Menopause and itchy skin

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Menopause is defined as a point in time when a person does not have a natural period for 12 consecutive months. This is caused by a change in hormone levels as part of the ageing process.

One of the lesser-known symptoms of menopause is itchy skin which can cause discomfort and soreness but, although ageing is inevitable, there are options to help treat menopausal itching.

What causes itching during menopause?

Menopausal itching is caused by fluctuating hormone levels that can dry out the skin and cause it to become thinner. As women or those assigned female at birth age, their bodies produce less oestrogen. Apart from playing a part in the menstrual cycle, oestrogen supports the skin barrier, regulates oil production and helps with collagen production. This, in turn, maintains the skin's thickness, elasticity and moisture.

When the levels of oestrogen in a person’s body declines, there is less oestrogen available to support the skin's functions.

  • Due to its functions being impaired, the skin can be more susceptible to irritation.
  • When the skin is irritated, the skin’s barrier is disturbed.
  • Our bodies recognise this disturbance and our cells release histamine.
  • Receptors in the skin send this information to our brain.
  • Finally, our brains prompt us to scratch the itch.
It is important to be mindful that excessive scratching can damage the skin and worsen the itch.

Types of itching and how to treat them

People may experience different types and areas of itching during menopause, which can require different care products:

Menopause: skin itching

As the skin becomes drier and loses elasticity, it can become more sensitive to products like soaps and detergents which can irritate the skin and cause inflammation, as well as itchiness.

In addition to itchiness, people going through menopause may also feel paresthesia (a tingly sensation, similar to pins and needles) and formication (the sensation of insects crawling on the skin). These sensations are most commonly felt on the chest, back, limbs, face and neck.

The Eucerin AtoControl range can help treat itching by effectively restoring a damaged skin barrier and protecting it from dehydration. It contains nourishing and anti-oxidant active ingredients such as Licochalcone A to support healing and alleviate inflammation.

Menopause: scalp itching

Due to the role oestrogen plays in supporting and regulating oil production in the skin, the reduced levels of oestrogen during menopause can have an effect on the scalp.

As it becomes less-moisturised, the scalp can become more prone to dryness and itching. Furthermore, a lot of shampoos are formulated with oil-stripping ingredients which can dry out the scalp even more and worsen the itchiness. 

To prevent this, it is recommended to use a targeted treatment on the scalp that can help soothe and calm the irritation caused by dryness as well as a shampoo that will not inflame the skin. DermoCapillaire Calming Urea Scalp Treatment contains urea, a natural moisturising factor that binds in water to relieve dryness and provides intensive moisture, while Calming Urea Shampoo nourishes the scalp and gives the hair a healthy shine.

Menopause: genital itching

As the skin on a person's body can dry out, so can the skin on their genitals. This results in pain, itching and discomfort both in the vagina and on the vulva. While over-the-counter treatments are available to help with genital itching and dryness, it is recommended to see a doctor for intimate health concerns.

Menopause: itching at night

Menopause itching has been found to get more severe at night, although the reason for this is unclear. It could potentially be because we are more aware of skin sensations at night or because of exposure to allergens and irritants before going to bed. Learn more here.

Menopausal skincare

As the skin changes over time, so does its needs. Menopausal skin requires a skincare routine that looks after drier, older skin.

The DermatoCLEAN [HYALURON] range has been created to provide gentle yet effective cleansing for sensitive skin and contains Hyaluronic Acid to help skin maintain its natural moisture balance. 

Separately, the Hyaluron-Filler + Elasticity range has been specially formulated to look after mature skin by plumping up deep wrinkles, improving elasticity and accelerating collagen renewal in skin cells. 

We recommend combining the two ranges in the following skincare routine in order to cleanse, protect and restore menopausal skin:

1. Cleanse:

Cleanse the skin using a suitable DermatoCLEAN [HYALURON] cleanser. There are a range of options available for different preferences, however we recommend DermatoCLEAN [HYALURON] Cleansing Milk for dry and sensitive skin.

2. Tone:

Follow with DermatoCLEAN [HYALURON] Toner to prepare the skin to absorb the active ingredients in the remaining products.

3. Special care:

Apply the Hyaluron-Filler + Elasticity 3D Serum before your day or night cream to target signs of ageing like age spots and deep wrinkles.

4. Moisturise:

Apply the appropriate day or night moisturiser and eye cream. There are a range of options to choose from with varying levels of SPF protection.

5. Additional protection:

Some moisturisers and eye creams contain SPF, but if extra protection is needed we recommend Photoageing Control Fluid SPF 50 to protect the skin from HEVIS light, as well as UVA and UVB rays.

Home remedies for itchy skin

While we recommend using targeting skincare product for the specific symptoms of menopausal skin, trying some home remedies may also help soothe dry, itchy skin:

  • Using a cold compress, for example, a wet towel.
  • Bathing in colloidal oats. Colloidal oats are oats in powder form which, when incorporated in a bath, can soften and soothe the skin.
  • Using warm water to bathe instead of hot water, which can strip the skin of its natural oils and dry it out even further.

Medical treatments

In some cases, menopausal itching may be more severe and medical treatments may be required:

  • Steroid creams: They can provide relief from itching, however prolonged use can be harmful to the skin.
  • Hormone replacement therapy: While not a solution specific to itching, this is a treatment for general menopause symptoms, as it helps replenish the declining oestrogen levels. Anyone interested in HRT should speak to their doctor.

Learn more about itchy skin and how to treat it here.

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