Eliminating irritants: Menopause and dry, itchy skin

When skin is irritated, it itches, so you scratch it. It becomes dry and scaly, and so you scratch some more. In summer, itching is typically caused by mosquitos and other annoying critters, irritating plants and allergies.

Menopause | Body Care | Healthy Ageing

Sonia Chartier

23 February 2016


Did you know that the skin is an organ of elimination, and just like our kidneys and liver it releases more than a pound of waste products every day, so it is important to take care of it and give it a little extra helping hand. But one cause that doesn’t get much air time is itching caused by menopause. And believe it or not, you can safely blame it all on estrogens yet again! 

Estrogen plays many roles, which never cease to amaze! One of its functions is to regulate tissue hydration and stimulate collagen production. Collagen is a fibre that gives strength and elasticity to your skin. When your skin lacks collagen, wrinkles develop and your skin loses its ability to remain hydrated.

See the domino effect? During menopause, estrogen levels drop, which slows the production of collagen and oils, which makes your skin dry and wrinkled… But you’re not going to just sit there and take it, right?

The face’s famous T-zone is often the first to be affected by dryness and itching. This tendency, which typically appears during pre-menopause, is not limited to the face and can extend to your entire body. If you notice these changes happening, the first thing to do is temper certain aggravating factors: stress and acidity.

Start from within

Stress and acidity are closely linked, with the former causing the latter. So it’s important to know how to manage your stress. Stress causes histamines to be released, potentially causing redness, itching and even rashes.

When your body has to deal with stress, it produces acidic substances which, in excessive amounts, have a number of harmful effects, including dry, itchy skin. A number of natural supplements can help you deal with the many signs of stress. However, to help your body manage stress effectively, a supplement containing zinc, rhodiola and flowering oats just can’t be beat.

Eliminate excess acidity and rehydrate your skin by drinking two litres of water a day. Nettle is a particularly powerful ally in helping your kidneys eliminate acids. If the idea of drinking that much water turns your stomach, drink it in the form of herbal tea or try adding some fresh-squeezed lemon to it. Keep in mind that drinking black tea, coffee, juice and soft drinks won’t work to your advantage. Some foods should also be avoided.

To keep hydrated, your skin needs fats, in particular good ones like omega-3 fatty acids. And to be frank, most of us don’t get enough. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fishes like salmon and sardines, in seaweed, in soy, in nuts and in flax and safflower oil. They are also available in supplement form.

Zinc can also help replenish collagen. A supplement made up of zinc, brewer’s yeast, nettle and millet provides skin with all the nutrients it needs.

4 tips to stop the itch

  • Protect yourself from the sun, as it dries the skin and worsens wrinkles. Use a wide-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15.
  • Forego hot showers and baths, even if they’re relaxing: very hot water removes your skin’s naturally protective oils. There’s no need to take a cold shower: just turn down the heat.
  • Use mild, unscented soap. Because soap removes our naturally hydrating oils, don’t give yourself an overly thorough cleaning: other than certain strategic areas, your body probably doesn’t need a complete scrubbing every day.
  • When you get out of the shower, immediately apply moisturizing lotion.If you’ve got sensitive skin, avoid scented creams and lotions.

With these simple tips, your skin will be looking fine in no time. Don’t let your hormones get the best of you!