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This is what happens to your skin leading up to the menopause

Discover the many skin conditions you could encounter once perimenopause hits, plus how to treat them

You may well be surprised to hear that your skin will also go through a plethora of changes as you near menopause, meaning it’s not just tiredness, night sweats, irritability and hot flushes that you’ll have to get accustomed to. And if that wasn’t enough of a surprise you may well be shocked to hear that all the hormonal changes associated with the menopause can start as early as your mid 30s when perimenopause can set in. 

Perimenopause means ‘around menopause’ and is the term used to describe the progression from having periods towards their permanent cessation. During this time of transition, the body’s production of oestrogen fluctuates and then ultimately falls, leading to a host of changes to your skin,” explains consultant dermatologist Justine Kluk.

To discover exactly what changes you can expect and how best to treat them keep reading...


“Lower oestrogen, results in a quicker decline of collagen and lower concentration of natural skin hydrators like hyaluronic acid,” explains Kluk. Over time this leads to the loss of strength and suppleness, leaving skin far thinner than it once was.

This then leads to slackening of the skin which increases sagging and contributes to jowl formation, while the thinner it becomes the more translucent it appears leaving you looking gaunt and ghostly.

To reduce the rate of collagen loss and boost collagen production Kluk recommends adding a peptide packed product into your regime. These clever amino acids trick the skin into repair mode, boosting collagen production to thicken and lift.


Heightened skin sensitivity is reported in many women during the perimenopause, as lower levels of hydration, and a reduction in blood flow can exacerbate existing skin conditions, such as eczema and rosacea, and give rise to dryness, flaking, itching, tingling and rashes.

Sensitised skins should avoid harsh cleansers with skin drying surfactants – that’s the stuff that makes your face wash foam up – and “opt for gentle pH balancing varieties infused with ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid or squalene to soothe and hydrate the skin,” says Kluk.

Dark spots

Have you noticed blotchy brown or grey pigment across your forehead, cheeks, bridge of the nose, chin or upper lip? Then the hormonal shifts you’re experiencing have triggered a dose of melasma.

A form of hyperpigmentation that is thought to be triggered by a combination of hormones and exposure to sunlight, melasma is common amongst women in the final stages of perimenopause who have begun to take HRT.

“Protecting exposed skin with a broad spectrum SPF30 or higher is paramount, while ingredients like azelaic acid can help lighten the skin thanks to their ability to destroy the skin cells that produce melanin,” shares Kluk.


If your teenage acne subsided once you hit your 20s, you probably never thought spots would ever be an issue again. Unfortunately, the drop in oestrogen and the increase in androgen hormones like testosterone can lead to breakouts during this time too.

“This is because our sebaceous glands can become overly stimulated and begin to produce too much sebum. The oil mixes with dead skin cells, blocking pores and triggering a combination of blackheads as well as red, inflamed pimples,” says Kluk.

Add some exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids BHAs) into your skincare regime, as these will rid pores of oil and dead skin cells to keep spots at bay. Niacinamide is also a great at reducing oil production and helps regulate oil secretion too, making it an ideal addition to your arsenal.

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