Menopausal acne: all you need to know

According to a recent study, around 85% of us will have acne at some point during our lives. The underlying causes of those flare-ups, whether long or short term, can vary drastically, but stress and hormonal imbalances are by far the most common causes of adult acne.

Women in their 40s and 50s are particularly susceptible to bouts of adult acne. In this blog post, we reveal more about the causes, signs, and treatment options for those experiencing menopausal acne.

What causes menopausal acne?

Menopausal acne is a form of hormonal acne. As with other types of hormonal acne, menopausal acne is caused by an imbalance of hormones.

Oestrogen levels take a dive during menopause due to the natural decline of reproductive hormones and menstruation.

Other hormones, such as testosterone, increase during this period – triggering the production of excess sebum and subsequent skin conditions like acne. This imbalance shows itself in more ways during the perimenopause and menopause phases.

In addition to well-known symptoms like hot flushes, night sweats, fatigue, and low libido, perimenopause and menopause have a profound effect on your skin. My Menopause Doctor explains more about how your skin could change as a result:

“As oestrogen levels reduce during the menopause and perimenopause, your skin can become less mobile and thinner. Low oestrogen levels can result in there being less blood flowing to the epidermis (the upper layer of your skin) and more water lost from your skin – leading to your skin being less hydrated. You may notice that your skin looks tired and develops more fine lines and wrinkles. The skin often loses elasticity and appears less glowing, as hormone levels decline. Your skin can become dry and feel itchy.”

Do I have menopausal acne?

If you are currently experiencing symptoms of perimenopause or menopause, then it is likely that the acne you are suffering from is menopausal acne.

Where pimples, spots and cysts breakout could also point to menopausal acne. Hormonal acne (including breakouts caused by the menopause) tends to make an appearance on the chin and jawline.

Cysts – deeper bumps under the skin’s surface – are also more common than blackheads and whiteheads with menopausal acne. Cysts are more painful and tender, and accumulate over a matter of days or weeks.

Can I prevent or treat menopausal acne?

Whilst menopausal acne can knock your confidence, particularly at an already difficult life stage, it is important to recognise that, like other symptoms, menopausal acne is normal.

That being said, you don’t have to take menopausal acne lying down. There are a number of ways you can manage and relieve menopausal acne symptoms.

Establishing a solid skincare regime is a great starting point, even for those worried about but not yet experiencing menopausal acne. Whatever stage you’re at, you can give your skin the balance and care it needs with the right, natural products. Water-based, fragrance-free, skincare products – like the ones in our Active Range – work best.

Nourish your skin from the inside out with a healthy, balanced diet, and regular exercise too. Whilst exercise won’t cure menopausal acne, it will leave you in a better place to face skin challenges head-on.

Yoga is a beneficial and gentle workout to get stuck into and it’ll work wonders for your body, mind and soul, not to mention your skin. Get started at home with our handy guide.

What about HRT?

HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy is often billed as the most effective way to treat acne during menopause as well as manage other troublesome symptoms. HRT doesn’t work for all, however.

Whilst some menopausal women attribute their clear complexions to HRT, others have found that it exacerbates their acne.

The use of hormone progestogen in most HRTs may replace the oestrogen lost by the body to relieve some symptoms but its introduction has been linked to acne breakouts. With this in mind, exploring the natural methods of managing menopausal acne and other menopause symptoms, like the ones detailed above, is recommended.