Posted by & filed under Ask Vergo.

It is normal for women to experience pimples during puberty and pregnancy. However, you can also experience acne during or after menopause, or as many woman refer to as Menopause zits. (4)

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 50 percent of women between ages of 20 and 29 have acne. Another 25 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 49 are also suffering from acne. So why does acne affect women in menopause? It doesn’t matter if you are 20 or 49, the common root cause of menopause zits is hormonal changes. Hormonal changes usually effect the manner in which your skin regenerates and protects itself, which may sometimes lead to undesirable results. During perimenopause, the amount of female hormones i.e. progesterone and estrogen, usually drops. However, the amount of androgen hormones does not change during this menopause stage. This may lead to hormonal imbalance, that may lead to an increase in androgen hormones, that may cause oilier skin. When skin is oilier, it may clog your pores which causes skin to develop pimples.

There are varying explanations as to whether hormonal imbalance is responsible for acne in adults. (5)menopause zits

According to a question and answer done by the Mayo Clinic, it is likely that hormones lead to adults developing acne. However, hormones are not the root cause of adult acne. Adults are likely to suffer from acne when they have an underlying health problem. If an adult is experiencing hormonal imbalance as a result of suffering from a medical condition like polycystic ovary syndrome for example, they may have acne problems. The problem here is that it is difficult to measure hormonal imbalance – therefore difficult to properly diagnose and treat adult acne caused by hormonal imbalance.

Why do women get acne with hormonal changes?

Hormonal changes that lead to an increase in androgen hormones may lead to acne in women. This is because androgen hormones may interfere with the skin regeneration process and lead to an increase in skin oil. When this happens, the skin pores will be blocked, leading to acne.

What hormones would cause acne?

For our bodies to work well there needs to be a proper hormonal balance. (2) Acne normally occurs when there is an imbalance of a group of
hormones known as androgens. To be more precise, the androgen responsible for hormonal acne is called testosterone. Both women and men naturally produce the hormone testosterone. However, it is women who are more sensitive to testosterone because they cannot use it for body functions. Typically, the excess testosterone hormone that is lying idle in the body attaches itself to androgen receptor cells that are found in the skin cells. Your skin removes it via cystic breakouts. This is how you may experience hormonal acne. (6)

Also, if you have excess testosterone in the bloodstream it may cause your skin to produce excess skin oil which may block your pores. This problem is usually made worse by the slow process of skin regeneration in older women. Too many skin cells may block the pores that have already been clogged with sebum. This may result in skin infection and inflammation.

Where in the body is acne most common?

For menopausal women, it is common to experience symptoms such as hot flushes, sleeping problems, mood changes, dry skin and weight gain. (6)

Unfortunately, acne can also catch up with women during or after menopause. Menopause is a natural process that normally affects women in their 40s or 50s. The most common areas that women in menopause can experience acne include mouth, jaw, and chin. However, pimples can also appear on their back and chest. (3)

For some women, hormonal acne normally appears in the form of whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples that may appear on the lower face. Hormonal acne may be caused by increase in hormones as a result of menopause, menstruation, polycystic ovarian syndrome or an increase in androgen levels.

menopause zits

How to treat menopause zits

It is not advisable to use antibiotics or any other chemical products to treat menopause acne. (1)  Using these chemical products can have harmful effects on your skin where it could burn while walking outdoors. (5)  On the other hand, there are some companies that sell acne treatment products and claim that it is all natural. Before you buy any of these acne products, it is advisable to understand the claims made by manufacturers using ‘natural hormones removed from plants’. The chemical structure of plant hormones is different from the hormones we produce naturally in our bodies. There is no guarantee that when you use these products they will be effective at treating acne. Instead, consider changing your diet to treat acne during menopause.

It is not easy for adult women to experience acne, either during or after menopause. With the help of your doctor, she can recommend the best
dietary supplements and medications for you to effectively treat menopause acne. (5)

It can be frustrating and it can take time, but there are medication options doctors can prescribe to bring hormones into balance. (3)

References

  1. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/sara-gottfried-md/acne-prevention_b_1669831.html
  2. https://www.annmariegianni.com/causes-of-acne-hormonal-acne/
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/hormonal-acne
  4. https://www.aad.org/media/news-releases/hormonal-factors-key-to-understanding-acne-in-women
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/acne/expert-answers/adult-acne/faq-20058129
  6. https://www.everydayhealth.com/menopause/menopause-and-acne.aspx