No matter how amazing your attitude is about menopause, the symptoms are real. And real annoying. But first, the technicalities: To be menopausal, you need to miss your period for a full year in the absence of other causes. The average age is 51, but the years before menopause are where the action begins. This is where the super-fun symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and irregular periods come into play, as they're all signs that your ovaries are sputtering out less estrogen.
Speaking of estrogen: It's pretty much everything. Not only does the hormone fuel all things, but it also supports healthy skin cell functioning. So when estrogen levels plummet during menopause, "skin can't protect itself, maintain hydration, or produce strong collagen the way it once could," Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, previously told Allure.
That loss of hydration and lack of collagen production can make a noticeable difference in skin's appearance. Ronald Moy, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in California, says the signs of menopause's effects on skin can be quite distinct. "Once the hormones start to decrease is when the skin becomes thinner, develops more wrinkles, and becomes saggy," he says, noting that he often sees patients who complain of bags under the eyes and sagging neck skin.
New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D., concurs, explaining that areas of thinning skin and where there's more frequent movement tend to see the effects of menopause first and most. "The jawline and lower face tend to show sagging first due to facial fat pad migration and the effects of collagen loss and gravity over time."
Luckily, there are products on the market specifically designed to help the skin stay strong and supple, as well as ones that help to repair a depleted skin barrier. Ahead, find the top products and tools that aim to make the menopausal experience — and how it affects the skin — a more comfortable process.
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Womaness The Works Smoothing All-Over Body Cream
Menopause affects body skin just as much as facial skin, which is why it's so important to stay hydrated from the neck down. Womaness The Works Smoothing All-Over Body Cream was specifically made to thoroughly moisturize menopausal skin using some of the most favored ingredients in products intended for the face. We're talking shea butter, water-attracting hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide to help strengthen skin barrier and seal it all in for a smoother, firmer look and feel.
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State of Cool Cooling Facial Moisturizer
Whether or not you keep State of Cool Cooling Facial Moisturizer in your fridge, you'll enjoy a skin-calming sensation each time you apply it. Glycerin and a form of hyaluronic acid ensure skin gets and holds onto hydration. And for anyone dealing with cystic acne as part of their menopause journey, its lighter texture is ideal for delivering moisture without smothering skin with heavier cream.
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Knours One Perfect Revival Eye Cream
Knours's whole schtick is making skin care attuned to where you are hormonally in your life, and the brand's One Perfect Revival Eye Cream is from its thoughtfully crafted collection for menopausal skin. The intensely moisturizing formula relies on peptides and vitamin C-rich rosehip oil to smooth fine lines and brighten dark circles. Bonus: The brilliant ceramic-tip applicator cools skin as the cream glides on.
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Hot Girls Pearls Chicklet Bracelet
Though not a skin-care product per se, what the Hot Girls Pearls Chicklet Bracelet does while resting up against your skin qualifies is as a major menopause helper in our book — and a cute one, too. The flat stones that make up these bracelets — there's a range of gorgeous colors, like the Blue Lapis seen here — are filled with a special gel. Keep the accessory in the freezer overnight and throw it on when you're feeling overheating for a cooling sensation that efficiently runs from your wrist through the rest of your hot-flash fed-up body.
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Glo Skin Beauty Phyto-Active Conditioning Oil
Dr. Engelman says oils are a must for extra-dry menopausal skin. She especially likes neroli and jojoba oils, the latter of which is found in Glo Skin Beauty Phyto-Active Conditioning Oil. "This uses a combination of jojoba oil and squalene, which not only is deeply hydrating but helps to combat oxidative stress."
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Emepelle Night Cream
Emepelle Serum (not pictured) is for morning; the rich Emepelle Night Cream is for night (obviously). Together, they treat estrogen-deficient skin by tightening, plumping, and restoring radiance without the side effects of estrogen. These products rely on a potent blend of niacinamide, peptides, and the recently discovered ingredient methyl estradiol-propanoate, which non-hormonally fires up skin's estrogen-receptor pathway.
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BioEffect EGF Serum
Dr. Moy is a big fan of epidermal growth factor, which he says has been shown to improve undereye skin, sagging in the lower face, acne scars, and even bruising. He regularly recommends BioEffect EGF Serum to his patients to thicken menopause-thinned skin. "If the skin thickens, it becomes tightened," he explains, so EGF can prevent the most obvious signs of menopause's effects.
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Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules
Dr. Engelman calls Elizabeth Arden Retinol Capsules "incredible" for menopausal skin, not just because of the retinol, but because of how it combats retinol's side effects. "They are formulated with ceramides, which help to hydrate the skin and can combat some of the irritating and drying effects retinols have on the skin," she says. Dr. Engelman, who works with the brand, also appreciates that they contain olive, sunflower, and avocado oils for additional hydration.
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Indeed Me-NO-Pause Cooling Mist
The cucumber extract in Indeed's Me-NO-Pause Cooling Mist relieves dryness and reduces puffiness while wild indigo and magnesium improve skin tone. But let's not beat around the bush: It's the delightfully cooling effect of this spray that makes it a must-have for menopause's notoriously uncomfortable surges in body temperature.
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SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair
SkinMedica TNS Eye Repair is a fantastic option for repairing and protecting eye-area skin, says Dr. Engelman, who works with the brand's parent company, Allergan. "Its rich texture supplies plumping moisture with hyaluronic acid in order to diminish dehydration lines and increase radiance and brightness," she explains. Furthermore, antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E condition and brighten. But it may be the peptides she appreciates the most. "When applied topically to the skin, peptides send cellular signals instructing cell function — one of which is to create more collagen."
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Korres Meno-Reverse White Pine Volumizing Serum-in-Moisturizer
You've got to love a hybrid product that not only saves time during your routine but also makes a noticeable impact on menopausal skin. The Korres Meno-Reverse Volumizing Serum-in-Moisturizer gets down to business with a powerfully smoothing peptide blend, softening abyssinia oil, and white pine, which gets top billing on the label, thanks to how much it supports and promotes elasticity in skin that has started to sag a bit.
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Pause Well-Aging Collagen Boosting Moisturizer
A spray to the face and chest of Pause Well-Aging's Hot Flash Cooling Mist is like a peck on the cheek from Elsa, relieving the burning-from-the-inside misery. The Collagen Boosting Moisturizer tightens facial contours and increases elasticity with a blend of vitamins, antioxidants, and peptides. Like a futuristic gua sha stone, the Fascia Stimulating Tool massages the face, neck, and chest to kick-start collagen-making fibroblasts.
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SeeMe Beauty Smooth Out Recovery Serum
Artichoke leaf extract is one of the stars of the SeeMe Beauty Smooth Out Recovery Serum. Clinical studies show that the antioxidant is actually more powerful on estrogen-depleted skin than on younger complexions (in some cases, as effective as retinols at smoothing and firming).
Keywordsmenopauseaginghot flashesanxietyskin careserumnight creamskin devicessaggingsagging neckwrinklesdrynesselizabeth ardenBioeffectSkinMedicaKorresshoppingshopping guide