By Womaness Editors 5-Minute Read
One of the most noticeable issues in menopause? Drier, more sensitive skin. (Ugh.) That’s because fluctuating hormones weaken your skin barrier, the outermost layer of the skin's surface that keeps the good stuff in (like moisture) and the bad stuff out (pollutants and toxins). As that barrier loses some of its moisture, your skin becomes less vibrant and more prone to irritation.
That said, repairing and protecting your skin barrier becomes a major priority in menopause...making right now the right time to shake up your skincare routine and get back your glow. Here's how to start.
1. INSIST ON BETTER INGREDIENTS
In this phase, you need (and deserve!) clean ingredients that nurture the skin you’re now in. That means selecting products made with ingredients that help restore hydration and keep your skin barrier healthier.
When it comes to hydration, look for ingredients that act as natural humectants, which draw in water and bind it to your skin barrier to help it retain moisture. These include glycerin and hyaluronic acid, a key molecule involved in your skin’s moisture shown to visibly reduce wrinkles by up to 40%.
Gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin, ingredients like niacinamide can help strengthen your skin barrier. Multiple studies show that it increases skin’s ceramides, those lipids (or oils) that act like the body’s natural moisturizer, making up 50% of your skin’s moisture barrier. But the benefits don’t stop there: niacinamide also brightens dark spots, boosts collagen, and reduces inflammation.
Another smart ingredient for your skin? Vitamin C. Known for preventing damage from UV rays and pollution (which are particularly tough on thinner skin in menopause), it also deeply hydrates, brightens, improves texture, and even works to help produce natural collagen.
2. RETHINK THE FIRST STEP OF YOUR ROUTINE
Once you shift into menopause, your skin becomes noticeably drier…and you notice the products you’ve used on it for ages have become less effective (or, yeesh, even begin to irritate your skin).
Chances are, you’re aware that upgrading your moisturizer is the right move to take for your drier skin. But there’s another step in your routine you might be overlooking (and it’s an important one): your first step, cleansing. The foam or gel cleansers you used in the past no longer cut it; they tend to strip sensitive skin of moisture and compromise the skin barrier, creating even drier skin.
The key? Opting for a gentle cream cleanser created with hydration (and menopausal skin) in mind, like Clean Slate. Formulated with hyaluronic acid and chamomile extract, it effectively removes makeup, oil, and residue—leaving skin soft and replenished...not dry or tight like the cleansers of yesteryear.
"The foam or gel cleansers you used in the past no longer cut it; they tend to strip sensitive skin of moisture and compromise the skin barrier, creating even drier skin."
3. ADD GENTLE RETINOL BEFORE BED
Long considered the gold standard for smoothing fine lines, increasing elasticity, and speeding up cell turnover (with the scientific evidence to back it up), retinol is a powerful skincare must-have…and if you haven’t been using it, now is the perfect time to start. But be selective: it can potentially irritate sensitive menopausal skin, causing stinging, flakiness, or extra sun sensitivity. Look for a gentler formula that’s better for your skin today, such as Plump It Up.
“Developing the formula took us a while because we wanted to get it right for menopausal skin,” explains our co-founder and product formulator Michelle Jacobs. “We finally landed on an effective 0.3% dose for Plump It Up...enough retinol to improve your skin’s overall look and minimize the downsides.”
Because it can make skin more sensitive to UV rays, it’s best to apply retinol in your nighttime routine. Use it after cleansing (and thoroughly drying) your face and before moisturizing. As always, be sure to use SPF 30 or higher during the day.
P.S. Retinol still too strong for your sensitive skin? Opt instead for its plant-based cousin, Bakuchiol.
4. TRY SKIN CYCLING
It’s the trend blowing up TikTok…and we’re loving it for menopausal skin. Coined by NY-based dermatologist Whitney Bowe, skin cycling is an easy four-night routine that can help reduce inflammation while resurfacing your skin, smoothing lines, clearing blemishes, and getting rid of dark spots.
Instead of using all your products every night, with skin cycling, you rotate three specific products nightly: a chemical exfoliant, retinol, and a restorative serum. Here’s how it works:
Every night, cleanse as usual, then cycle your products (and repeat!):
NIGHT ONE: Exfoliate with a chemical exfoliant (like Brighten Up)
NIGHT TWO: Rejuvenate with retinol (like Plump It Up)
NIGHTS THREE & FOUR: Recover with a restorative serum (like Fountain of Glow)
EVERY NIGHT: Hydrate with a nightly moisturizer (like Overnight Magic)
… then return to night one and repeat.
This routine is particularly smart for more sensitive aging skin because you’ll help prevent over-exfoliation, possible retinoid reactions, and irritation, dryness, and redness while harnessing the benefits of these powerhouse solutions. The best part? You extend the life of products when you don’t use them every night, so you’re saving money, too.
"Skin Cycling is the trend blowing up TikTok…and we’re loving it for menopausal skin."
5. CONSIDER SUPPLEMENTATION
Getting a daily dose of ultra-hydrators like hyaluronic acid isn’t limited to topical treatments. Oral supplementation is another solution—and it’s turning out to be just as effective.
This study, for example, showed that the oral intake of hyaluronic acid “inhibits skin wrinkles and improves skin condition.” In addition, this extensive study found the ingestion of oral hyaluronic acid supplements to exhibit a “statistically significant increase in skin hydration and elasticity” as well as a “significant decrease in skin roughness and wrinkle depth.” Overall, the researchers stated, “intake of hyaluronic acid over a longer period of time seems to have a positive impact on skin health.”
Interested in adding a hyaluronic acid supplement to your routine? We’ve got you. With its 120mg dosage of hyaluronic acid (along with biotin and pomegranate extract—both of which help improve skin health), our supplement Active Glow is a simple way to start supporting your skin from the inside out.