According to The North American Menopause Society, 1.1 billion women will experience menopause worldwide by 2025, and though it’s taken decades to shed the stigma attached to the major hormonal shift—some would argue we’re still fighting it—statistics like this aren’t easy to ignore. Here, three top dermatologists, each with their own skin-care brand, describe how their skin changed during perimenopause and menopause, and how they cared for it with products, lifestyle changes and in-office treatments.
Doctor: Dallas dermatologist Rebecca Marcus, MD, founder of Maei MD
“I have always had a tendency to break out, and even after turning 40 I have to be vigilant about my skin care in order to prevent pimples. Hormonal fluctuations in perimenopause can trigger breakouts, so this is something I have had to pay particular attention to. I use a prescription-strength retinoid called Altreno each night, which not only helps to prevent acne, but also has the added bonus of stimulating collagen and preventing collagen breakdown. This is extra important as skin becomes thinner during perimenopause and collagen begins to break down, even as early as your 30s.
In addition, retinoids help to improve cell turnover, which naturally declines with age. I have noticed that my skin has become more dry over the past couple of years, so I have made hydration a priority. Serum 6 by Maei MD contains several hydrating and skin barrier–boosting ingredients, including multi-molecular weight hyaluronic acid, avena sativa, French maritime pine tree, Alpine Eidelweiss flower, niacinamide, panthenol, and saccharide isomerate. In addition, it contains peptides that support six essential components of the skin matrix, and plant-based ingredients that have been scientifically proven to improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The antioxidant blend features vitamin C, which is has many functions including collagen stimulation and skin brightening. I have found this serum to be absolutely essential to maintaining my skin’s ‘bounce’ and youthful glow.
Although consistent use of high-quality skin care is an essential part of maintaining healthy, beautiful skin, in-office procedures have also been important for boosting collagen and minimizing fine lines and wrinkles. I do a series of three monthly treatments with radio-frequency microneedling once a year, and I also do a very light ‘sprinkle’ with a CO2 laser once or twice a year. This helps to keep my skin smooth and chases away tiny lines that were beginning to form around my mouth, while also helping to eradicate any brown spots. I also use Botox to smooth and prevent lines on my forehead and around my eyes. My goal is always to keep my skin healthy and maintain as much of its youthful appearance as possible while still maintaining a very natural look!”
Doctor: Kansas City, MO dermatologist Audrey Kunin, MD, founder of DERMAdoctor
“I went through menopause at 40 due to an emergency complete hysterectomy,” Dr. Kunin says. “While I was placed initially on an estrogen patch, I noticed within weeks that my skin texture and appearance was aging. Consistent use of a hyaluronic acid serum layered beneath a high-potency vitamin C serum that contained ferulic acid and vitamin E each and every morning was critical at helping turn my skin around. I also bumped up my evening exfoliation, alternating prescription tretinoin with at-home chemical peels every other night. At 63, my skin truly looks like I am in my 40s. Skin care effects are cumulative—stay the course and be consistent. It will eventually pay off.”
Doctor: New York dermatologist Macrene Alexiades, MD, founder of MACRENE Actives
“During perimenopause and menopause, diminishing estrogen levels and lack of the cycle of estrogen and progesterone lead to many skin changes. As I have experienced it, the first skin sign of menopause I noticed was that the skin and fat layers on my belly felt like they had changed; despite not gaining any weight, the skin and fat layer was not as taut as it used to be. While I was aware that the hormonal changes of menopause may cause the skin to thin over time, I had protected myself from that eventuality by formulating and religiously applying MACRENE Actives High Performance Face Cream twice daily for years. By providing my skin with 55 antioxidants, DNA repair, peptides, hyaluronic acids, and skin boosters, my skin was not only prevented from deteriorating with age, but also with menopause.
However, what I did not expect was my body skin to give out so quickly! This prompted me to formulate my Neck & Décolletage lotion, which provides 55 actives that target skin elasticity, as well as the host of other changes that happen with age and menopause. The peptides boost the skin components that restore skin tautness. A similar patented formula went into my Face Serum so that I could fight the slight jowling I noticed around the same time. As menopause progressed, I noticed that the skin above my elbows had additional folds too, so my Neck & Décolletage lotion has had serious use, from my neck and chest to the tops of my hands and my elbows, and even my abdomen to fight skin sagging. I truly believe it replaces the very radio-frequency and laser/light devices I have helped launch to reverse the signs of aging associated with menopause.
Other key skin findings during menopause are flushing, rosacea and hormonal acne. Luckily, I was very on top of this years ahead through the use of my Serum, which contains anti-redness, soothing plant actives such as extracts of organic coffee, tea, feverfew and bisabolol that serve to continually reduce dilated blood vessels and soothe rosacea. The anti-inflammatory effects also reduce the blemishes associated with acne. By resetting the microbiome, the Cream and Serum kept my acne breakouts at bay. A 360-approach to menopausal skin is critical. And if you can start before menopause, you will sail through skin-wise! Outside of my consistent skin-care routine, I never leave the house without sun-protective clothing, and I maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a Mediterranean diet, exercise and sleep.”