Acne, it seems, spares no age group. You can develop it as a preteen while experiencing puberty, develop it later in life with hormonal changes in your 20s or 30s (the bemoaned adult acne), and yes, you can get blemishes during menopause. And the thing is acne is a complex skin condition that has many contributing factors—some internal (like genetics or diet), some external (improper skin care routines), some environmental (the weather), and some lifestyle (you regularly work out in makeup).
So, if you think about it, of course it can affect you at any stage of life, as there may be a number of reasons you are breaking out at the moment (this is especially true if you are genetically predisposed to it).
In menopause, acne seems to be the result of significant hormonal changes that alter the skin.
“As our hormones diminish in menopause, the functions they perform to maintain the health and vitality of the skin diminish as well, characterized by a change in sweat, sebum, and the immune functions resulting in significant alterations in the skin surface including pH, lipid composition, and sebum secretion,” board-certified dermatologist Keira Barr, M.D., previously told us about menopause and skin. “These changes also provide potential alterations in the skin that may affect the skin microbiome.”
But unlike teenage acne, which is usually triggered by a massive uptick of sebum production, menopausal acne is typically the result of a hormonal imbalance (when your estrogen drops, your skin is thrown into a state of confusion as it regulates much of your skin’s behavior), shifting microflora, and inflamed skin. Thus, it takes a much different approach to treat it.
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