Question and Answer: Menopause Beauty Issues

Question:  I’m 48  and in menopause.  Because of hot flashes I’m taking extra showers.  Now my skin, especially on  legs and arms  is terribly dry.  Any suggestions?

Answer:   A perfect question for National Menopause Month!  Several showers a day may increase  skin dryness, but its hormonal changes that are also driving the problem.  Between the ages of 45-60, the ovaries no longer release eggs and estrogen levels start to decline.  Estrogen is known to play many roles in the body including  collagen production, blood pressure, metabolism and sleep.  But in your case, its estrogen’s role in oil production that is  the major driver behind your dry skin. Less oil  means that the skin can’t hold onto its natural moisture.  To help restore skin hydration  take shorter showers and while your skin is still damp, slather on a plain unscented moisturizer like Aquaphor.  If the skin stays dry  step it up to a moisturizer fortified with lactic acid ( Am-lactin)  or ceramides (CeraVe Moisturizing Cream).

Dry skin  is not the only beauty issue linked to menopause.  Menopause  thins out the hair on the head and eyebrows only to reappear on the upper lip  and chin.  Menopause related changes in hormones  are again to blame.  This time its the drop in both estrogen and progesterone that  allow  the male  hormone androgen to become more prominent.  Minoxidil  can be helpful for hair loss and lasers  can zap dark facial hairs.  If the  hair is blond or white, you will need electrolysis since lasers are ineffective on  light hairs.

Because lower  estrogen levels are causing so  many menopause related problems,  hormone replacement therapy ( HRT)  may prescribed to treat menopause symptoms.  Please don’t go there.  The Woman’s Health Initiative, started in 1991, set  out to see if  giving  menopausal women  estrogen would reduce  risk of heart disease  and distressing symptoms.  The study was suddenly   suspended in 2001.  The reason?  Results had already shown that HRT  INCREASED risk of heart disease, breast and ovarian cancer and it was not considered ethical to contunue the study.  Since then, HRT use has declined  and     the  incidence and death rates of breast cancer  have also dropped.

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