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The Glow Guide To Hormones & Your Skin: The Forties

Your skin is many things, but consistent isn’t one of them. Everything from the weather to your sleep habits (or lack thereof) can have an impact on its condition. One major player that doesn’t get nearly enough attention is your hormones. Starting in your teenage years and well into middle age, your hormone levels fluctuate and can cause a host of complexion changes along the way. While men also have issues with hormone changes, they are not as wide-ranging and do not have the same impact on the skin as fluctuations for women do.  

In this new series, we’ll explore the effects hormones have on women’s skin at every age, plus what you can do to manage those swings and keep your skin sane. Because puberty, periods, and menopause are bad enough without adding skin troubles on top of them.

Remember when people used to think 40 was “over the hill”? Ha. Tell that to Kate Hudson, Tiffany Haddish, or Rosario Dawson — all of whom hit the big four-oh this year and are doing just fine, thanks.

With that said, women in their 40s definitely experience a hormonal peak and subsequent decline. Each woman is different, but most will start to experience signs of perimenopause — the years-long transition into menopause — by the time the decade is over. “Perimenopause is basically the decline in hormones,” says Jessie Cheung, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Willowbrook, Ill.  

During these years, which can start as early as the late 30s, the ovaries begin to produce less estrogen. Symptoms such as mood swings, hot flashes, and irregular periods may occur five or 10 years before actual menopause — which usually happens after age 45 and is defined by experiencing one full year without periods. 

Since your skin’s health and appearance are affected by hormones, this means you’re likely to see some changes as your body stops producing estrogen (and makes hardly any testosterone). From head to toe, skin becomes parched. “Suddenly, you’re dry everywhere — your hair, your face, the skin on your arms,” Dr. Cheung says. She adds that due to the remaining androgens, or male hormones, women may notice hair along their chins. “They may be more prone to adult acne along the beard line, which is a hormonally sensitive area,” she says. Oh, and the decline in estrogen means that your hair may thin, too. 

“Suddenly, you’re dry everywhere — your hair, your face, the skin on your arms,”

Jessie cheung, md

Another major change in your skin comes in the form of dry skin. As we age, our estrogen levels fall and skin cell turnover slows down, resulting in dryness and dullness. Which makes hydration extra important — ingredients like hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E are key in keeping dryness away. Our Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist features both of those hydrating powerhouses, plus skin-brightening AHAs and antioxidant watermelon extract to give you a hydration boost whenever skin feels parched. Bonus: Pop it in the fridge for a cooling treat when those hot flashes hit.

These effects of menopause, among others, explain why some women opt for hormone replacement therapy. (You’ll need to consult your doctor to understand the benefits and risks.) Whether you choose HRT or not, Dr. Cheung says, it’s important to maintain a gentle skin-care routine to keep skin well cared for.  “Look for ingredients like retinol, peptides, antioxidants,” she says. “All those things help your skin stay younger.” Because while your hormones may have wrapped up their journey, your skin still has decades of life ahead — so you might as well take the best possible care of it.

We’re sure you’ve got questions, so ask away! Tell us in the comments what issues you’re facing or what else it is you want to know.

And, check out our other guides to learn what hormones are doing to your skin at every age:

The Glow Guide To Hormones & Your Skin: The Teen Years

The Glow Guide To Hormones & Your Skin: The Twenties

The Glow Guide To Hormones & Your Skin: The Thirties


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