“You get about 15 minutes between pimples and wrinkles. Enjoy it.” – my mom
Turns out, mom was wrong. While we all expect wrinkles with aging, menopause acne can occur or recur for the first time since our teens. Sigh.
Whether it’s prom night or project presentation day, pimples can suck your self-confidence, and no one’s got time for that. So, what’s going on and what do we do about it?
I talked with Dr. David Lortscher, MD, board-certified dermatologist, and creator of Curology. While Dr. Lortscher focuses on individually tailored treatments for acne, he shared with us some information on lifestyle choices that can help women in menopause handle changes in their skin.
As estrogen declines in midlife, so do collagen and elastin, meaning your skin may become thinner, drier, and looser than before. Hence, wrinkles. But estrogen decline also takes with it our skin’s ability to ward off acne, sometimes leading to acne during and even after menopause.
According to Dr. Lortscher, “As women transition into menopause, as at puberty, a relative predominance of androgens (male-type hormones that all women have) is responsible for acne breakouts in some. In general, androgens stimulate oil production and can worsen acne, while estrogens counter that effect.”
As with all things menopausal, there are a variety of treatments ranging from lifestyle changes to over-the-counter or prescription medications, to more significant medical interventions. But many women can control breakouts by making simple changes to diet, getting more sleep, and dealing differently with stress.
Looking for prescription menopause acne treatment? A Gennev menopause-certified gynecologist can give you a trusted opinion, determine if medication is right for you, and they can provide prescription support. Book an appointment with a doctor here.
Other remedies are ones you’ve heard before: sleep more. Stress less. Stop smoking. Hydrate. By doing a combination of all of the above, you have a strong chance of reducing or eliminating midlife acne, and you will certainly be doing good things for your overall health. Plus, spearmint tea tastes really nice.
For those whose acne doesn’t yield to lifestyle changes, you may also want to consider adding over-the-counter remedies to your menopause skin-care regimen: look for creams that include benzoyl peroxide (but use sparingly, as this can further dry your skin) or salicylic acid to unclog pores. Or go another step to a personalized treatment plan. Sometimes hormonal acne treatments can be effective, but do not work for everyone and should be carefully evaluated before going that route. Acne after menopause is often treated in this manner, but to varying results.
Thank you to board-certified dermatologist Dr. David Lortscher, MD and creator of Curology.
The information on the Gennev site is never meant to replace the care of a qualified medical professional. Hormonal shifts throughout menopause can prompt a lot of changes in your body, and simply assuming something is “just menopause” can leave you vulnerable to other possible causes. Always consult with your physician or schedule an appointment with one of Gennev's telemedicine doctors before beginning any new treatment or therapy.