7 Keys to Understanding Menopause and Skin Changes

8 min read

OCT 30, 2023
May 20,2023
HEALTH

7 Keys to Understanding Menopause and Skin Changes

8 min read

OCT 30, 2023
May 20,2023
HEALTH
The female body has an incredible potential for transformation, including three major hormonal shifts that occur during a woman’s lifetime: puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. As our hormones change in the years leading up to menopause, so does our skin. Let’s take a closer look at the biological triggers behind these changes – and what you can do to keep your skin healthy and comfortable from perimenopause and beyond.
The female body has an incredible potential for transformation, including three major hormonal shifts that occur during a woman’s lifetime: puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. As our hormones change in the years leading up to menopause, so does our skin. Let’s take a closer look at the biological triggers behind these changes – and what you can do to keep your skin healthy and comfortable from perimenopause and beyond.
01

What happens during menopause?

Many of the menopausal symptoms that women experience during perimenopause and menopause are due to shifts in two key hormones: estrogen and progesterone. It all starts in the hypothalamus, an area in the brain that secretes hormones. The hypothalamus stimulates the anterior pituitary gland, which releases follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH)1. FSH and LH kickstart ovarian production of estrogen and progesterone. In the years leading up to menopause, the ovaries start to lose their sensitivity to FSH and LH, yielding lower estrogen and progesterone levels2.
01

What happens during menopause?

Many of the menopausal symptoms that women experience during perimenopause and menopause are due to shifts in two key hormones: estrogen and progesterone. It all starts in the hypothalamus, an area in the brain that secretes hormones. The hypothalamus stimulates the anterior pituitary gland, which releases follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH)1. FSH and LH kickstart ovarian production of estrogen and progesterone. In the years leading up to menopause, the ovaries start to lose their sensitivity to FSH and LH, yielding lower estrogen and progesterone levels2.

Estrogen Levels

Normal estrogen levels plummet from 30 - 400 pg/mL before menopause to 0 - 30 pg/mL after menopause.3 Because estrogen stimulates the production of several important proteins in the skin, this massive hormonal shift can weaken skin thickness over time.4 The impacts of declining estrogen are more than skin-deep; in fact, lower levels after menopause can impact several bodily systems, including:
  1. The Cardiovascular System - Estrogen promotes healthy cholesterol levels and aids in blood clot formation. Lower levels can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.5
  2. The Nervous System - Estrogen levels influence female cognitive function; its decline increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease.6
  3. The Musculoskeletal System - Estrogen induces calcium absorption in the body. Lower estrogen results in loss of bone density and can lead to osteoporosis.7
  4. Estrogen Levels

    Normal estrogen levels plummet from 30 - 400 pg/mL before menopause to 0 - 30 pg/mL after menopause.3 Because estrogen stimulates the production of several important proteins in the skin, this massive hormonal shift can weaken skin thickness over time.4 The impacts of declining estrogen are more than skin-deep; in fact, lower levels after menopause can impact several bodily systems, including:
    1. The Cardiovascular System - Estrogen promotes healthy cholesterol levels and aids in blood clot formation. Lower levels can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.5
    2. The Nervous System - Estrogen levels influence female cognitive function; its decline increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease.6
    3. The Musculoskeletal System - Estrogen induces calcium absorption in the body. Lower estrogen results in loss of bone density and can lead to osteoporosis.7
    4. Progesterone Levels

      Along with estrogen, progesterone levels also decrease during perimenopause. This critical hormone is known to lower the risk of anxiety and depression, regulate blood pressure, improve sleep, and promote uterine health. 8 Plus, because progesterone is involved in the skin’s oil production, declining progesterone levels may lead to increased skin dryness and sensitivity.

      Progesterone Levels

      Along with estrogen, progesterone levels also decrease during perimenopause. This critical hormone is known to lower the risk of anxiety and depression, regulate blood pressure, improve sleep, and promote uterine health. 8 Plus, because progesterone is involved in the skin’s oil production, declining progesterone levels may lead to increased skin dryness and sensitivity.
      02

      What happens to our skin during menopause?

      Estrogen and progesterone interact with several crucial levers in skin health. During perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause, the following factors can be affected.
      02

      What happens to our skin during menopause?

      Estrogen and progesterone interact with several crucial levers in skin health. During perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause, the following factors can be affected.

      Collagen Production

      Collagen is a structural protein that promotes skin strength, elasticity, and firmness.9 Fibroblasts, the skin cells that stimulate collagen production, are activated when exposed to estrogen. When estrogen levels drop, so does fibroblast activation and collagen production.9 Consequently, around 30% of skin collagen is lost within the first five years following menopause, leading to a weakened skin barrier and loss of firmness and elasticity.9

      Collagen Production

      Collagen is a structural protein that promotes skin strength, elasticity, and firmness.9 Fibroblasts, the skin cells that stimulate collagen production, are activated when exposed to estrogen. When estrogen levels drop, so does fibroblast activation and collagen production.9 Consequently, around 30% of skin collagen is lost within the first five years following menopause, leading to a weakened skin barrier and loss of firmness and elasticity.9

      Oxidative Defenses

      A primary cause of skin aging is exposure to free radicals, which oxidize cellular DNA. Oxidation-induced changes lead to genomic instability and epigenetic alterations - two of the twelve hallmarks of aging
      .12 Although it’s not quite clear how, estrogen has been shown to have protective power against free radicals.13 As estrogen levels drop, this oxidative defense becomes less effective, and skin aging accelerates.

      Oxidative Defenses

      A primary cause of skin aging is exposure to free radicals, which oxidize cellular DNA. Oxidation-induced changes lead to genomic instability and epigenetic alterations - two of the twelve hallmarks of aging
      .12 Although it’s not quite clear how, estrogen has been shown to have protective power against free radicals.13 As estrogen levels drop, this oxidative defense becomes less effective, and skin aging accelerates.

      Sebum Production

      Due to an age-related decline in cell turnover rate, skin oil glands– specifically sebaceous glands– become less effective. This is why many people notice their skin getting drier with time. Hormonal changes in menopause can exacerbate this decline, as sebaceous glands are affected by both estrogen and progesterone.14

      Sebum Production

      Due to an age-related decline in cell turnover rate, skin oil glands– specifically sebaceous glands– become less effective. This is why many people notice their skin getting drier with time. Hormonal changes in menopause can exacerbate this decline, as sebaceous glands are affected by both estrogen and progesterone.14

      Hyaluronic Acid Production

      Estrogen stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid, a substance known for its capacity to hold water and keep the skin hydrated. Without a strong skin barrier and estrogen-stimulated production of hyaluronic acid, the skin can become dehydrated.14

      Hyaluronic Acid Production

      Estrogen stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid, a substance known for its capacity to hold water and keep the skin hydrated. Without a strong skin barrier and estrogen-stimulated production of hyaluronic acid, the skin can become dehydrated.14

      Melanin Production

      Estrogen supports the synthesis of melanin, the pigment that helps protect skin from UV radiation. As estrogen declines, melanin levels lower, and skin becomes lighter and more sensitive to sun damage.15 Even though menopause reduces melanin production, erratic hormone levels and a weakened skin barrier can actually cause or worsen hyperpigmentation.

      Wound Healing

      When your skin is wounded, cytokines in the blood recruit inflammatory cells and nearby skin cells to start the healing process. Because estrogen regulates cytokine levels, wound healing may slow after menopause. In fact, topical estrogen has been shown to accelerate wound healing in both elderly men and women.14

      Wound Healing

      When your skin is wounded, cytokines in the blood recruit inflammatory cells and nearby skin cells to start the healing process. Because estrogen regulates cytokine levels, wound healing may slow after menopause. In fact, topical estrogen has been shown to accelerate wound healing in both elderly men and women.14
      03

      How can these skin problems be best avoided to extend the longevity of healthy skin?

      Fortunately, it is possible to prepare our skin for menopause. Here are some lifestyle and skin care tips you can use to improve skin health, and extend skinspan:Anitoxidants: Eating foods rich in antioxidants or using topical skin care products with antioxidants can reduce oxidative stress and increase collagen levels! In general, topically applied antioxidants are more effective for skin health.Sunscreen: Post-menopausal skin is highly sensitive to sun damage. Wearing sunscreen can prevent accelerated skin aging and the development of age spots and skin cancer.Moisturize: Invest in a peptide moisturizer and hydrating cleanser. This can prevent skin dryness and keep your skin protected against environmental irritants. Consider Hormone Replacement Therapies (HRTs):
      Consult your physician regarding your options for hormone therapy. Even topical estrogen effectively increases skin collagen and reduces skin age.16
      Sleep
      : Sleeping at consistent times for around 7 - 9 hours daily can support hormone balance and skin health.17
      03

      How can these skin problems be best avoided to extend the longevity of healthy skin?

      Fortunately, it is possible to prepare our skin for menopause. Here are some lifestyle and skin care tips you can use to improve skin health, and extend skinspan:Anitoxidants: Eating foods rich in antioxidants or using topical skin care products with antioxidants can reduce oxidative stress and increase collagen levels! In general, topically applied antioxidants are more effective for skin health.Sunscreen: Post-menopausal skin is highly sensitive to sun damage. Wearing sunscreen can prevent accelerated skin aging and the development of age spots and skin cancer.Moisturize: Invest in a peptide moisturizer and hydrating cleanser. This can prevent skin dryness and keep your skin protected against environmental irritants. Consider Hormone Replacement Therapies (HRTs):
      Consult your physician regarding your options for hormone therapy. Even topical estrogen effectively increases skin collagen and reduces skin age.16
      Sleep
      : Sleeping at consistent times for around 7 - 9 hours daily can support hormone balance and skin health.17

      How does the OS-01 peptide address menopausal skin changes?

      Our OS-01 peptide
      is scientifically proven to counteract some of the factors caused by estrogen decline. In lab studies, OS-01 was shown to increase the activity of collagen and hyaluronic acid production genes (COL1A1 and HAS2).18 This shows that OS-01 may help to counteract decreasing levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid that occur after menopause–improving skin firmness, elasticity, strength, and hydration.19 OS-01 has also been shown to reduce
      cellular senescence
      – the central hallmark of skin aging – and improve skin health at the cellular level.18
      Our OS-01 FACE and OS-01 BODY Topical Supplements pair our star peptide with potent hydrating ingredients and antioxidants so your skin can stay supple and resilient even as its natural defenses decline.

      How does the OS-01 peptide address menopausal skin changes?

      Our OS-01 peptide
      is scientifically proven to counteract some of the factors caused by estrogen decline. In lab studies, OS-01 was shown to increase the activity of collagen and hyaluronic acid production genes (COL1A1 and HAS2).18 This shows that OS-01 may help to counteract decreasing levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid that occur after menopause–improving skin firmness, elasticity, strength, and hydration.19 OS-01 has also been shown to reduce
      cellular senescence
      – the central hallmark of skin aging – and improve skin health at the cellular level.18
      Our OS-01 FACE and OS-01 BODY Topical Supplements pair our star peptide with potent hydrating ingredients and antioxidants so your skin can stay supple and resilient even as its natural defenses decline.
      Shown in lab studies on human skin samples and/or cells by measuring key aging biomarker, CDKN2A, and key collagen and hyaluronic acid biomarkers, COL1A1 and HAS2. Treatment with the OS-01 peptide displayed a significant decrease in CDKN2A and a significant increase in COL1A1 and HAS2 compared to no treatment. (Zonari, A., et al. npj Aging, 2023)
      Shown in lab studies on human skin samples and/or cells by measuring key aging biomarker, CDKN2A, and key collagen and hyaluronic acid biomarkers, COL1A1 and HAS2. Treatment with the OS-01 peptide displayed a significant decrease in CDKN2A and a significant increase in COL1A1 and HAS2 compared to no treatment. (Zonari, A., et al. npj Aging, 2023)

      Related Products

      Key Takeaways:
      • During and after menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels decline.
      • These changing hormones reduce collagen formation, sebum, melanin, and cytokines.
      • Because of these changes, menopausal skin can often be less firm, more wrinkled, dryer, and more sensitive to external pollutants.
      • To prevent menopause-associated skin changes, use antioxidants, apply sunscreen, moisturize, and get sufficient sleep. You should consult your physician regarding your options with HRTs.
      • OneSkin’s OS-01 peptide increases the activity of collagen and hyaluronic acid genes, COL1A1 and HAS2, helping to counteract the decreased levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid caused by menopause. This improves skin elasticity and structure, strengthens the skin barrier, and keeps the skin hydrated.
      Key Takeaways:
      • During and after menopause, estrogen and progesterone levels decline.
      • These changing hormones reduce collagen formation, sebum, melanin, and cytokines.
      • Because of these changes, menopausal skin can often be less firm, more wrinkled, dryer, and more sensitive to external pollutants.
      • To prevent menopause-associated skin changes, use antioxidants, apply sunscreen, moisturize, and get sufficient sleep. You should consult your physician regarding your options with HRTs.
      • OneSkin’s OS-01 peptide increases the activity of collagen and hyaluronic acid genes, COL1A1 and HAS2, helping to counteract the decreased levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid caused by menopause. This improves skin elasticity and structure, strengthens the skin barrier, and keeps the skin hydrated.

      Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

      Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

      Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

      Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

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