Best Skincare Recommendations for Menopausal Skin

Dermatologist and skincare scientists reviewed menopausal skincare tips

Under review from Renude’s scientific advisor and consultant dermatologist Dr. Justine Kluk and cosmetic scientist and Renude co-founder Pippa Harman, skincare expert Thom Watson has has put together a comprehensive introduction to and recommendations for menopausal skincare.

Introduction

Every brand out there wants to sell you their best wonder-product for menopausal skin, in purple packaging, surrounded by buzzwords such as ‘firmness’, ‘lifting’ and ‘wrinkle reducing’ with models who are never the right age and always the exceptions to the rule. So, what do you do?

Well, you go to the beauty hall where 20-somethings believe wrinkles and sagging are tantamount to a war crime and are just not trained beyond simple skin function and concerns. Or, you read the magazines who are paid – or at least incentivised – to feature certain brands or products for ad revenue. Then you end up on Facebook groups that quickly descend into olive oil and crystals and push best opinion over best practice.

What does Menopause do to the skin?

Several studies have shown that oestrogens have important beneficial and protective roles in skin physiology, for example they can help promote wound healing.

Hypoestrogenism, or decreased oestrogen levels, due to menopause speeds up the process of ‘skin ageing’ (Stevenson and Thornton, 2007). It does this by accelerating age-related skin thinning, it increases the number and depth of wrinkles, increases skin dryness, and decreases skin firmness and elasticity (Brincat, 2000).

It is important to note that menopause isn’t solely responsible for lines and wrinkles. Solar UV radiation accounts for 80% of skin ageing and the damaging effects of the sun become more and more visible as we get older (Amaro-Ortiz et al., 2014). So, during menopause you may be contending with changes to your skin from both the sun and a shift in your hormones.

Menopausal Acne

Sebum levels decrease gradually during menopause for most females, which is why rates of acne are typically lower than in adolescence or the twenties and thirties. That said, onset of acne is a fairly common issue during menopause. Any dramatic change to your body, particularly changes in your hormones, can trigger spots and blemishes; just as changes in the season and weather can.

Acne expert Dr Justine Kluk likes:

Not all menopausal skin is the same

It is difficult to predict in advance how one’s skin might change during menopause and there is no one size fits all solution that works for everyone. For example:

  • Someone with oily skin before menopause onset may notice their skin becomes much more dry; other times the oiliness might continue.
  • If you had concerns with redness or rosacea prior to menopause, those concerns will likely still need considering.

This is why universal ‘menopause’ products do not make sense for many people and are often a branding and marketing gimmick.

Our recommendation disclaimer

Building your own routine by piecing together snippets of articles online is time-consuming and not a sure-fire option that’s highly-likely to deliver the results you need.

So, if you’ve not heard of Renude before, we’re a UK skincare concierge service that builds and delivers skincare routines that change and develop as your skin does, from trusted brands, delivered by our team of clinical skin experts. The service we offer has no extra cost, you only pay for the products we recommend at RRP and only if you decide you want them (there is no minimum spend.)

Run through our quiz and book a free video consultation with one of our clinical experts and the only commitment is topping up £20 product credit every 3 months to spend on the products you decide to purchase. We cater for all budgets too, with products starting from just £4.

Our team are incredibly versed in menopausal skin through their ongoing clinical experience so seriously, save yourself some time and stress and let us deal with your changing skin for you.

Hydration is key

One major theme with menopausal skin is dryness. This is often associated with itching and sensitivity. Dryness is linked to changes in skin structure, most notably thinning (Vasylyeva et al., 2021). The skin becomes less able to hold onto essential lipids and other molecules associated with hydration and can feel much drier in some cases.

If you’re already moisturising regularly, you might like to consider including a hydrating essence, or serum – or even both if the skin is particularly dehydrated – including a blend of water-retaining ingredients (humectants) such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin and panthenol. These all help draw water to the skin and keep it there. For the best results, apply them to damp skin straight after cleansing:

A moisturiser containing barrier-supporting lipids, such as ceramides, cholesterol and omega fatty acids help to reinforce the skin’s natural barrier, locking moisture into the skin – we do appreciate the humour in talking about cholesterol and water retention as positives by the way! The texture you choose will depend on your overall skin’s needs:

Exfoliation, but doing it right

Regular gentle exfoliation is a great way to keep skin looking its most radiant. Gentle is best, with acid-based toners or cleansers containing Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs), or Alpha Hydroxy acids (AHAs). These ingredients gentle slough away the outer layer of dead skin cells, leaving the skin looking brighter, as well as encouraging cellular renewal at the base of the epidermis. This in turn can speed up the skin’s natural regeneration cycle, which slows with age.

Gentle exfoliating products we love:

Protection

A daily step which absolutely cannot be skipped is sunscreen. Finding a formula that you’re happy to slather on each morning is key. We typically recommend SPF50 as this blocks the highest % of UV rays to offer the maximum protection to the skin. Some people express concern as to whether this can create a vitamin D deficiency, but the current guidance for all UK residents over 5 is to take a vitamin D supplement daily in autumn and winter and to encourage intake of foods rich in vitamin D throughout the year. It is difficult to achieve sufficient vitamin D intake through sunshine alone without increasing the risk of sunburn, so supplementing is the safest way to ensure we’re getting enough.

What makes a great sunscreen?

  • One that protects against UVB, UVA and ideally HEVIS (high energy visible light). HEVIS is particularly important if you have hyperpigmentation, as these wavelengths can make dark patches appear more prominent
  • One that is suitable for your skin tone. Mineral sunscreens may leave a white cast on darker skin tones, there are also certain chemical filters that can make skin appear ashy (don’t worry we’ve mapped this at Renude so we’ll only recommend you sunscreens that will work for your skin)
  • One that has a texture that suits your skin tone and preferences. Love a dewy glow? We’ve got ya. Prefer matte? There are options for you too.

Our top sunscreen picks

References

Amaro-Ortiz, A., Yan, B. and D’Orazio, J. A. (2014) “Ultraviolet Radiation, Aging and the Skin: Prevention of Damage by Topical cAMP Manipulation,” Molecules, vol. 19, no. 5 [Online]. DOI: 10.3390/molecules19056202.

Brincat, M. P. (2000) “Hormone replacement therapy and the skin - PubMed,” Maturitas, vol. 35, no. 2 [Online]. DOI: 10.1016/s0378-5122(00)00097-9.

Khunger, N. and Mehrotra, K. (2019) “Menopausal Acne – Challenges And Solutions,” International Journal of Women’s Health, vol. 11 [Online]. DOI: 10.2147/IJWH.S174292.

Stevenson, S. and Thornton, J. (2007) “Effect of estrogens on skin aging and the potential role of SERMs,” Clinical Interventions in Aging, vol. 2, no. 3 [Online]. DOI: 10.2147/cia.s798.

Vasylyeva, K., Yemchenko, Ya., Bezeha, O., Kameniev, V., Dudchenko, M., Васильєва, К. В., Ємченко, Я. О., Безега, О. В., Каменєв, В. І. and Дудченко, М. О. (2021) Application of hyaluronic acid in skin care of women in perimenopausal and menopausal periods [Online]. Available at http://repository.pdmu.edu.ua/handle/123456789/17206.