Understanding Menopausal Acne: Causes and Treatments

Reviewed by Dr. Kenton Bruice, MD

I’m 50, why do I suddenly have acne?!

If you are in perimenopause or have entered menopause and are suddenly experiencing breakouts –you are not alone! This is a normal occurrence, and unfortunately, it’s one of the many unpleasant symptoms that come with hormonal changes during this stage in a woman’s life.

In this blog, we explain how the shift in hormones during menopause can disrupt the skin’s balance and lead to breakouts. We also discuss effective treatments for menopausal acne that can help you regain clear, healthy-looking skin.

What Causes Menopausal Acne?

Menopausal acne is primarily caused by hormonal imbalance. During menopause, the body’s estrogen levels decrease, leading to an increase in androgen hormones like testosterone. 

This imbalance can result in increased sebum production and changes in skin cell growth, contributing to clogged pores and breakouts. Factors contributing to menopause acne include:

  • Increased androgen levels: This leads to more oil production, creating an oily substance that can clog hair follicles.
  • Decreased estrogen levels: Lower estrogen levels can weaken the skin barrier, making the skin more vulnerable to acne.
  • Hormonal fluctuations: Reproductive hormones and sex hormones undergo significant changes, affecting skin health.

Other factors like stress, which increases the stress hormone cortisol, and lifestyle choices, such as diet, can exacerbate hormonal acne.

Identify the Cause of Menopausal Acne

To manage acne effectively, you have to know what’s causing it! The first step is to have your hormones tested.

Your primary physician can order blood tests to check your hormone levels. However, because they do not specialize in balancing hormones, they may not provide you with the most effective treatment options.

Dr. Bruice focuses solely on treating hormone imbalances. A typical appointment with him includes a discussion of your health history and current symptoms. He will order lab tests to check your estradiol, progesterone, total and free testosterone, thyroid level, DHEA, and human growth hormone levels.

Within a week of your appointment, he will review your lab results and suggest a treatment plan. The treatment plan is individualized and based on your specific hormone levels.

Effective Treatments for Menopausal Acne

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapies (BHRT)

  • Dr. Bruice specializes in BHRT, which can help balance hormone levels and alleviate menopause symptoms, including acne. BHRT uses hormones that are identical in structure to those naturally produced by the body, making them more effective and safer than synthetic hormones.
  • BHRT is administered in pellet form. The pellet is the size of a grain of rice and is inserted under the skin. It releases hormones consistently throughout the day. This method ensures a steady level of hormones in the body, reducing hormone fluctuations that can contribute to menopausal acne.

Topical Treatments

  • Use topical treatments containing salicylic acid to help remove dead skin cells and reduce oil production.
  • Products with hyaluronic acid can keep mature skin hydrated, addressing issues of dry skin without exacerbating acne.
  • Choose skin care products tailored for sensitive skin to avoid irritation.
  • Keep the skin hydrated with products designed for mature skin.
  • Regularly cleanse your skin to remove excess oily substances and dead skin cells

Lifestyle Changes

  • Maintain a healthy diet to support skin health and reduce acne flare-ups.
  • Manage stress through activities like yoga or meditation to lower cortisol levels.

Take Control of Your Menopausal Symptoms

Menopause is a natural stage in every woman’s life, and acne is just one of the many changes that come with it. However, just because it’s a normal stage of life, doesn’t mean you have to suffer! If you are struggling with menopausal acne or any symptoms associated with menopause, BHRT may be the right solution for you.

Work with Dr. Bruice to identify the root cause of your symptoms and create an individualized treatment plan that can help you regain control of your health and well-being during this stage of life.

To book an appointment with Dr. Bruice in Denver, call (303) 957-6686. To book an appointment with Dr. Bruice in Aspen, call (970) 925-6655.

FAQs About Menopausal Acne

How Long Does Menopausal Acne Last?

Menopausal acne is a temporary condition and usually resolves once hormone levels stabilize. However, this can vary from person to person.

Why am I getting acne at age 57?

Acne can occur at any age and is not limited to teenagers. Hormonal changes during menopause can lead to acne flare-ups, even in women over 50.

Is acne common in perimenopause?

Yes, acne is common in perimenopause. This is due to the fluctuation of hormones as the body prepares for menopause. As estrogen levels decrease and androgen levels increase, it can disrupt the skin’s balance and contribute to acne breakouts.

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