Can Menopause Trigger Skin Allergies?
Every woman entering the menopause stage knows about the typical night sweats, mood swings, and hot flashes associated with the transition. Skin allergies, on the other hand, may sit at the lower end of the spectrum, becoming a cause of frustration for many as rashes go undiagnosed.
"My mom has an elastane allergy, and I expect I will develop this allergy after [entering] menopause," wrote Sara, a customer who, impelled by her anticipation, turned to 100% organic cotton clothing to find solutions to her potential skin woes.
Elastane, also known as Spandex, is a synthetic material widely used in the textile industry for its extreme stretchability. From yoga pants and leggings to underwear and any flexible clothing you can think of, elastane is pretty much responsible for their quality.
Aside from the elasticity, this synthetic fiber is also recognized for its rubber-like texture, exceptional durability, and resistance to wear and tear. Unfortunately, elastane also has its fair share of consequences.
It traps moisture, offers poor insulation and breathability, and contains carcinogenic chemicals like polyurethane that can cause asthma reactions, itchy rashes, and even lung irritation. That's mainly the reason why people with skin allergies and sensitivities opt not to wear clothes with elastane, preventing skin irritation from happening.
WHAT'S THE CONNECTION BETWEEN MENOPAUSE AND SKIN ALLERGIES?
It's no secret that menopause can bring about many physical changes in women between the ages of 40 and 58. According to Healthline, periods become irregular and eventually stop "as estrogen production slows and the ovaries stop producing eggs." As estrogen levels decline, symptoms usually occur, such as:
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- mood swings
- vaginal dryness
- sleep problems
- digestive issues
- and even stress
However, estrogen, a known powerhouse hormone, not only affects a woman's body's menstrual cycle but also plays a vital role in women's skin health. The health website reported that shifts in estrogen levels before and during menopause may "leave your skin more vulnerable to redness, bumps, and other signs of irritation.”
Since estrogen helps the skin stay moisturized by stimulating the production of natural oils and collagen, a lack, reduction, or shift of its levels can make your skin itch, causing it to be more sensitive than usual and leaving your skin more vulnerable to redness, bumps, and other signs of irritation.
"This sensitivity makes you more likely to get a rash or hives when you're exposed to irritating substances like itchy fabrics, perfumes, and dyes," Healthline added. “Skin sensitivity may cause red bumps or hives to form when you come into contact with irritating substances.”
ESTROGEN AND HISTAMINE
According to the Carolina Hormone & Health Center, researchers have understood through years of studies that histamine-induced allergic reactions can vary according to the hormonal changes brought on by a typical menstrual cycle.
In other words, your body's production of estrogen is directly correlated with the level of histamine, a hormone that is released in response to allergens and binds to receptors that cause symptoms like swelling and itching.
"This is extremely relevant to menopause, as your body contains frequently fluctuating levels of estrogen that then lead to spikes in the production of histamine. This means that your body is, at times, more sensitive to allergens than usual," the health website reported in an article.
When transitioning to menopause, they explained that women may experience worsened congestion due to seasonal allergies; some may also find that foods that they were previously able to eat now cause hives. Others, meanwhile, react to previously harmless allergens.
TYPES OF SKIN PROBLEMS DURING MENOPAUSE
Women may experience different types of itching during menopause:
Acne is among the many skin changes brought on by menopause. As estrogen levels decline, testosterone levels then increase, resulting in oily skin and clogged pores and increasing your skin’s susceptibility to acne. After all, menopause is the biggest hormonal change a woman experiences in her lifetime, and hormonal changes are one of the main causes of acne.
According to Medical News Today, the skin loses its elasticity and becomes drier during menopause. Because of this, women are more sensitive to certain products like detergents and soaps, which irritate their skin and cause inflammation and itching.
“Some people experience itching in addition to tingling, prickling, or numbness of the skin. This is known as paresthesia,” it said.
Medical News Today also revealed in the same article that vaginal issues could develop or worsen during or after menopause due to lower estrogen levels. Referred to as "vulvar pruritus," vaginal itching occurs if a person experiences vaginal dryness, which is another common symptom of menopause.
“Low levels of estrogen can make the vaginal tissues drier and thinner than usual. When this happens, it is called vaginal atrophy or atrophic vaginitis, which can make the vagina or vulva feel itchy and painful. It may also make sex more painful,” the health blog added.
Aside from the hormonal changes, the emotional and physical stress of menopause may also trigger hives on the skin. According to Health Central, the changing estrogen levels increase histamine levels in the body, causing hives.
While there aren't any definitive answers on the connection between menopause and chronic urticaria, scientific research points out that "urticaria may be associated with some diseases and conditions characterized by hormonal changes.”
SLOW HEALING WOUNDS
The ability of wounds to heal more slowly is another potential side effect of menopause. If you cut yourself or bump yourself, you might discover that healing takes much longer.
A study found that women's skin becomes thinner and heals wounds more slowly after menopause. The loss of estrogen is to blame, according to a global team, and estrogen replacement therapy significantly accelerates wound healing.
WORSENING SKIN CONDITIONS
In case you were wondering, your symptoms can get worse during menopause. According to PositivePause, depleting hormone levels may trigger skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or acne rosacea since the skin becomes "drier and more prone to irritation."
Medical News Today also echoed the same thing, adding that a "decrease in estrogen during menopause can cause the skin to become drier and less resilient and may lead to the development of eczema."
Common symptoms of eczema can include:
- itchy skin
- sensitive skin
- inflamed or swollen skin, which may appear discolored
- scaly or rough patches of skin
- crusting or oozing
Tips for managing menopause eczema include but are not limited to:
- Choosing fragrance-free skin care products to avoid irritating the skin or causing a flare-up.
- Applying a moisturizer straight after bathing or whenever the skin feels dry.
- Taking shorter showers or baths in lukewarm water.
- Eating a balanced, nutritious diet with plenty of fats, protein, and zinc, which all promote healing and vitamin C to help fight infection.
- Using 100% cotton towels, sheets, and loose-fitting clothing. This allows the skin to breathe and may be less irritating than other fabrics.
WEAR ORGANIC COTTON CLOTHES
As with other skin conditions, comfort is critical for people undergoing menopause, so make sure that those who experience its symptoms are wearing clothes made with the highest cotton content possible. Good thing, we have put the purity of our clothing as our highest priority.
Our allergy-free organic cotton collections, made without synthetic fibers and other harmful chemicals, promise allergy-free comfort with every wear. From tops and bottoms to accessories and masks, each piece is made through safe processes, preventing skin irritations and flare-ups.
Head over to our website to find clothing choices made from 100% organic cotton that work for your skin. While we may not be able to cure psoriasis itself, we can at least control how we live with it.
DISCLAIMER: The information presented on Cottonique is not, and will never be, intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content materials found on this site, from text, treatments, outcomes, charts, graphics, photographs, and study findings, are created and published for general informational purposes only. It should not, in any way, be construed as a standard of care to be followed by a user of the website.
Thus, readers are encouraged to verify any information obtained from this website with other accurate references and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with their physician. As Cottonique strives to help those with allergies live with better days, the hypoallergenic apparel brand encourages everyone to always seek the advice of their physician or other qualified health providers with any questions they may have regarding a medical condition.