Acne During Menopause: Causes and Solutions

by Melissa R.
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acne and menopause

At some point in their lives, almost every woman will suffer from acne in one form or another. For many, this will happen during the teenage years. But for some women, acne can continue well into adulthood—and even into menopause (I have been blessed with this version). If you're one of the unlucky few who suffer from menopausal acne, there are things you can do to manage your breakouts and get your skin looking clear and radiant again.

What Causes Menopausal Acne?

Before we talk about how to treat menopausal acne, it's important to understand what causes it. Acne is caused by a combination of factors, including hormones, bacteria, and inflammation. And during menopause, all three of these factors can come into play.

Hormones

During menopause, levels of the hormone estrogen begin to decline. This decrease in estrogen can cause an increase in testosterone, which can lead to an increase in sebum production. Sebum is an oily substance that helps keep your skin moisturized. But too much sebum can clog pores and lead to breakouts.

Bacteria

There are tiny creatures living on your skin called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes for short). These bacteria feed on sebum and cause inflammation. The inflammation manifests itself as redness, swelling, and pimples.

Inflammation

Inflammation is the body's natural response to infection or injury. When P. acnes bacteria invade your pores and start feasting on sebum, your body responds by sending white blood cells to the area to fight off the infection. This process causes inflammation, which can lead to redness, swelling, and pimples.

How to Treat Menopausal Acne

Now that we know what causes menopausal acne, let's talk about how to treat it. There are a number of things you can do to manage your breakouts and get your skin looking clear and radiant again.

Change Your Diet

Eating a healthy diet is important for overall health—but it's also important for skin health. A diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats can help reduce inflammation and keep hormones in balance. Avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of dairy can also help reduce breakouts.

Use Gentle Skincare Products

When you're dealing with acne-prone skin, it's important to use gentle skincare products that won't aggravate your skin or make breakouts worse. Look for products that are non-comedogenic (meaning they won't clog pores) and oil-free (meaning they won't add fuel to the fire by increasing sebum production).

Best Skin Care Products for Menopausal Acne

If you're in your 40s or 50s and suddenly find yourself dealing with acne for the first time since your teenage years, you're not alone. Many women experience a resurgence of acne during menopause, thanks to the hormonal changes that come with this stage of life. But don't despair—there are plenty of products out there that can help you get your skin back under control. Let's take a look at some of the best products for menopausal acne.

The Best Face Wash for Menopausal Acne

One of the most important steps in any skincare routine is cleansing, and this is especially true when it comes to acne-prone skin. Look for a cleanser that contains active ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which are both great at fighting pimples. You should also make sure to avoid harsh detergents and sulfates, which can strip the skin of its natural oils and make acne worse.

Top picks to help fight menopausal acne:
Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser

Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser

Introducing the Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser - your new secret weapon for brighter, more even-toned skin. This exfoliating face wash contains AHAs that deep clean and refine uneven texture and tone, giving you a radiant complexion. It's also gentle enough to use 1-3 times a week, making it perfect for those with sensitive skin. So ditch the harsh scrubs and switch to the Glycolic Cleanser for a softer, smoother, and brighter look.
$16.00

AMAZON

Vichy Normaderm Phytoaction Daily Deep Cleansing Gel

Vichy Normaderm Phytoaction Daily Deep Cleansing Gel

Wash away acne-causing dirt and oil with Vichy Normaderm Phytoaction Daily Deep Cleansing Gel. This refreshing gel face wash deep cleans pores and helps to control excess oil production. Salicylic acid eliminates blackheads and prevents new ones from forming, while patented technology helps to soothe and calm the skin. Skin is left feeling clean, refreshed, and looking visibly healthier.
$18.00

AMAZON

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Facial Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Facial Cleanser

Looking for a medicated face cleanser that can help reduce excess surface oil and clear breakouts? Look no further than La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Facial Cleanser! This acne wash is formulated with 2% Salicylic Acid and is clinically tested to reduce excess surface oil by up to 47%. Plus, it's dermatologist tested so you know it's gentle enough for everyday use. Simply massage onto wet skin in a circular motion, avoiding the eye area. Rinse thoroughly and apply Effaclar Mat Moisturizer after for best results.
$16.00

AMAZON

Menopause and Acne Rosacea

As many women know, menopause is a difficult time characterized by a wide range of physical and emotional changes. For some, acne rosacea can be one of the most challenging symptoms to manage. This type of acne is characterized by red, often inflamed blemishes on the skin, typically around the cheeks and nose.

Although there are many different factors that contribute to acne rosacea, there is some evidence that hormonal fluctuations play a role as well. During menopause, fluctuating estrogen levels can trigger increased levels of inflammation in the skin and exacerbate existing cases of acne rosacea.

Is Acne Common in Perimenopause

Yes, acne is a common symptom of perimenopause. During this transitional period, many hormonal changes are taking place in the body as it prepares for menopause. As a result, women may experience fluctuations in their skin and sebum production, which can lead to an increased risk of developing acne. Other factors that can contribute to acne during perimenopause include stress and diet.

Can Low Estrogen Cause Acne?

Estrogen is a hormone that's present in both men and women, but women have much higher levels of it. Estrogen plays a role in many different bodily functions, including the reproductive system, bone health, and brain function. But did you know that it also affects the skin?

Some studies have shown that estrogen can help keep the skin hydrated and elastic. It does this by increasing levels of collagen, which is a protein that helps keep skin looking young and healthy. Estrogen also helps regulate the production of sebum, which is an oily substance that keeps skin moisturized. Too much sebum can lead to clogged pores and breakouts, but too little can make skin dry and flaky. So, it's important to strike a balance.

How Does Low Estrogen Cause Acne?

Now that we know how estrogen affects the skin, let's talk about how low estrogen levels can cause acne. When estrogen levels dip, it can cause an increase in testosterone. And since testosterone is also present in both men and women, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, too much testosterone can lead to an increase in sebum production, which as we mentioned before, can clog pores and cause breakouts.

What's more, low estrogen levels can also disrupt your sleep cycle. We all know how important a good night's sleep is for our overall health, but did you know that it's also crucial for clear skin? That's because when we're sleep-deprived, our bodies produce more cortisol—a stress hormone that can trigger inflammation and lead to breakouts. So if you're not getting enough shut-eye, that could be another reason why you're seeing more pimples than usual.

How Long Does Menopausal Acne Last

The answer to this question depends on the individual woman. For some women, menopausal acne may only last for a few months or even just a few weeks. However, for other women, menopausal acne may last for years—or even indefinitely in some cases. If your menopausal acne is mild and only occurs sporadically, you may be able to treat it at home with over-the-counter solutions like salicylic acid cleansers or benzoyl peroxide spot treatments. However, if your menopausal acne is moderate to severe or if home treatments aren't working, it's best to see a dermatologist for professional treatment options.

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