Menopausal Breakouts - Causes and Solutions

Perimenopause is often described as being like puberty in reverse and it can really feel like that when it comes to your mood and your skin. Fluctuating hormones in menopause can trigger the type of  breakouts you may not have experienced since your teenage years. It’s important to know what ingredients and skincare products can help to control breakouts and keep hormonal acne in check

Menopausal Breakouts - Causes and Solutions

Hormonal acne during menopause is very real and it can be very upsetting.  Perimenopause is often described as being like puberty in reverse and it can really feel like that when it comes to your mood and your skin. 

Fluctuating hormones bring on a whole host of skin changes around menopause.  Our skin can seem really confused – dry, tight and dull on the one hand but at the same time prone to sensitivity, inflammation, and the type of hormonal breakouts you may not have experienced since your teenage years.

These skin changes can be uncomfortable and distressing for women, particularly hormonal acne. It’s important to know how to take care of your skin in perimenopause and menopause to help control breakouts.  The good news is with the right approach and skincare regime there are ways to keep menopausal acne in check.


Menopausal acne is characterised by deep tender bumps or cysts mainly around the jawline, mouth and chin.  This is different to the acne experienced in puberty which is usually in oilier areas of the face like the t-zone in the form of blackheads, whiteheads and puss-filled spots. Menopausal acne often occurs with increased facial hair – another tell-tale sign you are dealing with the hormonal skin changes caused by menopause and perimenopause.


Menopausal acne develops for much the same reasons it does in puberty.  Fluctuating hormone levels lead to hormonal imbalance. In menopause, oestrogen levels start to drop, so you have less oestrogen compared with your male hormones (androgens).  Androgens therefore have more of an impact on your body.   Testosterone is the androgen that has the greatest impact on menopausal acne - it can cause your body to produce more sebum (an oil-like substance) which can block pores and trigger breakouts.   

WHAT CAN HELP control hormonal breakouts in menopause?


Cleanse your skin twice a day with a gentle cleanser. Avoid harsh cleansers, soaps or anything too drying.  Avoid over-cleansing as this can dry skin out even more and trigger more oil production making breakouts worse.


The types of product that you used to control acne in puberty aren’t suitable for menopausal skin. An ingredient like salicylic acid (often used in acne control products) is going to dry out your skin far too much.  You need a carefully balanced formulation to deal with menopausal skin which is confused– dry and dull but with acne breakouts at the same time.  Niacinamide is perfect for treating hormonal acne – it has anti-bacterial properties and is super-effective as controlling breakouts over time for clearer, brighter skin.  

Living M Quench & Soothe Serum (£35) is formulated with a blend of niacinamide, three different types of super-hydrator hyaluronic acid and soothing Vitamin B5. It is designed to hydrate menopausal skin, soothe and calm any inflammation whilst controlling hormonal breakouts. It’s ideal for perimenopausal skin that is both dry and blemished at the same time.


Retinol has many benefits for menopausal skin and effectively treating acne is one of them.  Retinoids work at a cellular level to help stimulate cell turnover, reduce inflammation and reduce oil production.  This helps clear pores and keeps skin free of breakouts.  Retinol also works on the outer layer of the skin to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells and oil from pores which prevents spots from forming.  It can also help fade scarring and marks caused by breakouts.

Living M Super A Retinol Sleep Cream (£45) has been especially formulated for the unique needs of menopausal skin

Encapsulated retinol is carried deep into the skin and released while you sleep, targeting cells at a lower level for more noticeable results over time.  Time release technology reduces the risk of irritation often experienced with retinol use like dryness, peeling, redness and irritation. Nourishing ceramides and multi-molecular hyaluronic acid work to strengthen skin’s natural barrier and deliver deep replenishing hydration. Targets wrinkles (we prefer to call them laughter lines), loss of firmness, lack of radiance, uneven skin tone, dark spots and acne.

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