If you’ve shopped for skin care online or in a store recently, you know there are tons of “anti-aging” products available. While a serum or cream can only do so much, there’s no denying that skin changes with age.

Skin ages for several reasons. Ultraviolet (UV) ray exposure over time breaks down elastin, which can make skin lose its elasticity. Fat under the skin can shrink too, leading to a loss of plumpness or sagging. But another factor in skin changes is menopause.

Read on for more information about menopause and skin, plus what you can do to care for your skin during menopause.

Menopause doesn’t happen overnight. It’s officially defined as going 1 year without a period. While the timing is unique from person to person, it occurs on average at age 51.

This hormonal change causes many side effects, including:

Skin changes during menopause are very common. You may notice that before and during this time, your skin feels dry and thin, or you may begin to see more wrinkles. Some people may experience acne during menopause as a result of hormonal fluctuations.

When the production of hormones estrogen and progesterone rapidly drop off with menopause, most people see it in their skin. The skin may become dry or less plump.

Hot flashes can also cause redness, and changing hormone levels may cause acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, collagen drops 30% in the first 5 years of menopause, then approximately another 2% each year for the next 20 or so years.

It may be frustrating to notice skin changes during menopause, but it’s very typical.

Collagen is what gives skin plumpness and structure. The rapid loss of collagen can lead to fine lines and wrinkles or cause sagging in the cheeks. Dry skin and acne are also common.

Estrogen helps skin produce oil and hold onto water, so extremely dry skin during menopause is common thanks to a drop in this hormone.

Some people will also notice acne as estrogen levels fall and androgen levels remain stable (androgens are male sex hormones, like testosterone), increasing sebum production and causing pores to become blocked.

Menopause is inevitable and healthy for a person with a uterus, but that doesn’t mean they’ll love the side effects, including skin changes.

You may not be able to prevent menopause from taking a toll on your skin, but you can certainly take steps at home to make your skin look its best.

Because one of the main factors in skin aging is sun exposure, it’s essential to wear SPF daily — even when it’s cloudy. To help keep hormonal acne at bay, use a cleanser with salicylic acid. This can penetrate pores and dissolve oil.

Hydration is also important for menopausal skin. It’s likely that your face and body will feel drier than usual, and using a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid may help draw moisture into the skin It’s best to use moisturizers with hyaluronic acid on damp skin so the ingredient can bond with water.

A moisturizer with ceramides can help moisture from escaping, and topping a moisturizer with a facial oil adds even more hydration.

In addition to skin care products, it’s always helpful to eat hydrating foods, drink plenty of water, and try to get quality sleep.

There also appears to be a relation between skin appearance postmenopause and race. In a 2021 study, Black women had fewer wrinkle scores compared with white women 4 years postmenopause.

If the skin changes from menopause are really bothering you and are paired with other symptoms, like vaginal dryness, your doctor may suggest hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

In some cases, if HRT doesn’t seem right, they may recommend an herbal alternative to HRT, like valerian root, or dietary changes that may help balance hormones.

BOTOX treatments may also help minimize the appearance of wrinkles.

If you’re noticing an increase in facial hair as a result of menopause, laser hair removal may be a good option.

Skin care gets more and more advanced all the time, with new formulas and brands popping up. The simplest home remedy for menopausal skin is a good moisturizer. Incorporating pro-aging ingredients, like retinol, vitamin C, glycolic and lactic acids, and of course, SPF will also help.

Also make sure to stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and limit your consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and processed or greasy foods.

Most people will experience side effects of menopause, including skin changes like dryness. Because of the rapid drop in estrogen, changes may be most noticeable during the onset of menopause when collagen production abruptly drops off.

After a few years, skin changes as a result of menopause will feel more gradual.

How do you calm menopausal skin?

Look for products with gentle, soothing ingredients that can help calm skin that feels itchy or inflamed as a result of hormonal changes during menopause.

These ingredients include niacinamide (which helps reduce irritation from other ingredients), hyaluronic acid, and naturally derived ingredients, like green tea, chamomile, or rosehip.

What is perimenopausal skin?

There’s a period prior to menopause called perimenopause. Some people begin to notice skin changes during this time, which usually begins a few years before menopause.

Signs of perimenopause skin changes include:

  • red skin as a result of hot flashes
  • acne from hormonal changes
  • slight sagging of skin in some areas
  • overall dry skin

Does menopausal acne go away?

Acne caused by menopause can be frustrating, especially if you haven’t had a breakout in years. However, in most cases, the acne breakouts go away once hormones level out.

In the meantime, try using products with acne-fighting ingredients, like retinol and salicylic acid.

Menopause is an inevitable part of life for all menstruating people. In addition to hot flashes, fatigue, weight gain, and sometimes irritability and night sweats, skin changes are also common and may include increased hormonal acne, dryness, and thinning or sagging of the skin.