The onset of perimenopause can mean spots, pimples and wrinkles, seemingly overnight! These unwelcome, often painful, acne break-outs are most likely to appear around your chin, jaw, and mouth, but can put in an appearance on your chest and back, too. All of these symptoms can trigger self-consciousness and confidence problems, especially when you have to face them in the office.
Hormonal shifts during perimenopause and menopause can make it your skin’s most challenging time since puberty. Less oestrogen, means less skin-boosting collagen leading to; stiffer joints, dry eyes and wrinkles. Acne breakouts may be caused by the overproduction of the male sex-hormone testosterone and unfortunately, there’s evidence to suggest women who suffered from acne in their teens may be predisposed to it again during menopause.
Notice you bruise more too? Just a minor bump can leave you black and blue. That’s because thinning skin and depleting collagen levels means skin bruises more easily. This mystery-solving discovery for us, means we now carry Arnica supplies everywhere.
And the good news is…. Menopausal acne is generally a temporary condition that goes away once your hormones level out.
The best ways to deal with menopause acne and skin changes A good skin care regime, plus diet and lifestyle changes can make a real difference.
Lifestyle and Wellbeing to help with menopause acne
Maintain a good self-care regime Especially important as you experience the dual challenges of delicate skin and perimenopause acne.
Daily cleansing is essential, wash your face twice a day with a non-drying cleanser followed by a light moisturiser such as Neal's Yard Rehydrating Rose Daily Moisture
Gently does it. Harsh products and vigorous scrubbing are an absolute no-no for mature skin that can be easily irritated or damaged.
Re-evaluate your cosmetic collection. Oil-based products may exacerbate problems. Look for water-based or mineral cosmetics.
Remove all traces of makeup before you go to bed.
What to eat to help with menopause acne
Feed your skin Antioxidants in vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, are key for both healthy, glowing skin and acne prevention.
Vitamin A boosts the immune system, and prevents inflammation associated with menopausal acne. Eat more: spinach, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, dried apricots and mango.
Vitamin C promotes healing, cell growth and tissue repair. Eat more: oranges, grapefruit, kiwis, blueberries, pomegranate, mango, papaya, avocados, red and yellow peppers.
Vitamin E helps to keep your skin young, smooth and free from cell damage. Eat more: almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, avocados, spinach, asparagus, salmon, and vegetable oils including olive and sunflower oils.
Selenium supports the immune and nervous systems and is beneficial for healthy skin. Eat more: Brazil nuts, halibut, sardines, eggs and spinach.
Calcium is vital for healthy bones, teeth and skin. Found in lots of the foods above but also in: figs, edamame, yogurt and cottage cheese.
Plant derived phytoestrogens can aid collagen production. Eat more: quinoa, legumes, chia seeds and leafy greens.
What to avoid to help with menopause acne
Stress break outs Whatever the cause, high stress levels can cause complexion havoc. So find a personal stress-busting activity; a daily dose of mindfulness, deep breathing, walks in the fresh air, exercise and yoga can all help.
Oily hair products Adult acne can be exacerbated by hair styling products. Oils in these products seep out onto the forehead trapping bacteria in your pores, causing inflammation and spots.
Squeezing! However, tempting this may be – don’t do it! You know you shouldn’t. You risk scarring and aggravating the spot by pushing inflammation deeper into the surrounding tissue.
Fad diets Diets that call for you to eat high amounts of animal protein and dairy, rich in saturated fat and hormones, may make your skin condition worse.
Research suggests that a high consumption of dairy and refined carbohydrates (sugary foods and white refined carbs) may contribute. Also a protein called IGF-1, (an insulin like growth factor) stimulates oil production, which clogs follicles. This is intensified by milk and refined high-GI foods. So could it be true that dairy milk chocolate may cause those spots after all?
Be free from free radicals Free radicals, (FRs) whilst sounding like an eighties new wave band, damage and age skin. Sun, smoking, pollution, hormone imbalance, poor diet and stress all speed up FR production. Use a daily moisturiser containing a SPF30 sunscreen, and avoid foods containing additives, artificial sweeteners and trans fats (found in biscuits, cakes and your favourite savoury snacks).
Anti-ageing creams may not be the answer Some women spend a fortune on them; however, research has shown that lipid-rich, anti-ageing products may clog pores and cause menopausal acne. And while younger health bloggers rave about coconut oil and butter, it might be better for youthful or particularly dry skin, as it can block pores in older skin, contributing to acne.
When choosing a moisturiser, look at labels for the words non-comedogenic (non-clogging), Nars, Armani, Vichy and Lancome, are brands to look at.
Whilst we’re talking labels, check products for these ingredients that help treat acne and may help slow down the appearance of wrinkles.
Salicylic acid (gentle exfoliates to unclog pores)
Benzoyl peroxide (drying effect, so just use as a spot-treatment)
Sulphur (draws oil out of skin)
Glycolic acid (exfoliates)
Retinol A (for acne and wrinkles due to its collagen-building properties)
Supplements worth trying for menopause Acne
Think about a daily multivitamin including Vitamin C and zinc, which is good for skin health. Zinc may decrease oil production in your skin, and could protect against bacterial infections and inflammation. Omega-3 fish oil or flaxseed supplement, essential fatty acids may help balance your skin’s oil production.
Magnesium, vitamin B5, and the amino acid L-theanine, which help to combat stress.
Tea Tree Oil has similar effects to acne creams, decreasing oil production and bacteria. Can cause side effects like itching, burning and peeling.
Viridian Clear Skin Complex contain zinc which can contribute to the maintenance of normal skin. Viridien recommend taking it alongside their 100% Clear Skin Omega Oil for best results.
Supplements may cause side effects beyond what is intended (especially in combination with other conditions you may have). Supplements come in different strengths and can interact with other medications and/or have limits on how long they can be taken safely.
When to see your doctor about menopause acne?
Talk to your doctor about topical, anti-bacterial gels medications and gels that can be applied directly to the skin or used as a cleanser.
And then there’s always HRT…
HRT increases oestrogen levels which help skin retain elasticity. It may keep acne and blemishes at bay, but in some cases it can spark acne problems. HRT is typically taken to improve a number of other menopausal symptoms rather than for dermatological issues.