Why your midlife skin may be more sensitive than it used to be

Why can midlife skin suddenly become more sensitive?

Have you suddenly suffered an allergic reaction to a product you’ve used for ages? Is your usual laundry detergent suddenly making your skin feel itchy?

Midlife skin along with everything else in the body can suddenly appear to be a bit more sensitive than it used to be. During perimenopause and menopause sebum production can be lower which means our skin becomes dryer. This can lead to our skin barrier becoming compromised, which can make our skin more prone to allergens getting through the skin. Also, repeated exposure of certain ingredients over the years can lead to skin immune cells producing an immune reaction against these commonly exposed ingredients. This explains why we can suddenly get an allergic reaction to a favourite product we have used for many years without any problem at all. Studies have also shown that midlife skin can often have a “delayed reaction” to repeated exposure of common allergy triggers in products (fragrance and preservatives are two of the worst offenders).


What can we do about it?

If you suddenly develop a rash on the face or neck, the first thing to do is to remove all products with fragrance from your skincare routine. This includes bath and shower products too as anything with fragrance will make the problem worse. Fragrance is the most common ingredient in self care products that causes skin sensitivities in allergies.


Stop using whatever skincare you’re using go back to basics. Just choose a really simple cleanser and moisturiser. A non-foaming creamy cleanser is best – something like Cerave Hydrating Cleanser works really well. Follow with a simple moisturiser. Cetraben Cream works well as both a cleanser and a moisturiser and can be used until the flare-up calms down. If it doesn’t calm down within a few days, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist, as they may be able to recommend something which can help speed things up. A dermatologist can also organise patch testing, to work out which ingredient your skin has suddenly become sensitive or allergic to.


Can any over the counter medication help?

A 1% hydrocortisone cream may help calm down redness or a rash if you can’t book in to see a dermatologist.


Any other tips?

You may find your perfume is making it worse and causing the neck to become a bit itchy and red too. It’s never a good idea to spray perfume directly on to the neck anyway – much better to spray it on to clothes.



If you are suffering from a skin condition and need support from an award-winning and highly respected Consultant Dermatologist, book an appointment today at Dr Veraitch's London Clinic.

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