Why Does Menopause Change Our Skin?

July 31, 2022

healthy middle aged lady at the gym

The fact that menopause is a natural state in a woman’s life doesn’t make dealing with unpleasant menopausal symptoms any easier.  Many women are happy to say goodbye to their monthly period, but not so welcoming of the effects brought on by dramatic hormone changes.  Wild hot-flashes, relationship-altering mood swings, weight gain, thinning hair, desert-dry and wrinkly skin and the sex drive of a pebble are a few of the challenges women face when estrogen levels plunge. For those in this demographic, these symptoms will sound familiar, and for many, the effects on the skin top the chart for most disliked and most difficult to resolve.

As a woman reaches menopause, there are significant changes in the body’s hormone production – luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and estrogen levels change so significantly that they can deeply affect the way a woman feels and looks.

Hormones are messengers in the human body, and they travel to precise locations to initiate, cease, speed up, or slow down specific functional activity. For example, estrogen and progesterone are hormones largely involved with sexual functions, but the presence of these hormones can also improve general health. The drop in the level of these hormones not only stops a woman’s monthly cycle but will also set off many more physiological changes in a woman's body.

Although many symptoms of menopause are felt internally, numerous women notice sudden and serious effects on their skin.

Skin is the largest and the most visible organ of the human body. During menopause, the female skin undergoes tremendous changes. The decline of estrogen levels in the body decreases the water-holding ability (moisture), and elasticity of the skin which results in dryness, itching, appearance of wrinkles and loss of skin tone.

So why does the skin change with the drop in estrogen levels?

  1. Estrogen is one of the essential hormones that stimulates the production of collagen. Collagen is a key protein in the skin, and it’s responsible for maintaining skin thickness, firmness, and elasticity. When estrogen levels drop, women see a corresponding decline in collagen levels. Reduced collagen makes skin thinner and more prone to wrinkles. In fact, almost one-third of collagen is lost during the first five years of menopause.  Fortunately, after that, collagen decline slows significantly.
  2. Low levels of estrogen also decrease the blood flow through dermal capillaries. As a result, skin surface - especially epidermal layers - receive less nutrients and the cell turnover rate slows down. This reduced nutrient delivery and contributes further to the thinning of the outer layer of skin. A thinner epidermal layer can make skin appear crepey and makes fine lines more prominent.
  3. The epidermal layer is designed to keep external elements away from inner tissues. Thinning of the epidermis allows greater exposure of skin to irritants, UV rays, chemicals, and environmental pollutants. Therefore, sunburns, skin allergies and irritation become a more severe problem. Hyperpigmentation and discoloration are more visible, and skin is less hydrated leaving skin itchy and extremely delicate.
  4. It’s also important to recognize that reduced collagen levels will influence the way your skin heals. Collagen is not only helpful in maintaining skin elasticity but is responsible for wound healing. Declining estrogen and collagen levels means the ability of skin to heal wounds is also impaired.

There’s no silver bullet where menopause is concerned and there are many products and treatments out there that have the goal of improving collagen levels in skin.  Dermatology and Medi-clinics offer a huge array of laser treatments and radio-frequency heating which focus on stimulating your body’s collagen production to create a better skin appearance.

Over the past 5 years, many people have chosen to increase the entire body’s collagen levels by taking high-quality collagen supplements.  Collagen supplements are special chains of amino acids called peptides.  These peptides work to improve the performance of all the body’s collagen-producing cells - the body actually has a number of types of special cells produces that produce 28 different types of collagen.  Type 1 collagen is the most prevalent in the body and accounts for about 90% of all the collagen the body produces.  When one chooses a high-quality marine collagen, with a small molecule size, the body’s ability to produce all 28 types of collagen is enhanced.  This not only builds collagen in the skin, but also rejuvenates joint tissues, reduces joint pain, builds strong finger nails and improves hair health.

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