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Menopause: signs, symptoms and skincare

How menopause impacts the skin and some simple ways to adapt your skincare routine.


Menopause and perimenopause can impact women in very personal and individual ways. As oestrogen and progesterone hormones fluctuate, symptoms such as varying body temperature and a shift in mood are some of the common side effects.

Another symptom, which often goes under the radar, is the impact that menopause has on skin. Many women experience an accelerated loss of collagen and elasticity. And skin can become dry, tight and uncomfortable. So, establishing a good skincare routine, and using products that are backed by research, to help tackle these issues is important.

We spoke to Dr. Caoimhe Hartley, General Practitioner, Menopause Specialist and founder of Menopause Health, to discuss the fundamental signs of menopause and delve deeper into adapting your skincare routine during this time.

"Menopause is the term used to describe the final menstrual period", Dr Hartley explains. "When our periods stop, there is a loss of reproductive function, and our ovaries no longer produce an important hormone called oestrogen.

"Perimenopause is how we describe the time leading up to this final period when the production of oestrogen fluctuates. This may be associated with a change in how regular or how heavy our periods are. Perimenopause starts on average at 45 years old, and menopause is typically aged 50/51, but there is a lot of individuality."

According to Dr Hartley, there are several key symptoms to look out for during the early stages of perimenopause. "During perimenopause, oestrogen levels can swing from low to high. This can lead to hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and changes in mood. The menstrual cycle may also become less regular."


Dr. Caoimhe Hartley

Dr. Caoimhe Hartley

Dr. Caoimhe Hartley


During menopause, changes like skin thinning, microcirculation disorders, degradation of collagen and elastic fibres and decreased sebum secretion become more noticeable.

Dr Hartley explains that this is all down to hormonal fluctuation.

"During this time, the hormonal variations that occur can trigger profound variations in the skin as collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid synthesis slows down. This causes the skin to become drier and lose both firmness and density, leading to the appearance of wrinkles and uneven skin tone, as well as loss of radiance.

"Oestrogen levels decrease while Cortisol levels increase. These hormonal variations accelerate multiple signs of ageing with skin around the eyes thinning and fine lines appearing more prominent around the eye and lip contours."

So what can we do about it? The good news is that there are several ways to help our skin during this process. And creating a daily skincare routine is a great place to start.

"It's important to have a good routine", says Dr Hartley. "This includes using products which will hydrate the skin and products containing SPF to protect from sun damage."

While everyone's skin is different, and we need to tailor our routines to suit our individual needs, some tips to consider adding to your skincare routine include:

  • Wash your face with a fragrance-free cleanser that is suitable for dry and sensitised skin.
  • Exfoliate using glycolic acid, or a serum including AHAs.
  • Apply a moisturiser that contains hyaluronic acid and humectants (e.g. glycerin) whenever you feel dry (at least twice a day).
  • Use skincare products (creams, serums) that contain retinol and growth factors (such as amino acids, vitamins C, E and A) regularly to address the signs of ageing.

Dr Hartley advises women to embrace the experts when looking for helpful information during menopause and beyond.

"I would advise women to take control of their quality of life and their health. Empower yourself with knowledge from reliable, evidence-based sources.”

Vichy’s Neovadiol Skincare, for example, has been specifically developed to compensate the effects of menopause on the skin. The range, which is backed with over 20 years of scientific research in menopause & skin science, is designed to take you from perimenopause through menopause and includes a serum, day cream and night cream.

Formulated with powerful active ingredients, such as proxylane, cassia seed extract and hyaluronic acid, Vichy’s Neovadiol products can help with hydration and firmness

For many women, introducing some simple acts of self-care to their daily lives, such as a good skincare routine, can help them to feel more confident and comfortable during this time.


Vichy's Neovadiol day cream

Vichy's Neovadiol day cream

Vichy's Neovadiol day cream

As well as looking after our skin, Dr Hartley says it is important to be mindful of our entire well-being during menopause.

"This is an ideal time to start looking after yourself, especially your bone and heart health. Supplemental vitamin D, adequate calcium in your diet and weight-bearing exercise will help maintain bone density. A healthy diet, regular exercise and avoiding high blood pressure will protect your heart.

"Overall, prioritise yourself and look for the right support and help if you need it."

Shop Vichy’s Neovadiol Skincare for Menopause now at Meaghers. Visit your local pharmacist for more support and treatment options for symptoms of menopause.