The average age women enter menopause is around 51. Among many other bodily changes, many women experience increased skin itchiness when they enter this stage of their lives. This is due to the loss of estrogen and other key hormones responsible for helping the skin retain moisture, leading to dryness and itchiness. If you're scratching your skin more often or finding your current moisturizing just doesn't seem to be doing the job any more, here are three things you can do to reduce itchiness.
Change Your Diet
There are a lot of external things you can do to treat skin itchiness, but one thing that will probably help the most is changing your body's internal environment. Your body uses the nutrients in the foods and drinks you consume to help rebuild and support important structures, such as the skin. Lack of essential vitamins and minerals or the consumption of harmful substances—such as caffeine and alcohol—can worsen skin problems and even introduce new ones.
To address skin itchiness specifically, the first thing you should do is switch to smart fats. Although the weight loss industry has made fats out to be a diet saboteur, the reality is the body requires a certain amount of fat to function properly. Specifically, it needs essential fatty acids—omega-3 and omega-6—for brain and skin health. These fats help your skin naturally increase oil production, which is necessary for retaining moisture, reducing dryness, and alleviating itchiness. Some good sources of healthy fats include salmon, extra virgin olive oil, walnuts, eggs, and avocados.
Other skin-saving foods you should incorporate are phytoestrogen producers. These foods contain an estrogen-like substance that performs in a similar way in the body as the actual hormone. The reduction of estrogen that occurs during menopause is the direct cause of dryer, itchier skin. Naturally boosting this hormone can help alleviate the problem. Foods that contain phytoestrogens include flaxseed, soy products (e.g. beans, nuts, and milk), sesame seeds, dried apricots, and legumes.
Change the Way You Bathe
The second thing you should do is change the way you're bathing yourself. Before menopause, your skin was likely hardy enough to handle whatever you threw at it, including hot showers and harsh soaps. After menopause, though, your skin can't bounce back from the weathering caused by your old routine.
Hot showers and baths may feel great—especially if you have arthritis or other conditions that cause chronic pain—but they strip the skin of its natural oils and causes it to dry out faster. Instead, bathe in warm or lukewarm water. Switch to a gentle, moisturizing soap, such as Dove or Ivory, and only target areas that actually need to be scrubbed, such as under your arms, your genitals, and your feet. Unless there is actual dirt on your other body parts, you can usually get away with simply rinsing the skin.
Last, before drying off, slather your skin with baby oil or petroleum jelly. This will help lock in more moisture. Be careful to do it outside of the bath, though; otherwise, you may get some on the tub floor and slip and fall.
Talk to Your Doctor About Hormone Replacement
As noted previously, itchy skin is caused by the decreased production of estrogen and other hormones. If your itchy skin is out of control or you're experiencing other unbearable menopausal symptoms, talk to your doctor or someone from a place like Jordan Valley Dermatology about hormone replacement therapy. Typically, you'll take medication (e.g. birth control pills) to increase production of or replace the hormones you're missing. This can help restore balance in your body and alleviate the symptoms of menopause.
For more tips on dealing with itchy skin, talk to a dermatologist in your area.Share
2 March 2017
When I was a teenager, I loved sunbathing to keep a golden tan. My family had no history of skin cancer, so I thought my skin was "invincible" to sun damage. Years later, as an adult, I noticed an unusual patch of skin on my arm. I had no idea what it was, but thankfully, I made an appointment with my GP to get it checked out. She referred me to a dermatologist who diagnosed me with very early stage skin cancer that could be treatable with a simple cream. I was very lucky that the cream worked, but if I had waited to visit the dermatologist until my skin cancer was more advanced, I would have had to have surgery to remove it. I decided to start a blog to share my story and post tips about skin health. Please come back often and learn more about skin!