Every woman goes through menopause, a natural process where estrogen levels drop that occurs during middle age. For some, symptoms can be few and easy, as simple as the end to the monthly cycle. For other, however, it can be a difficult time with many symptoms that affect every organ in the body, including the skin. The result of these hormonal changes is dry, sagging skin, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and age spots, hot flashes, and facial hair.
One of the most common symptoms of menopause on the skin is dryness. Because estrogen is decreasing, the skin begins to produce less oil. Dry, dehydrated skin can cause several problems, like flakiness, elasticity loss, changes in texture, and the overall inability to hold the necessary amount of moisture. Dry skin means a build-up of dead skin cells that are peeling off, and can also lead to itchiness, which is another common symptom of menopause. The itchiness may be on the face, arms, legs, and scalp. Various other sensations may be felt, such as numbness, tingling, and a crawling sensation (often paired with itchiness).
Due to the decrease in estrogen, the body allows more testosterone hormone through, which can result in acne and breakouts. Testosterone production can cause the skin to produce a thick sebum that clogs the pores and leads to the formation of microcysts around the mouth, chin, and jawline.
Clients may experience a loss of skin elasticity during menopause, as collagen production slows and fat is redistributed around the face, neck, arms, and hands. This will leave the skin in these areas saggy and more prone to wrinkles.
During this time, skin also becomes more prone to sun damage. Estrogen helps control melanocytes, and when estrogen levels drop, the areas that have been exposed to the sun previously are going to become more noticeable.
As a massage therapist, it is crucial that you are aware of the changes women dealing with menopause face so you can do your absolute best in your massage practice.