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Ménopause peau sensible

Menopause: Why does the skin become more sensitive?

Menopause affects all women and typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. Besides the cessation of menstruation, menopausal women experience various changes in their bodies, and most notice an increased sensitivity of their skin. How can this sudden skin sensitivity be explained? Learn more.

Summary
Published March 13, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read

Menopause and skin sensitivity: how can we explain it?

In addition to the cessation of periods, approximately 80% of women experience other symptoms during menopause. Hot flushes, insomnia, stress, vaginal dryness, itching... One of the most common is an exacerbation of skin sensitivity. This can be explained by the significant hormonal fluctuations that menopausal women undergo, particularly the significant decrease in levels of oestrogen and progesterone in their bodies. These hormones play a crucial role in regulating skin function and their reduction during menopause can lead to significant changes in the skin.

Firstly, it is crucial to understand that oestrogens have an impact on the production of collagen and elastin by fibroblasts. These proteins are essential for maintaining the structure and elasticity of the skin. Furthermore, several studies have highlighted that a decrease in collagen synthesis is accompanied by a thinning of the skin, which then becomes more fragile. The decline in oestrogen levels thus leads to a decrease in the firmness and flexibility of the skin, making it more susceptible to external irritants.

Furthermore, the decline in progesterone levels leads to a weakening of the hydrolipidic film. Indeed, it is strongly suggested that progesterone upregulates the activity of the sebaceous glands, which are responsible for sebum production. Thus, a decrease in progesterone levels leads to lower amounts of sebum, which impacts the hydrolipidic film of which sebum is the main constituent. The skin then becomes more dry, more sensitive and more prone to tightness.

Finally, hormonal fluctuations during menopause can also affect the sensitivity of sensory receptors in the skin, thereby increasing the perception of pain and discomfort. This heightened sensitivity can make the skin more reactive to stimuli from external sources such as the use of certain cosmetics, temperature changes, and allergens. The immune system then tends to overreact and mobilise inflammation mediators such as pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are involved in the occurrence of redness and irritation.

Advice for soothing sensitive skin.

Approximately 2 billion women are currently menopausal worldwide. While not all are affected by acute skin sensitivity, the majority experience sensations of skin discomfort. To soothe and relieve the skin sustainably, we recommend adopting a skincare routine composed of gentle moisturising and nourishing treatments and avoiding products containing fragrances and irritating surfactants such as sulfates. Mechanical exfoliants, that is to say, grain-based, should also be avoided.

It is also recommended to favour warm showers over baths in order to reduce the duration of water contact with the skin. Indeed, water can have a drying effect and further weaken the hydrolipidic film. Also, ensure that the water temperature is not too hot as this increases the risk of inflammation. Moreover, to cleanse sensitive skin, we advise using a shower oil. This type of product, rich in lipid-replenishing and hydrating agents, is ideal for gently cleansing the skin while soothing irritations and restoring the skin barrier. After showering, remember to apply your emollient to provide your skin with maximum comfort and restore its hydrolipidic film.

Sources

  • PIERARD G. & al. The Skin and the Time of Menopause. The Medical Review of Liège (2006).

  • PUIZINA-IVIC N. Skin ageing.Acta Dermatovenerologica Alpina Pannonica et Adriatica (2008).

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