Most women are aware of the most common symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes; however, one of the less well-known ones is having dry and itchy skin on the face. For many women, the fact that this is unexpected and very noticeable can be difficult to deal with. There are plenty of options to consider when trying to lessen the symptoms - keep reading to find out more about what causes dry, itchy skin during menopause and how to treat it effectively.
What Is Dry and Itchy Skin?
Dry, itchy skin is known medically as pruritis. It often presents as little patches or red, flaky skin on the face. Sometimes, the whole face will feel tight and uncomfortable, and the skin can be cracked or just start to peel slightly. The symptoms can show up separately, with women describing an itching sensations or pins and needles like tingling with no dryness. However, they are most often present at the same time and can cause discomfort to many women, given how noticeable any changes to facial skin are.
What Causes Dry and Itchy Skin during Menopause?
As with most symptoms linked to menopause, an imbalance of estrogen is thought to be the reason behind dry, itchy facial skin. The decline in estrogen leads to skin becoming thinner and a reduction in the levels of collagen, which is what gives skin elasticity. As a result, it is common for menopausal women to experience more sensitive skin. The hormonal changes also stop the body from being able to secrete the normal amount of natural oils in the skin, so it is harder to retain moisture, particularly for the skin on the face.
How to Treat Dry and Itchy Skin
Although thinning a woman's skin during menopause are generally regarded as permanent, there are still plenty of options to manage itchiness. The most important way to combat dry skin, regardless of the cause, is to stay hydrated. Drinking the equivalent of two liters of water per day can make a big difference to the state of a person's skin. While this liquid can be in the form of juice, tea, coffee, or other beverages, for the best results, stick to water or green tea.
The other way to battle dry and itchy skin on the face is to make some key dietary changes. Increasing the amount of healthy, unsaturated fats, like omega-3, can help mitigate dryness due to their oily content. Eating things like avocados, oily fish, or eating a variety of nuts - such as walnuts, almonds, and pecans - are all ideal for this problem.
The next basic defense against dry skin is protection from the sun. Applying sunscreen every day will ensure that any damage caused by UV radiation is limited and the skin is much less likely to dry out from the heat of the sun. Women are also recommended to avoid using excessively hot water or stringent cosmetics and cleansers on their skin when washing. Facial skin is especially sensitive and should be treated gently with plenty of moisturizer, ideally one that is free from perfumes or fragrances.
While there are medicated creams available, it is advisable to avoid steroid creams that may be prescribed to reduce inflammation, as these may further reduce skin thickness and can lead to skin becoming more sensitive in the long run. Consequently, using natural lifestyle changes to combat dry and itchy skin on the face is generally the best method. If the dryness and itching is severe or does not improve with these changes, then make an appointment to see a dermatologist. Click on the following link to read complete information about the treatments available for itchy skin.
- National Institutes of Health. (2012). Dry skin. Retrieved January 28, 2015, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003250.htm
- Raine-Fenning, N.J. , Brincat, M.P. & Muscat-Baron, Y. (2003). Skin aging and menopause: implications for treatment. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 4(6), 371-378. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12762829