If you’ve been wondering whether or not you need a customized skin care routine while going through perimenopause, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”.
Every woman, menopausal or not, needs a routine that addresses her unique skin situation. No one else is exactly like you, so tailoring your approach to your skin’s temperament and needs makes good solid sense.
To begin, try to determine what’s causing your skin distress and then build a routine that fits your style, schedule, and budget.
Your High School Skin Care Routine Just Won’t Meet Your Needs During Perimenopause
If you’re wondering why or if you need a custom skin care routine now that menopause is around the corner, just think back to your teenage years. What was your skin like in 10th grade? Chances are, it was doing battle with your hormones while you were going through puberty, and it may have acted out later again during pregnancy. The skin’s needs vary with the specific circumstances your body is going through.
Sebum and collagen levels fluctuate throughout your life, but those variations become more obvious around menopause. Your skin may be drier and less elastic during perimenopause, but it can also become oiler again after menopause. You may also be noticing that your pores look larger now than they once did. Reduced collagen production and structural weaknesses in the skin tend to make pores look larger than life because lack of collagen makes skin less elastic. And if your time in the sun now shows on your face in the form of dark spots or age spots, it’s time to consider using products that will reduce and/or prevent more of them as well.
With so many variables in play, no one needs to commit to using the same cleanser and moisturizer for life, or even one season for that matter.
Perimenopause Causes Skin Problems You Never Anticipated
Speaking of puberty, remember the unexpected breakouts that showed up on the night of your first big date? Guess what? Perimenopausal hormone fluctuations cause pimples to pop up overnight even on regularly clear skin. During puberty and early adulthood, hormonal acne shows up in the T-zone, including the forehead, nose, and chin. But once perimenopause rolls around, hormonal blemishes show up on the chin or along the jawline – an area often referred to as the hormonal belt.
Here are some other skin problems that can arise:
- Sun damage – Ask any doctor about conditions generally associated with aging, and you’ll likely hear, “It’s not what you did yesterday. It’s what you did 20+ years ago.” High cholesterol in your 40s probably isn’t the result of eating fatty food on a recent vacation. It’s likely caused by the cumulative eating behaviors you’ve had all your life. The same logic applies to sun damage. Perimenopause can bring it to the surface, including excess pigmentation known as “age spots” or a lack of pigmentation called idiopathic guttate hypomelanosis (IGH).
- Skin sensitivity – Skin can become more sensitive during this transitional period partly because thinner skin is easily irritated by friction or skin care ingredients. Beloved products you’ve used for decades may no longer agree with your finicky skin and its evolving needs.
- Existing conditions worsen – Sadly, if you have ongoing skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, vitiligo, or eczema, hormonal fluctuations and hot flashes can make those conditions even worse. As estrogen levels dip, skin doesn’t produce as much sebum, so its moisture levels decline, and dry skin often exacerbates eczema and other conditions.
Consider These Elements When Building Your Personalized Skin Care Routine
An effective skin care routine meets both your skin’s needs and your lifestyle habits. Before integrating a new product, patch test your products below your jawbone or behind your ear to check for skin sensitivity.
You don’t have to follow a defined number of steps, but it’s important to put some thought into what you’re willing to do and what you’re not because a routine is only successful if you can stick to it. Perimenopausal skin care basics include:
- A gentle, effective cleanser;
- A moisturizer to combat dryness; and
- A broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+ to protect fragile, thinning skin from photoaging and sun-related damage.
Using a pH-balanced cleanser instead of bar soap will prevent precious natural oils from being stripped away from skin that’s struggling to produce sebum. You may also want to consult with your dermatologist to discuss estrogen creams because studies show that topical estrogen increases the level of hyaluronic acid (HA) in the skin. Hyaluronic acid production naturally drops off with age, but supplementing it makes skin look more plump by binding water to the skin. Beyond those three products, you can add serums to your custom skin care routine that contain ingredients to target key concerns, like sun damage, white spots, and pigmentation changes.
Your Skin Is Unique; Your Routine Should Be, Too
When creating a custom skin care routine, let your skin be your guide. You’re not defined by your age, and neither is your skin, so don’t fall victim to marketing that relies solely on you having “mature” or “menopausal” skin. If your skin is dry, look for cream-based cleansers, moisturizers, and sunblock products that include the word “hydrating” on the label. Women coping with periodic breakouts, even as oestrogen levels drop, benefit from cleansers containing low concentrations of salicylic acid, which keeps pores clear.Next, choose a moisturizer that suits your skin type. Gel moisturizers work well for combination and oily skin, whereas richer, creamier products are more suited to dry skin. And last but not least, find a sunblock that you love enough to wear every day. Certain SPF products work better for acneic skin or individuals prone to rosacea, so ask your dermatologist for a recommendation.