Skin Pigment Changes & Menopause

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Hormonal changes experienced during menopause can bring on darkening of the skin, as a lack of estrogen causes it to grow thin and lax, making capillaries and veins more visible. Thankfully, there are several effective treatments for menopause-related skin discoloration.

Types

  • Liver spots, also known as age spots, have nothing to do with the liver. They result from an increase in melanin at the base of the epidermis. Rosacea is the appearance of capillaries under the skin sometimes experienced during menopause.

Causes

  • Melanin increases as the hormone estrogen decreases, which results in hyper-pigmentation, or age spots. These liver spots appear during and after menopause. Hot flashes can directly cause rosacea, as capillaries expand and break as a response to feeling hot. These capillaries typically become visible around the nose and cheeks.

Warning

  • Mayoclinic.com says sun exposure can exacerbate menopause-related skin changes, as tanning increases the production of melanin, and sunburn increases the appearance of rosacea. Ask your doctor to examine any changes in your skin to rule out skin cancers.

Treatment

  • There are several over-the-counter skin-lightening creams that reduce the appearance of age spots. Fair-skinned women typically have more success with these treatments than women with dark complexions. For those who do not have success with creams there are laser treatments, which can effectively treat increased pigmentation and rosacea. The results of these treatments are impressive but expensive.

Medication

  • Ask your doctor for Retin-A to reduce liver spots. Retin-A can be applied at home and minimizes age spots and wrinkles. In addition, hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, can restore estrogen levels, which prevents new age spots from forming and reverses menopause-related rosacea.

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References

  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Randy
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