What is the best menopause skin care?
Jules Walters • Updated: July 21, 2023
Latest options rated and reviewed for menopause skin care
One of the tell-tale signs of aging is sagging skin. “If menopause were on Yelp, it would have one star,” says Jen Gunter, MD, a gynecologist and the author of The Menopause Manifesto. Good menopause skin care can help.
The symptoms of menopause start years before periods finally finish and can last for years. Our skin changes and starts to feel dry and those fine lines and wrinkles seem to multiply. What’s partly causing these changes is a dramatic decline in estrogen production, which drops to near zero after menopause.
These changes in hormone levels do not help our skin, which need estrogen production to support skin elasticity and thickness and increase collagen production: the building blocks of skin structure.
Many women seek cosmetic and medical treatments to slow down the aging process in mature skin. But there are options for menopause skin care you can do at home, including face creams for estrogen-deficient skin.
I’ve tried many of the beauty brands to slow down skin aging and here are my favorites as part of a good menopause skin care routine.
Jules’ picks for best menopause skin care
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Alloy M4 Mega Miracle Menopause Moisturizer
M4 is made by telehealth company Alloy, which specializes in menopause. As the female founders state, menopause is 100% inevitable AND also 100% treatable. The cream needs to be prescribed by a doctor on the Alloy team as it contains a hormone that is a type of estrogen. So you’ll need to first fill in some online forms and, if you’re suitable, the cream will arrive in the post.
The formula includes estriol, a type of estrogen for menopausal skin, plus glycerin, oleic acid and vitamin E. You put the cream directly on your face to boost estrogen levels locally.
One tube contains gives you a three-month supply. I found a definite improvement in my skin’s firmness within a couple of weeks of using M4 as part of menopause skin care.
Emepelle Night Cream
Emepelle doesn’t use hormones but rather something that activates hormone receptors in skin called MEP (or methyl estradiolpropanoate, if you want the full name). It’s another approach to menopause skin care.
The company has published results of fourteen women, aged 53-68, who used the night cream plus Empelle Serum in the morning. After 20 weeks, 93% reported skin improvements. The cream also includes retinoids (from vitamin A), niacinamide (vitamin B3) – so a good answer for thinning skin.
Empelle’s data shows best results with their night cream plus Serum in the morning. The serum also uses MEP technology, plus active ingredients vitamin C, vitamin E, niacinamde (vitamin B3) and hyaluronic acid.
You need to wear sunscreen on top with broad spectrum protection from UV damage from the sun.
Paula's Choice Phytoestrogen Elasticity Renewal Body Treatment
Another way to address menopausal changes is to use estrogens from plants, called phytoestrogens. Paula’s Choice uses two phytoestrogens, daidzein and genistein, for menopause skin care.
Extracted from soybeans, these isoflavones in skincare products have shown the ability to decrease skin damage, particularly by protecting aging skin from UVB light.
ClarityRx Feel Better Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Cream
ClarityRx’s formula delivers hyaluronic acid with apricot oil, rich in vitamins A & E, plus a jojoba seed oil to enhance the skin barrier. Hyaluronic acid has got a lot of attention recently – so exactly what is it?
Hyaluronic acid is found throughout our bodies and particularly in our eyes, joints and skin as it helps things move smoothly, a bit like oil in a machine. It’s particularly good at retaining water, which is why it helps dry skin, improving skin moisture and our skin’s elasticity.
ClarityRx Daily Dose of Water Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum
ClarityRx’s morning wake-up serum boosts skin firmness through a fast-absorbing formula with hyaluronic acid and purified water. It’s recommended to put on a thin layer in the morning and at night to improve skin quality. Our skin loses moisture as we age. Our natural skin moisture is reduced by half by the time we’re fifty. That’s why menopause skin care is so important.
SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
This formula is particularly suited for menopausal skin, replacing essential lipids that decline as we age, including ceramides, which is a kind of fat found in skin.
It also includes vitamin E and natural cholesterol and fatty acids that protect the skin and prevent it from dryness. It’s 2% ceramides, 4% cholesterol and 2% fatty acids to replenish skin cell turnover.
EltaMD AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer
This one is safe for sensitive skin as it’s oil-free and fragrance free with niacinamide (vitamin B3), salicylic acid from willow bark extract, plus an anti-oxidant and hyaluronic acid to help retain moisture.This cream doesn’t include a sun screen so again it’s important to put a sunscreen on top.
The main environmental driver of aging in our skin is ultraviolet radiation so best to get into the habit of protecting our body’s biggest organ by regularly using a sun screen when we’re outside.
SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel
This hydrating cleanser contains glycolic acid and salicylic acid, which acts as a gentle exfoliant on menopausal skin. It removes dirt and impurities but retains skin moisture. Finding a gentle cleanser is really important as part of our menopause skin care routine.
SkinCeutical’s founder Sheldon Pinnell was a board certified dermatologist and a professor of dermatology for almost 40 years at Duke University Medical School so they’ve done the homework on what works and what doesn’t, particularly for menopausal skin care.
Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta AHA/BHA Daily Cleansing Gel
Another board certified dermatologist, who has produced a skin care line, is Dr Dennis Gross. This gentle cleanser uses synthetic detergents to give a pH-balanced cleanse to remove dirt and leave the skin intact.
Jasmine and bisabolol help to calm the skin.
SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex Wrinkle Eye Cream
Those fine lines often show up around our eyes first so a powerful eye cream can help to smooth out those wrinkles. This formula includes blueberry extract, and Proxylane, which helps to our skin’s extra-cellular matrix.
It also reduces the appearance of dark circles.
A bit more on the science of menopause skin care
Collagen is one of the main building blocks of skin and helps skin cells to renew and repair. Collagen production goes down as we age, declining about 1-1.5% a year, which contributes to our skin looking thin.
We can stimulate collagen production by taking collagen supplements and even taking hyaluronic acid as a supplement or in a cream. Hyaluronic acid supports collagen production and a 2021 study found it significantly improved skin condition.
After menopause, women produce far less estrogen than in their youth and this loss of estrogen accelerates skin aging. It is worth a conversation with your primary care doctor or OB/GYN about what options might be right for you to boost estrogen levels after menopause.
Telehealth companies like ByWinona, that specialize in prescribing treatments for women with symptoms caused by menopause. They also have monthly Q&As, which I’ve found really helpful to hear from other women and to share our lived experience.
Does retinol help menopause skin care?
Yes, research has shown that retinol, a type of vitamin A, increases skin cell production, particularly collagen, and reduced wrinkled after 12 weeks. Lots of skin creams and serums contain retinol.
You may also see other kinds of retinoids listed as retinaldehyde or retinyl esters on an ingredient list. They are all forms of vitamin A. Most creams contain up to 1% of retinol.
What about vitamin C in menopause skin care?
We do know that important to form collagen and as an anti-oxidant against UV damage. Our skin naturally has vitamin C both in the top layer, the epidermis, as well as in the level below, the dermis. Menopause skin has shown lower levels of vitamin C.
There are a number of ways to get more vitamin C. One way is to eat fruit and vegetables rich in vitamin C, like oranges, kiwifruit, spinach and other leafy green vegetables.
Many supplements that support bone density often contain vitamin C and skin creams. One study found that applying vitamin C in a cream significantly improved wine lines and wrinkles. Face creams often use vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid.
What about soap?
The top layer of our skin has been described as being a bit like a brick and mortar structure on a home. The mortar is made up of what we think of as natural oils including ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids.
We want to keep our skin clean to remove any dirt and impurities but to do so in a way that doesn’t remove the skin’s protective natural barrier.
Most of the impurities found on skin are not soluble in water so cleaning skin with water alone is not enough, as part of menopause skin care.
Our ancestors figured this out thousands of years ago. The Babylonians used soap-like materials on their skin two to three thousand years ago.
Soap is a salt of fatty acid, usually from animal or vegetable fat, like olive oil, palm oil or coconut oil. More recently syndets, short for synthetic plus detergents, have emerged as a more gentle alternative to soaps, particularly for irritated skin.
Soap or syndet for menopause skin care?
Syndets or syntethic detergents are made by a chemical process and derived from fats, petrochemicals or oil-based products. The good news is that syndets, like those in SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel, are closer to our skin’s natural pH and support healthy skin.
Our skin is slightly acidic, around 4.0-6.0 pH; syndets are 5.5-7.0 and soap tends to be more alkaline at 8.5-11.0 pH.
So if you want to be as gentle as possible on postmenopausal skin, syndet is the way to go.
A final word on menopause skin care
Whatever your skincare routine, one of the best things you can do is wear sunscreen with a broad spectrum sunscreen whenever you’re outside, to protect from UVA and UVB sun rays. UVB rays are the most powerful and can cause skin cancer. A good sun screen will prevent further damage from both types of sun rays.
Another thing to consider is to use a mild cleanser in the evening as part of a menopause skin care regimen. Find one with a syndet (synthetic detergent), rather than soap, which is particularly good for thinner skin.
Our skin changes over time, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept that it’s all down hill and that dry skin is inevitable. Visual signs will give us clues that hormonal changes are impacting our skin health.
Products for menopause skin care that boost collagen and help to retain moisture can make a big difference to the appearance or not of those fine lines.