Menopause and Breakouts

Spots – you probably thought you’d left them behind in your teen years.  The hormonal fluctuations of menopause bring a whole host of skin changes – as well as becoming drier, duller and more sensitive , skin also becomes prone to hormonal breakouts. No fun at any age. The good news is there are ways to keep menopausal acne in check with the right approach and skincare regime.

Menopause and Breakouts

They say the menopause is like puberty in reverse and it can certainly feel like that when it comes to your mood and your skin. 

Fluctuating hormones bring on a whole host of skin changes and it can often feel as if your complexion has changed overnight.  Our skin in menopause 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. The skin changes experienced in menopause 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.

How do I Know if I have Menopausal Acne?

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.

What Causes Menopausal Acne?

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?

Wash your face gently. 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.

Use the right skincare ingredients & products. 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.  Ingredients like Niacinamide have anti-bacterial properties and are super-effective as controlling breakouts over time for clearer, brighter skin.  Living M Quench & Soothe Serum 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.
Use make up that is water-based and oil free. Go make up free if you can to give your complexion a rest.  If you do use make up, make sure its water-based and oil free.
Don’t pick spots. As difficult as it is, avoid picking spots as this can aggravate them and lead to scarring. Skin is thinner and weaker in menopause and likely to scar more easily.
Avoid stress. Stress is known to be a trigger for hormonal breakouts so try and look for ways to minimise stress in your life – easier said than done we know!  An inside/outside approach is needed in perimenopause and menopause.  Yoga, meditation and mindfulness are all excellent ways to unwind and reduce stress. Sometimes just allowing yourself a bit of me time is all it takes to bring stress levels down.  Taking a bath, reading a book, going for a walk, watching TV – whatever it takes to put your self first for a while and switch off.

The menopause is inevitable for all of us but hormonal acne doesn’t have to be – with the right skincare and approach.