do we have to have another “problem/symptom”? Well, hormonal acne is not between the 34 canonical symptoms of the menopause, but it’s definitely something that happens to a lot of women. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, women in menopause are most likely to spot acne blemishes near their chin, jaw, and mouth, but pimples can also appear on the chest and back.
So, what it is hormonal acne?
Hormonal acne is exactly what it sounds like — acne tied to fluctuations in your hormones. Although it’s mostly associated with hormone fluctuations happening during puberty, hormonal acne can affect adults of any age. It’s especially common in women. A number of factors may contribute to this, including menstruation and menopause. During puberty, hormonal acne often appears in the T-zone. This includes your forehead, nose, and chin.
During the menopause, or to be more precise, the phase that leads into it, called perimenopause, levels of the female hormones, including oestrogen, drop progressively. But androgen levels, the male sex hormones that each woman has as well, remain mostly constant. This situation in effect causes the body to experience effects caused by these “male” hormones more than usual. One of the strongest of the androgens, testosterone, often triggers skin conditions that result in menopausal acne. This is mostly because testosterone is not counterbalanced anymore by oestrogen. As testosterone levels rise, the skin’s sebaceous glands go into overdrive. In fact, they start producing excess sebum (an oily substance that can block pores). The problem is then further worsened by the slowed-down cell regeneration in older skin. As excess skin cells build up, they block pores which are already clogged with sebum, resulting in inflammation and infection. The body’s immune response builds-up white blood cells in the infected area and the result is a blemish or zit.
Typically, menopausal acne is a very unpleasant but temporary condition that goes away once a woman settles into postmenopausal hormone levels. But sometimes the discomfort and cosmetic impact of acne in this time in our lives are bad enough to make a woman to seek medical attention. Hormonal adult acne typically forms on the lower part of your face. This includes the bottom of your cheeks and around your jawline. For some women, hormonal acne takes the form of blackheads, whiteheads, and small pimples that come to a head, or cysts.Cysts form deep under the skin and don’t come to the surface. These bumps are often tender to the touch. So, which kind of reaction can cause hormonal fluctuations in our skin? Specifically, hormone fluctuations may worsen acne issues by increasing:
- Overall skin inflammation
- Oil (sebum) production in the pores
- Clogged skin cells in hair follicles
- Production of acne-causing bacteria called propionibacterium acnes
You may still experience menopausal acne even if you’re using hormone replacement therapies (HRTs) to ease your menopause symptoms. This is because some HRTs use an influx of the hormone progestin to replace the oestrogen and progesterone your body loses. Introducing this hormone to your system can cause your skin to break out.
In most cases, prescription medication can clear up menopausal acne.
Some women find success using natural treatment methods. There are a number of actions you can take to try to counteract menopausal acne.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Women who participate in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) often cite an improved complexion as one of its benefits. Supplemental oestrogen provided by HRT not only helps your skin retain the elasticity and softness of its younger days, but it can also help ward off blemishes and acne. On the other hand, in some women, HRT may actually trigger an acne problem. It is rare for doctors to prescribe hormones for dermatological issues alone, as HRT is typically undertaken to address menopausal symptoms. Furthermore, any potential dermatological benefits are highly unlikely to outweigh HRT’s significant risk factors, including those for heart disease, stroke and breast cancer.
- Topical treatments.
Skin-care specialists often recommend over-the-counter topical medications such as benzoyl peroxide to target blemishes and/or a topical antimicrobial gel, like the prescription antibiotic erythromycin (Benzamycin) to combat acne-causing bacteria. It is important in this phase to keep your skin and pores clean to prevent the excess of sebum that causes infections. Retinoids, a vitamin-A derivative, are another effective type of topical medications prescribed to help treat blackheads or small blemishes.
Keep in mind that Retinol increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, so daily sunscreen application is critical when using these products (it is critical anyway for the health of your skin).
- Oral medications
In addition to topical treatments, doctors may also prescribe oral medications such as antibiotics, low-dose oral isotretinoin (an acne treatment commonly known by the brand name Accutane), or spironolactone, an anti-androgen diuretic. But these are stronger treatments for face acne. There are also a number of actions you can take to try preventing or minimize the acne.
Self-Care Strategies for Menopausal Acne
Maintaining a good self-care regimen is necessary for skin health throughout your life, but it is especially important for women experiencing the challenges of delicate skin and breakouts during menopause.
Dermatologists specifically recommend:
- Daily cleansing.
Wash your face twice a day with a gentle, non-drying
cleanser followed by a light moisturizer.
- Gentle approach.
Harsh products and vigorous scrubbing are a definite no-no for mature skin that can be easily irritated or damaged by those treatments.
- No picking.
Squeezing or picking at pimples must be avoided completely since our skin, which becomes more fragile at menopause, may scar more easily and scarring may not go away very easily.
- No tanning.
In addition to proper skin care, women should re-evaluate their cosmetics collection. Oil-based cosmetics can worsen the problems for skin that is already clogged with so much oil due to hormones fluctuation. You should always look for water-based or mineral cosmetics to replace oily products and take extra care to remove all traces of makeup when you wash your face.
You can try some of the MM product range to see if they work with your skin. This MegsMenopause S.W.A.L.K. helps to stimulate the skin’s own natural collagen and hyaluronic acid production helping to improve the elastin and structure. The serum is incredibly lightweight and helps target dry and dull dehydrated skin helping to contribute to a healthier youthful glow.
On top of that, you can use the MM Menoblend to keep your
vitamins level at the right range. This can help all your body function and your skin as well.
Please seek your doctor’s advice if your acne worsens and before starting any medication.