Many women will experience acne as an adult at some point during their lives, because, it’s common to have acne outbreaks during pregnancy or right before your period, but it’s also common to get acne after menopause.
Adult acne is a fact of life for many women, and numerous perimenopausal women suffer from acne for which they try several treatments. Most of these treatments do not help, mostly because the majority of the over-the-counter medications are only meant for acne sufferers in their 20s and 30s.
Acne after menopause potentially can indicate a more serious condition, and a post-menopausal woman who suddenly gets acne might have a tumor that secretes hormones in one of her ovaries or in her adrenal gland.
She might also have developed type 2 diabetes, and according to the American Diabetes Association, up to 1/3 of all diabetics suffer from skin complications, including lesions that can look like acne.
The skin produces oil in response to hormonal signals from androgens, and if you have too much androgen in your body, you’ll produce too much oil and get pimples.
At menopause, your levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone drop, which can emphasize the effect of androgens on your system, leading to skin with more oil.
This leads to more clogged pores, which in turn leads to more pimples and bacterial infection.
Trigger Factors Of Acne After Menopause:
Fluctuating hormones lead to various negative effects on the aging skin. It has been determined that hormonal fluctuations, can lead to acne flare-ups, mood swings, food cravings and so on.
Declining sexual activity and frequency are also the result of hormones called androgens which lead to all kinds of aging effects on the various organs of the body and overall health in both pre and postmenopausal women.
Change in Medications
Another reason for acne after menopause is when women stop taking or change their birth control medication. Some of these women do notice clearer skin whereas others tend to get breakouts.
Furthermore, apart from birth control medication, certain other classes of drugs like anti-convulsants, sobriety medication, and corticosteroids can also cause acne.
Most acne sufferers who deal with persistent acne after menopause usually have a parent or sibling who has suffered from acne as well.
Stress is a leading cause of acne after menopause, and it has now been scientifically proven that stress triggers the androgens, namely testosterone, which stimulates more oil production in the hair follicles leading to clogged pores, bacteria build up, and acne outbreaks.
Skin And Hair Cosmetics
Certain products used on the face or even those on the hair tend to cause acne after menopause. It is important to use products that are labeled as non-acnegenic or non-comedogenic to prevent or limit the incidence of acne after menopause.
In the majority of cases, acne after menopause doesn’t indicate any other underlying medical condition. Thus, you can focus on getting your skin clear without worrying about other health concerns, since the main cause is usually hormonal.
It is believed that your first line of treatment might be hormonal. Hormone replacement therapy containing estrogen and progesterone can help to halt acne after menopause.
If you also suffer from other menopausal symptoms, such as mood swings, insomnia, and anxiety, hormone replacement therapy could also be of some help. Unfortunately, recent research indicates that hormone replacement therapy can increase one’s risk of heart disease.
Dermatologists also prescribe spironolactone, a diuretic with anti-androgen properties, for acne after menopause. The drug causes menstrual irregularities in many women who still menstruate and also can cause you to dehydrate. However, an eight-year study published in 2002 in the Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery suggested that spironolactone can be safely used to treat acne after menopause.
Estrogen can also help restore overall health and well-being for women, and testosterone therapy is another widely accepted treatment for acne after menopause.
Testosterone therapy is, however, not used in the United States, but can be administered in the form of trans-dermal skin creams or implants but never in the oral form. A combination of methyl-testosterone and estrogen has also been used in the US for treating acne in women.
Topical Creams for Acne
Many dermatologists prescribe antibiotic gels like Erythromycin or Clindamycin as well as vitamin A derivatives like Retinol-A or benzoyl peroxide creams for acne and acne blemishes as treatments for acne after menopause. However, many of these skin creams are drying and can even increase the skin’s sensitivity to UV of the sun.
What you eat is also very important for preventing acne after menopause, and you must ensure drinking enough water daily and focusing on a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and omega 3 essential fatty acids. Daily exercise is also recommended to help reduce stress which is the main trigger of acne after menopause.