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Although menopause brings with it the much talked about symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings, fluctuation of hormone levels can also initiate a series of changes in the skin.  The decline in estrogen levels during menopause, coupled with a lifetime of UV exposure and the natural slowing down of cell turnover due to age, are at least partially responsible for those subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) changes that we see when we look in the mirror.

Cells in the body and the skin have estrogen receptors. During puberty the increase in estrogen production sends messages that tell the body to ramp up the development of female secondary sexual characteristics.  During perimenopause and menopause, however, estrogen levels drop and those messages don't get through.  For the skin, this can mean a few extra challenges to deal with. Here's how to meet them head on:

 1. Acne:  Often a result of hormonal changes, acne is experienced by nearly half of women going through menopause.  The same advice that you heard during puberty still holds true: keep the skin clean with a gentle, soap-free cleanser and avoid over cleaning or scrubbing.  Consider adding either a salicylic acid treatment, like [Link Removed] .  Both ingredients help to unplug pores and exfoliate.

 2. Age spots:  Some of us show our age via fine lines and wrinkles, others develop age spots.  Hereditary disposition plays a part, but a lifetime of sun exposure and UV damage can make them appear seemingly overnight during menopause.  Incorporating an alpha hydroxy acid treatment into your routine may help improve the appearance of uneven pigmentation and sun damage.  Legendary [Link Removed] , rain or shine.

 3. Dryness:  Likely the most common change in the skin during menopause is increased dryness.  Think about switching to a richer, more emollient moisturizer, like [Link Removed]  with Hylasome, a cross-linked hyaluronic acid for serious hydration.

 4. Deep wrinkles:  As estrogen levels drop, collagen production slows down, resulting in deeper wrinkles and loss of elasticity.  Adding a retinoid treatment will help boost collagen production, increase cell turnover and plump out the skin.  Backed by clinical studies, the effectiveness of retinoids like retinaldehyde (retinal) or retinol has been proven over and over again . This top anti-aging ingredient can be found in our new [Link Removed] .

 5. Loss of contrast between our facial features and skin:  Menopausal skin can get darker while the color of our eyebrows, eyelashes, eyes and lips lighten, giving us a pale, washed out look.  The changes are so gradual that we may not notice them right away.  Since we appear younger when the contrast between our skin color and our features is more marked, this is a great time to reassess our makeup routine, too.  What may have seemed too heavy in our 20's may just help knock ten years off that reflection in the mirror.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed] 

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