I’m perimenopausal and my cystic acne seems to be returning (I had it from my mid 20s to late 40s and really hoped I was done). I would love to hear some tips on dealing with it.
Dr Stephanie Goodwin, GP and menopause specialist replies: Acne around the time of the perimenopause is not uncommon. In our 40s and 50s, the acne tends to be around the upper neck, chin and jawline.
With hormonal changes, there is usually a drop in estrogen and as a consequence a relatively high level of testosterone. Testosterone causes an increase in sebum (oil) production in the skin. This blocks the pores. On top of that, with age, skin turnover is less effective resulting in more blockage of the pores, inflammation and infection.
Some simple ways to manage this are:
A) Double cleanse the skin
B) Don’t use harsh scrubs
C) Don’t pick your skin
D) Avoid oil based products
E) I recommend using vitamin C and Retinol which significantly improve cell turnover and quality. I think these are essential.
If your skin is very inflamed, do see your GP for further prescription-based treatment. If you’re symptomatic of the menopause then it is certainly worth discussing HRT. I have also written a blog post that you may find useful.
I have developed a red pigmentation on my neck. The dermatologist says it’s to do with menopause so he’s not interested. Any ideas?
Dr Stephanie Goodwin, GP and menopause specialist replies: There can be lots of skin changes around the menopause. The skin can become more dry and sensitive. Red pigment could be due to eczema or psoriasis – eczema generally itches, psoriasis doesn’t. If it’s red spots, they may be Campbell de Morgan spots which are a collection of tiny blood vessels which are harmless.
I guess a name would have been helpful from the dermatologist! Perhaps it’s written in a letter from the clinic? Make sure that you keep your skin well moisturised and wear a good SPF. That’s the best way to keep it healthy and to keep wrinkles at bay.
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