Looking after you during menopause isn’t easy. You’ll face some challenges before, during and after menopause with the hormonal fluctuations you experience having the power to influence your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Some symptoms of menopause are more obvious than others. The skin changes during your 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, but it’ll face its most noticeable transformation during those menopausal years. At this time, your skin will get drier, itchier, and more prone to fine lines and wrinkles. You’ll suffer those dreaded hot flashes, whilst acne may also make a very unwelcome return.
Pigmentation problems can surface in menopausal women too. Here we take a closer look at the pigmentation issues commonly faced during menopause and how you can fight back to restore your skin to its former glory.
An introduction to skin pigmentation
Pigmentation dictates the colour of some of our most distinguishing characteristics, such as our skin, hair and eyes. It’s defined by a natural pigment called melanin, a special collection of cells made up of melanocytes and also responsible for defending your skin against harmful UV rays.
The level of melanin your body produces determines just how dark or light the colour of your skin, hair and eyes are. The more melanin you produce, the darker these features are likely to be.
Problems with skin pigmentation
Skin pigmentation issues don’t just affect menopausal women. Due to pigment disorders, injuries and other body changes, your natural skin pigment can become discoloured at any stage of your life, including from birth.
Hyperpigmentation, where the skin becomes darker as the amount of melanin increases, is the most widespread skin pigmentation problem.
Hyperpigmentation shows itself in a variety of ways on the skin and can be triggered by just as many factors. Hyperpigmentation can be caused by age spots, acne scars, birthmarks, pregnancy, sun exposure, laser therapy, or certain types of antibiotics or contraceptive pills.
Hypopigmentation is a little different. In cases of hypopigmentation, melanin levels drop to lighten the colour of the skin dramatically. Depigmentation is the complete loss of pigment in the skin. Caused predominantly by the autoimmune condition vitiligo, the skin turns completely white in some places.
The menopause effect
Although not harmful, pigmentation problems can be difficult to face, especially if their onset is sudden due to hormonal changes.
Hyperpigmentation is particularly common during pregnancy and menopause, with melasma and sunspots just two of the conditions affecting your pigmentation during and after menopause.
Other skin changes during menopause – including thinning and loss of collagen – mean the skin barrier has little defence against pigmentation problems. The influx of stress hormone cortisol can also cause imbalances that can trigger hyperpigmentation.
Treating menopause skin pigmentation
As there is no exact cure for hyperpigmentation, taking steps to prevent the condition is the key, and it all starts with sun safety.
The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) explains more about how protecting your skin from the sun will help to prevent and ease pigmentation problems both now and in the future:
“One of the most important things you can do to prevent melasma worsening is protecting yourself from UV radiation. This means avoiding the sun, wearing a wide-brimmed hat when you are outside and wearing broad-spectrum sun cream (SPF 30 or above, with a high UVA rating). The higher the SPF the more effective it will be. Avoid using sun-tanning beds. Protecting your skin from the sun will also help the below treatments be more effective.”
Your skincare routine should be your second line of defence. The right products are powerful weapons against pigmentation issues.
Our organic face serum is a daily treatment that lightens age spots and evens tone and texture. Whilst our organic hydrating face mask uses intensive skin stimulation, amino acids, and nutrients to improve complexion and tone; even in the face of pigmentation issues.
Image: DUANGJAN J / Shutterstock.com