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What is Menopausal Acne and How to Treat

A guide to treating Menopausal skin with top tips from a Dermatologist

Dr Justine Kluk
Written byDr Justine KlukConsultant Dermatologist & Scientific Advisor to Renude
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Under review from Renude’s scientific advisor and consultant dermatologist Dr. Justine KlukPippa Harman, cosmetic scientist and Renude co-founder has put together a comprehensive introduction to and recommendations for menopausal skincare.

What is Menopausal Acne?

Acne is the result of increased sebum (oil) production combined with a build-up of dead skin cells lining the pores. This causes a blockage which triggers skin inflammation. 

The two most important influences on acne development are our family history and our hormones. The most common time to develop acne is during puberty when the production of sex hormones called androgens is increasing rapidly. 90% of teens develop acne due to these hormone changes. Rates of acne do decrease over time, however, half of the women in their twenties still have acne, a third in their thirties and a quarter in their forties. me

Other stages of life associated with big hormonal shifts are fertility treatments, pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause. Acne flare-ups are common during all of these times. Sometimes the skin issues are due to the hormone changes directly, and sometimes they are due to treatments prescribed.

What does Menopausal Acne look like?

In adult females, acne tends to occur on the lower part of the face, especially the chin, the lower cheeks, the jawline and the neck. It is often inflammatory, meaning there is likely to be a mix of acne papules (red bumps) and nodules or cysts (larger, deeper dome-shaped swellings). There may also be variable amounts of post-inflammatory erythema, hyperpigmentation and scarring. Women with acne during perimenopause and menopause may not feel that their skin is particularly greasy.

What can I do to Treat Menopausal Acne at Home? 

It depends on how severe it is. If there are multiple spots, if they are deeper, more tender nodules and cysts rather than small surface spots, and if they are leaving scars and marks or affecting your mental health, then you should discuss this with your doctor (a GP or a dermatologist).  If the acne is milder, or the predominant changes you notice are increased bumpiness, congestion or blackheads, it may be appropriate to start by looking at your skincare routine first. 

Having a consistent routine is very important. Cleansing the skin twice a day, removing makeup at night time, and using a non-comedogenic moisturiser and sunscreen is key. 

Targeted active ingredients that might be helpful in addition to this include topical retinoids, particularly retinaldehyde. Other helpful ingredients include salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic or lactic acid), niacinamide or azelaic acid. 

How long does Menopausal Acne last?

For some women, menopausal acne may only last for a few months, while for others it may persist for several years during the menopause transition. Once menopause is complete, and hormone levels stabilise again, the acne may improve or resolve on its own.

It's important to note that individual factors such as genetics, overall health, lifestyle choices, and skincare habits can influence the severity and duration of menopausal acne. The right skincare routine can often greatly help to mitigate menopausal acne. Getting personalised guidance about the different options that might be suitable for your skin from an aesthetician - like our team of experts at Renude - can make this journey a lot less stressful and confusing.

What other effects does Menopause have on the Skin?

As well as breakouts and blemishes, the shift in hormones during perimenopause and menopause can cause some other typical changes.

The first is loss of hydration in the skin. Our own levels of hyaluronic acid reduce over time which means we can struggle to hang onto moisture. Our skin is likely to become less plump and bouncy and may start to look and feel dry, rough or dull.

Our collagen and elastin levels will reduce too. These are proteins in the skin that keep it firm, smooth and springy when we are younger. As a result of these decreases, the skin develops more lines and wrinkles gradually over time, and we may also start to notice some sagging.

Cumulative sun exposure from earlier on in life can result in dark spots, freckles, visible blood vessels and uneven skin tone.

How would you address these issues? 

The number one tool to help prevent wrinkles and discolouration is sunscreen, which should be applied every morning in spring and summer. I would go for the broadest protection you can find so look for sunscreens that protect against UVB (ideally SPF30 or higher), UVA and high-energy visible light. 

Secondly, add collagen-boosting ingredients to the skincare routine. The gold standard here would be a retinoid used at night time.

Other ingredients that can increase hydration and boost collagn are peptides. A peptide-containing en in the skieye cream or a peptide-containing moisturiser often works well alongside an evening retinoid cream for the face a ollagn are peptides. A peptide-containing  n ollagn are peptides. A peptide-containing  d neck. For those who don't tolerate retinoids well, alpha hydroxy acids are another option for boosting collagen in the skin and improving smoothness and discolouration.

If you are experiencing menopausal symptoms such as acne, dryness, dark spots and wrinkles, let us help put together a personalised skincare routine for you. Take our two-minute skin quiz and book a free consultation with one of our experienced aestheticians. 

Dr Justine KlukConsultant Dermatologist & Scientific Advisor to Renude
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