What Does Menopausal Acne Look Like?
It feels unfair that we have to add menopausal acne to the long list of bodily changes we might expect during perimenopause and menopause. We already know about fatigue, insomnia, night sweats, hot flashes and even unwanted facial hair growth—can't Mother Nature cut us a break?
Sadly, no. But luckily, she doesn't get the final say!
Menopausal and perimenopausal oily skin and acne are treatable at home. There are many options for fighting menopausal acne, including over-the-counter skin treatments, dietary supplements, lifestyle changes and updates to your skincare routine that can help prevent breakouts and support clear, healthy skin during menopause. Keep reading to learn more about what causes menopausal acne and the options for preventative menopausal acne treatment!
What Causes Hormonal Acne?
Hormonal acne at menopause results from decreased estrogen and higher levels of androgens. In our 20s and 30s, we had higher, more stable estrogen levels to keep androgen levels in check, and if we were lucky, acne at bay. (This is why birth control pills with estrogen are known to clear up acne—the estrogen supports clear skin!) Androgens (namely testosterone) stimulate sebum production, so increased androgenic activity during menopause can lead to excess oil and breakouts. Menopausal acne breakouts are commonly found along the jawline and around the mouth and chin, unlike teenage acne (also influenced by hormonal changes), which usually affects the forehead, nose and cheeks.
Menopausal acne can affect both dry and oily skin. Dry skin can be especially prone to breakouts if you're over-cleansing. Washing your face too much causes your skin to produce too much oil, and this excess oil can cause hormonal acne.
The good news is that menopausal acne often clears up once our hormones settle down. Perimenopause and menopause can stress out our skin, but remember that these breakouts are treatable and temporary!
How Can I Treat Menopausal Acne?
Whether you're dealing with dry or oily skin after menopause, you've got options for menopausal acne treatment—you don't have to live with breakouts! Here's how you can fight hormonal acne and oily skin during and after menopause by focusing on whole body wellness:
Stress can contribute to menopausal acne by adding to your body's existing hormonal fluctuations. When we live with elevated stress, our bodies react by producing cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone. Too much cortisol can affect oil production and result in oily skin and menopausal acne.
Practicing self-care is key to minimizing stress and managing the chaos of life. If we don't consciously carve out time for ourselves, it's easy to forget that we need to rest and recharge to feel our best. No matter what self-care looks like for you—a spa day, quiet time alone to read or a solo walk for some fresh air—it's essential to prioritize your inner wellbeing because this impacts your whole body. Check out some of our ideas here on how to recalibrate and fight stress!
Try a Topical Treatment
If you're dealing with perimenopausal oily skin and acne, try adding an over-the-counter retinoid to your full skincare routine to fight oily skin and breakouts! Research shows that topical retinol treatments can fight inflammation and acne in mature skin. Plus, topical retinol helps fight common photoaging signs, like fine lines and wrinkles!
Pro tip: If you have sensitive skin, do a spot test with your retinol product before applying it to your whole face. This will help prevent further skin irritation and redness if retinol doesn't agree with your skin!
Optimize Your Diet
Researchers have found that avoiding refined carbohydrates and sugar can help with breakouts. Talk to your doctor about trying a low glycemic index diet as part of your menopausal acne treatment plan!
Feeding your body the nutrients it needs for healthy, glowing skin is an easy way to fight menopausal acne! Adding probiotics and vitamin supplements formulated specifically for mature skin to your existing skincare routine can help support healthy skin and prevent breakouts.
Our Significant Other Hair, Skin & Nails Supplement is packed with skin-boosting ingredients like vitamin A, biotin and vitamin C—a key building block of the collagen that makes our skin appear healthy and smooth. For an extra boost of marine collagen types I & III for tissue health and wellness from the inside out, check out our Power Within Skin & Scalp Collagen Gummies!
We love to pair our delicious gummy supplements with our You Glow Girl Probiotic Skin Supplement. You Glow Girl contains powerful skin super-boosters like hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to support smoother, brighter-looking skin and rebalances the gut with billions of GI-supporting healthy bacteria!
Avoid Over-Cleansing and Harsh Exfoliating
It's so tempting to reach for the face wash frequently if you're experiencing hormonal acne and oily skin. To support healthy, clear skin, resist this urge! Washing your face too much and using rough exfoliating products can exacerbate menopausal acne by stripping your skin of its natural moisture barrier and causing irritation. This can cause your skin to overcompensate for the lost oil by producing too much sebum, which causes oily skin.
Instead, try cleansing with a non-soap cleanser only at night. Simply splashing your face with cool water in the morning will do the trick! You can also try taking a break from all exfoliating to let your skin heal. But if you love a good exfoliation—and who doesn't?—opt for a gentler chemical exfoliant instead of a rough, physical exfoliant.
Get Plenty of Restful Sleep
Insomnia is a common symptom of perimenopause and menopause, so this might sound like a tall order. But getting plenty of quality, restful sleep can help reduce high cortisol levels, which are linked to sleep cycle disruptions.
Be sure to practice good sleep hygiene: Avoid watching TV or playing on your phone in bed, and avoid caffeine late in the day. Go to bed around the same time each night, make your bedroom as conducive to sleep as possible with comfortable pillows and blankets, and turn the thermostat down. (Science shows we sleep better in colder rooms, regardless of menopausal hot flashes!)
Talk to Your Doctor About Treatment Options
If you've tried different tactics to improve your menopausal acne and nothing has helped, you're not alone. When our hormones fluctuate, it can be hard to pin down how we can best fight acne and other skin issues. Talk to your doctor about your options. Many menopausal acne treatments like prescription-strength retinoids and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help as part of a full skincare routine for oily skin and acne management.
Tell Us: Have you experienced oily skin during or after menopause? Share how you treat menopausal acne and skin changes in the comments below!
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Better Not Younger has probiotics and supplements specifically designed to support mature skin and hair health during perimenopause, menopause and beyond! Let us help you fight menopausal and perimenopausal oily skin and hormonal acne from the inside as part of a whole body approach to wellness in midlife. Reach out to us on Facebook or Instagram if you have any more questions about menopausal acne treatment options or how to support your menopausal skincare routine.