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Managing menopause: Skin and hair issues

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Oilier, drier thinner, thicker

The hormonal shifts of adolescence are well-known - if not legendary and somewhat feared. Hormones affect a child in every possible way - mood, appearance, reproductive capabilities, and so on. So it only makes sense that the hormonal shifts of perimenopause would have a similar effect. And have a similar effect on similar body areas. Just as your child's skin and hair may change with the onset of puberty, your skin and hair may change with the onset of the perimenopause years.

Woman in forties looking in mirror

You're right that it's no fun to think about: aging is not for sissies, as has been said so many times before. But it is a reality for many women as they age. Better to be prepared and have a strategy in advance. The dermatologist you consult for your teenager likely will be able to help you with your skin, too - and as you help your adolescent daughter learn about hair care and finding a flattering style, you can apply those lessons to your changing self, too.

Dry, itchy skin - or adult acne

With hormonal changes come differences in the production of oil. While some women many experience drier skin than at any other time in her life and may need to ramp up the moisturizer application, some women experience an increase in acne. Who knew you and your kids would be experiencing pimples and blackheads at the same time?

Take a look at your skin care regimen to be sure what you are using on your face is not contributing to your issues. You may need to try some new products to see what is working now - because what worked when you were 30 just isn't any more. Your skin may become more or less sensitive to products, or you may need new products to help even out an increasingly variable skin tone.

Find out here natural remedies for treating adult acne.

Thinning hair in one area...

It's not male pattern baldness, but it can feel (and be) pretty close: thinning hair, and sometimes it's female pattern baldness. Even the most gorgeous of flowing locks may experience some thinning - and complete hair loss in extreme cases. This can be one of the most distressing elements of perimenopause and menopause.

In addition to consulting your doctor to make sure there aren't any other health issues contributing to the thinning (and maybe a prescription treatment you could try), a good relationship with your stylist is essential. Shorter, more layered hair styles can help disguise the extent of thinning by increasing the appearance of volume - and not doing anything that tugs too much on the hair can help, too. Your ponytail days may be over.

Get more tips here on managing hair loss and thinning hair.

...increasing hair in another

The hair that may be disappearing from your head may be appearing elsewhere - on your face. While some women experience a slow increase in amount and thickness of facial hair long before menopause, it can become more pronounced with the hormonal changes of perimenopause. Bleaching, tweezing and waxing are all possible ways to address the annoying, wirey little hairs that seem to pop up out of nowhere, though annoyingly recurrent. The advancements in laser technology mean that laser electrolysis is a very effective way to treat the issue permanently - albeit not cheap.

While hair and skin changes of perimenopause may not be exactly enjoyable - they are manageable. Advancements in skin and hair technologies and treatments may not eliminate the issues, but they can help mitigate the appearance (and annoyance!) of these particular perimenopause symptoms. You can continue to look great right through this major life change!

For more tips on managing the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause:

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