The great change, a midlife crisis — no matter what its moniker, menopause brings a significant shift to women’s bodies. The hormonal variations and fluctuations can bring weight gain, vaginal dryness, those famous hot flashes and changes to your skin.
What’s more, a slew of symptoms begin years before you actually hit menopause, which occurs at an average age of 51. “Perimenopause is the transition to menopause, and the hormonal shifts that happen during this time, especially decreasing estrogen levels, can cause the skin to become extremely dry and dull,” says board-certified dermatologist Joyce Park, M.D., founder of Skin Refinery, a virtual dermatology practice. The bright side is that you can prepare for and help combat these complexion issues with a thoughtful approach to skincare. These five adjustments will help keep your skin radiant, hydrated, and healthy not just during menopause, but in the long run.
1. Moisturize more
Estrogen — a key hormonal influencer — assists in the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid (HA), all of which give skin its youthful plumpness. “When hormones are in upheaval and estrogen starts to decline in perimenopause, this accelerates the loss of sebum and hyaluronic acid, natural moisturizing factors that keep the skin barrier strong and supple,” says Dr. Park. It’s essential to choose moisturizers that contain HA, lipids, and ceramides to combat that slackening effect. “No7 Menopause Skincare Nourishing Overnight Cream and the Protect and Hydrate Day Cream are both filled with these, and other excellent moisturizing ingredients,” notes Dr. Park. She adds that the products in this new collection “were co-created with 7,000 menopausal women to help target their most pressing skin concerns.”
2. Infuse the rest of your routine with hydration, too
“You want to incorporate moisture into every step of your skincare regimen, including cleansing,” says Dr. Park. This can further prevent excess dryness. Start with a mild, hydrating face wash that won’t strip your skin and replenishes moisture as you cleanse. Follow with a hydrating serum that contains humectants like hyaluronic acid (try No7 Menopause Skincare Instant Radiance Serum, which also features nourishing lipids and ceramides), and top it off with an emollient cream or lotion to seal in that hydration.
3. Cool down hot flashes
Perhaps the most well-known menopausal symptom, a hot flash can last just a few minutes but feels like your body is burning up from the inside. It is frequently accompanied by lots of sweating. To make matters worse, it can happen when you least expect it. “Lower estrogen levels and other hormonal fluctuations can cause the hypothalamus, your body’s thermometer, to become hypersensitive to anything from your environment to spicy food,” explains Dr. Park. A good rescue item to have on hand is No7 Menopause Skincare Instant Cooling Mist, a refreshing facial mist packed with rosewater, which also helps calm and hydrate.
4. Brighten dull skin
“Skin cell turnover slows down naturally with age, but the decrease of estrogen during menopause makes that process even slower,” says Dr. Park. This can cause a buildup of dry skin that dulls the complexion. To combat that, gently exfoliate a couple of times a week with an AHA product to slough off dead surface cells. It’s also important to incorporate an active ingredient like retinol into your regimen to amp up turnover and help rebuild lost collagen. In addition, Dr. Park recommends looking for formulas that contain antioxidants, such as green tea, vitamin C, and niacinamide to brighten skin while also counteracting UV damage. No7 Menopause Skincare Protect & Hydrate Day Cream contains all three, as well as SPF 30. Further, enhance your glow with the brand’s Instant Radiance Serum to help address the appearance of collagen-depleted skin.
5. Target fine lines and loss of elasticity
“The decline of estrogen decreases the production of collagen and elastin, proteins that are responsible for firm and bouncy skin,” says Dr. Park. To help stimulate the production of both, look for peptide-packed formulas such as No7 Menopause Skincare Nourishing Overnight Cream, Radiance Serum, and Protect & Hydrate Day Cream. They all contain peptide-packed Matrixyl 3000+. “This proprietary peptide technology helps to plump and firm the skin,” says Dr. Park. The products also include soy isoflavones, antioxidant compounds derived from soybean plants. These have been shown to help safely counteract menopausal skin changes caused by declining levels of estrogen, Dr. Park says. Finally, don’t forget about diligent, daily sun protection, which you can also find in the Protect & Hydrate Day Cream.
Shop the No7 Menopause Skincare collection
Gina Way is a writer and editor specializing in beauty, health, and lifestyle content. Her work—from beauty features to celebrity interviews—has been featured in _Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, O The Oprah Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, and Cosmopolitan, among others. She also writes digital content for The Cut, Well + Good, Refinery 29, & Vogue.