To put it as simply as possible: Your sex hormones (like estrogen and progesterone) have a pretty big impact on your skin health—so when they start to decline during menopause, you may notice some structural skin changes as well. The most well-known shift is probably a lack of moisture, but menopause can also contribute to dullness, sensitivity, and even acne.
“As our hormones diminish in menopause, the functions they perform to maintain the health and vitality of the skin diminish as well, characterized by a change in sweat, sebum, and the immune functions resulting in significant alterations in the skin surface including pH, lipid composition, and sebum secretion,” board-certified dermatologist Keira Barr, M.D., previously told mbg about menopause and skin. “These changes also provide potential alterations in the skin that may affect the skin microbiome.”
Menopause is also famously associated with a drop in collagen: Your collagen levels naturally fall about 1% a year1 once you enter your 20s, but once you hit menopause, you experience a 30% drop in collagen in the first five years, with a 2% dip every year after that. Considering collagen is what literally holds your skin together (making it appear firm and taut), this stark decline can come with some notable changes—namely wrinkles and sagging.