More menopausal women than teenagers – around 10% – suffer from acne.
Acne during menopause – or hormonal acne as it is known and consists of blackheads, whiteheads and small pustules, is yet another of the many symptoms of menopause that is once again due to our potty hormones.
Blame The Hormones
Our hormone levels fluctuate in much the same way as a teenager’s hormones fluctuate at puberty, but while one woman will suffer with no menopause acne whatsoever, another will be covered with blemishes on her face, back and chest. Actually, acne menopause and breakouts amongst middle aged women is quite common. And you thought the days of trying to disguise your spots with make up had long gone!
What Causes Acne During Menopause?
Apart from disruptive hormones, Hormone Therapy has been known to trigger breakouts. HRT works by trying to rebalance the body`s hormones and by doing so, it sometimes causes acne to surface. On the other side, some women find that HRT actually cures their menopausal acne. Trial and error will determine which applies to you.
Our skin has its own bacteria that lives off oil. When this gets caught underneath the skin, both the bacteria and oil create the awful whitehead, which is an inflamed area on the face that collects white puss. With a blackhead, bacteria and oil are also trapped below the skin’s surface but in this case, they open partially causing the mass to turn black because of the presence of melanin.
Does Stress Make Acne Worse?
With acne during menopause, estrogen levels are increased during the early stages of menopause, which then converts into testosterone. This enables the glands to produce even more oil that consequently results in even more breakouts. Thus creating a stressful cycle ….but wait….stress can make acne worse! It stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol and an androgen called DHEAS, which also stimulate the glands of the skin to produce more oil. Another good reason not to become anxious!
Menopause acne can be very upsetting and cause great anxiety(see menopause anxiety for more information on this). Along with the other side effects of menopause, it’s just one more thing you don’t need to deal with. Fortunately, by getting your hormones back in balance and reducing your stress levels, you can understand the causes of acne during menopause and prevent future breakouts. Try practising relaxation techniques or treat yourself to a massage in order to keep your stress levels in check.
Would Extra Cleansing Help?
It is a not true to say that acne is caused because people fail to wash their faces often enough. Too much cleansing or scrubbing the skin harshly can make acne worse.. The best way to clean the face is to gently wash it twice daily using a mild cleanser. Be careful to remove make-up without harsh scrubbing.
As we mature, our epidermis does not renew itself as quickly as when we were young and so our pores can easily become blocked with dead skin cells. While I recommend gently exfoliation a couple of times per week, don`t be tempted to overdo it as you can easily damage your skin and end up with unsightly red blotches – as well as your blemishes!
You may need to change your moisturizer as some on the market are notorious for blocking pores. You should be looking for one that contains as few colors and chemicals as possible, but still nourishes and moisturises older skins.
- I`m assuming that you diet is healthy and you`re drinking plenty of water.
- Lose body fat – excess increases your hormone levels.
- Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties and is useful for dabbing over spots and pimples.
- Mature skin, such as at the time of menopause, is able to tolerate anti blemish ingredients such as retinoids and benzoyl peroxide. But when skin is also thinner and lacking in moisture, it is far better to use a product that contains retinol. This will help unblock clogged pores and also stimulate collagen production. Antiobiotics such as minocycline and doxycycline may also be prescribed.
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Of course, it goes without saying, that no matter how tempting, don’t pick or squeeze your spots because you can cause infection and the skin will certainly become red. Ensure that your diet has adequate quantities of calcium and fiber and also keep the amount of fat to a sensible level. Carbohydrates convert into insulin that then produce androgens that increase the skin’s oil production, so keeping carb consumption to the recommended level is another good strategy. Finally, make sure you drink a minimum of eight glasses of lovely, refreshing water every day and keep that acne menopause at bay.
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