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Menopausal Acne

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Published: 6 Dec 2012      

Just when you began to accept some of the changes that turning 40 brings, pre menopausal acne can start rearing its ugly head.  Just like the not so tidy body shape and  the gray in your hair that, although annoying, actually has given it body for the first time.

Never in your wildest dreams do you imagine you would be struggling with pre menopausal acne. We’re not talking about an occasional blemish here – we’re talking about full-blown what is that thing on my face, don’t want to leave the house outbreaks that are a completely new experience.

A few factors can contribute to acne in general, and menopause acne in particular

  • Anything that compromises the immune system will exacerbate acne. 
  • Emotional stress. 
  • Nutritional deficiencies. 
  • Here’s the biggie…hormonal imbalances in which the body produces too much androgen.

What do adolescence and menopause have in common?

Oh, just about EVERYTHING. Adolescents and middle-aged women both require additional sleep to cope with the changes in their emotional and biological health. They both experience moodiness because their hormones are a little off. And they both may suffer from acne.

Hormones and menopause acne

Acne can be caused by increases in our androgen hormones such as DHEA and testosterone that can occur at midlife, these hormones increase the production of sebum by the sebaceous glands.

However, androgen levels affect woman very differently, and while one woman, with exactly the same levels as another, has no menopause acne, the other will be covered with acne on her face, back and chest.

Your probably reading this article because you want to know what to do about it, not because you want to understand the physiology. So, here are some suggestions:

  • Eat a healthful diet. 
  • Take a good vitamin and mineral supplement .
  • Lose body fat. Ok, as if it were that easy. Excess body fat increases your androgen levels.
  • Try tea tree oil on any pimples you notice. It has antibacterial properties.
  • Drink 8 glasses of water every day. 
  • Get a professional facial with someone who knows what they’re doing. Do this once a month until your acne has cleared.
  • Cleanse your skin twice daily with a gentle (no alcohol or astringents) cleanser. Over drying the skin, contrary to what you may think, only causes more pimples because the skin thinks it’s too dry and it overcompensates by producing more grease. Also, you need to preserve the acid mantle of the skin because it is your body’s natural defence against breakouts. 
  • Use cool water or a toner to close the pores.
  • Gently exfoliate twice a week. 
  • If your skin is dry, which it may be even if you have acne, use a gentle moisturiser.
  • Exercise encourages the free flow of sebum.
  • Use a sauna to sweat out the toxins. 
  • Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin.


The best way to deal with menopause acne is a two-pronged approach. Do everything you can to try to balance your hormones with a healthful diet, fitness and then use a gentle external approach with gentle cleansing, exfoliating, and professional facials.