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Itchy Skin
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Itchy Skin

While most women are familiar with the common symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats, many are unaware of menopause's effects on the skin. Experienced by many women during menopause, skin problems are closely linked to the hormone changes that occur during this transition.

Skin changes can begin as early as perimenopause, or the three- to ten-year period leading up to menopause. Other women may experience skin changes after menopause.

Fortunately, by better understanding the underlying causes of itchy skin during menopause, women can find the best treatment options available. Continue reading to learn more about itchy skin during menopause.

What is itchy skin

About Itchy Skin

Menopause can often trigger skin changes, leading to itchiness. Itchy skin, medically known as pruritus, is basically an itch or the sensation of an itch. This sensation can range from mild to severe; moderate to intense itchiness can become a major life disruption, especially if it causes significant discomfort and disrupts sleep.

Did you know?

During the menopause transition, many women also experience acne, thinning skin, wrinkles, and skin pigment changes.

In the body, signals sent to the brain from the nerves play a major role in the itchiness sensation. Although many causes of itchy skin are unknown, it is recognized that during the menopause transition, hormonal imbalance can strongly contribute to the feeling of itchiness.

Related to pruritus, paresthesia can also afflict women during the menopausal transition. Paresthesia is an abnormal skin condition defined as sensations of numbness, "pins and needles," tingling, and prickling of the skin.

A small percentage of menopausal women report the symptom of formication, a specific type of paresthesia characterized by creepy, crawling sensations on the skin. People with formication have the phantom sensation of ants or other insects crawling on their skin.

Read on to discover more about the symptoms of itchy skin during menopause.

9 Types of Skin Rashes

While scratching an itch may be tempting, it can actually make the itch worse. When an itch is caused by a rash, scratching it is just likely to damage the skin and cause pain and more itching, since it will not affect the source of the itching.

Extremely Itchy Skin All Over the Body

Many women complain of excessively dry skin and intense itching during menopause that can cause constant and painful irritation for long periods of time. Fortunately, there are certain lifestyle changes that can be made to help prevent or manage the condition of extremely itchy skin.

Symptoms of Itchy Skin

Women who develop itchy skin during menopause can experience symptoms in different ways. Many women report that the elbows and the T-zone of the face are the first places where itchy skin develops. Other women report that certain areas of the skin are particularly dry and itchy, such as the limbs, chest, neck, or the back.

In addition to the chief symptom of itchiness, skin changes in menopause can also produce the following symptoms:

  • Small bumps on the skin surface
  • Red or irritated skin
  • Skin rash
  • Dry skin
  • Abnormal sensations, such as numbness, tingling, prickling, and crawling
Symptoms of Itchy Skin

Now that the possible symptoms of itchy skin have been covered, the next step is to explore the connection between itchy skin and hormones during menopause. Read on to learn about the causes of itchy skin.

Extremely Itchy Skin

Itchy skin, although usually caused by one of a number of underlying conditions, has a medical name: pruritus. It can range from mildly bothersome - a faintly annoying itching sensation - to severe or acute - so much itching that it actually causes pain or interferes with sleep.

Is Itching a Symptom of Menopause?

Itchy skin is a common, though lesser known symptom of menopause. However, there are a variety of treatments available for it, including avoiding harsh soaps, increasing omega 3 fatty acid intake, and applying creams. Click the following link for more information on the causes and treatments of itchy skin.

Causes of Itchy Skin

Hormonal causes

Acne and Menopause

Some women develop acne during menopause, especially those who had acne in adolescence. Increases in androgen levels during menopause are thought to raise the risk of acne during menopause.

Adult acne often affects the lower face and rarely responds to teen acne treatments.

During menopause, the most common underlying cause of itchy skin is hormonal change. As the body prepares for the cessation of menstruation during perimenopause, levels of estrogen in the body also fluctuate and eventually begin a steady decline.

Estrogen plays an important role in maintaining healthy skin. For example, estrogen is responsible for stimulating the production of skin collagen, a fibrous protein that provides strength, resilience, and support to the skin and other tissues.

As estrogen production diminishes around the time of menopause, dry itchy skin becomes a very common symptom. The decline in skin thickness and collagen production appears to be most rapid in the years immediately preceding menopause.

Lowered estrogen levels also decrease the body's ability to retain moisture and slow down the body's production of natural skin oils, which also contributes to itchy skin.

Causes of itchy skin

Other, rare causes of itchy skin

Medical Causes of Itchy Skin

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Fungal infection
  • Diabetes
  • Skin cancer
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Herpes
  • Drug side effects
  • Drug abuse or withdrawal

While hormonal changes are the most common cause of itchy skin during menopause, other medical conditions can be responsible for itchy skin. While these are rare causes, they are important to be aware of, particularly in cases where itchy skin is accompanied by other unexplained symptoms.

Women concerned about the causes of itchy skin and those who experience other worrisome symptoms should consult a qualified dermatologist or another medical professional. Fortunately, itchy skin in menopause can often be managed with self-care and natural treatments. Read on to learn more about the treatment of itchy skin.

Itchy Skin at Night: Causes and Solutions

Just because itchy skin is yet another symptom of menopause does not mean you have to put up with it. Continue reading to learn more about causes and solutions for itchy skin at night so you can finally get the beauty sleep you've been yearning for.

7 Habits That Trigger Itchy Skin

Itchy skin can be caused by a number of things, such as hot showers, smoking, and stress. These triggers should be avoided in order to prevent itchy skin. Reducing stress and using natural moisturizers like avocadoes, oatmeal, and coconut oil can help prevent itchy skin. Keep reading to learn more.

Itchy Skin Treatments

Treating itchy skin during menopause often requires a number of self-care techniques. The general recommendation is that women combine lifestyle changes with alternative medicine, which are often safe and effective in providing itchy skin relief.

Self-Care for Itchy Skin

Treatments for Itchy Skin
  • Good diet. Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in foods such as salmon, walnuts, fortified eggs, sardines, flaxseed, and soy. Adequate B vitamin intake is also crucial to skin health.
  • Increase water intake. This will help to hydrate the skin from the inside out.
  • Avoid hot showers. Because hot water can be harsh and drying, it is better to take shorter showers using warm water.
  • Moisturize after showers. Mineral oil and petroleum jelly are both excellent and inexpensive skin moisturizers.
  • Use gentle, non-irritating soaps. The fragrances and other compounds in some soaps can irritate the skin.
  • Use a quality, broad-spectrum sunscreen. This will protect the skin from damage.
  • Avoid other triggers. Avoiding cigarettes, excessive sun exposure, stress, and poor sleep patterns can also help to manage itchy skin.
Treating itchy skin

Alternative treatments for itchy skin

While these self-care measures can help a woman manage itchy skin during menopause, they alone are unable to get to the root cause of itchy skin during menopause: hormonal imbalance. Fortunately, natural supplements can address this primary problem of hormonal imbalance, helping a woman to treat itchy skin from the inside out. Alternative treatments involve little or no risk and are often simple to use.

Click on the following link to learn specific treatments for itchy skin, which begin with lifestyle changes, move onto alternative medicine, and finally, if those options do not seem work, medications. The most effective treatments typically combine lifestyle changes and alternative medicine.

Common Medicines for Itchy Skin

When an itch is severe and chronic, medical intervention may be necessary. There are many medicines and therapies available, and the best one depends on the type of itch and what is causing it. Find out more about what to expect from your doctor's prescription.

5 Ways to Manage Constant Itching on the Body

One possible cause of itchy skin may be stress due to responses it can trigger in the body. This can be managed, naturally, by reducing stress with relaxing activities. Other people may have a nervous habit of scratching the skin, which only makes the itching feel worse.

  • Hall, G. & Phillips, T.J. (2005). Estrogen and skin: the effects of estrogen, menopause, and hormone replacement therapy on the skin. 53(4), 555-568. Retrieved from
  • National Health Service UK. (2014). Itching. Retrieved May 13, 2016, from
  • Raine-Fenning, N.J. , Brincat, M.P. & Muscat-Baron, Y. (2003). Skin aging and menopause : implications for treatment. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 4(6), 371-378. Retrieved from
Itchy Skin

General articles

Updated on Mar 02, 2017
How to Prevent Scaly Skin?
Skin can develop itchy and dry scales as a result of a number of skin conditions, as well as environmental and lifestyle influences. As women age and enter into menopause, their chances of experiencing scaly skin increase, and therefore, being aware of prevention methods and treatments can help them to overcome this potential skin reaction.
Updated on Jul 04, 2016
Itchy Skin and Anxiety: Are They Related?
Anxiety can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, like itchy skin and irritability. Anxiety can trigger the release of histamine, which causes itchy skin, flushing, and rashes. It is important to manage anxiety and moisturize and protect your skin in order to prevent itchy skin. Keep reading to learn more.
Updated on Jun 06, 2016
Redness and Itchy Skin: Should I Be Worried?
Redness and itchy skin could indicate an allergic reaction, or be a result of harsh weather, irritating soaps, and hormone fluctuations. Fortunately, there are several natural remedies that are easy to do that can help soothe and prevent redness and itchy skin. These remedies include moisturizing often, eating essential fatty acids, and staying hydrated.
Updated on May 09, 2016
10 Home Tips to Combat Itchy Skin
Itchy skin can be caused by things like hot showers and stress. There are several home remedies that can help soothe itchy skin. Using natural moisturizes like oatmeal and coconut oil can be very useful. Wearing gloves, staying hydrated, and reducing stress are also helpful.
Updated on Mar 09, 2016
Creams and Oils for Itchy Skin
Itchy skin can be caused by stress, harsh winter weather, and dehydration. There are several natural creams and oils that can help soothe itchy skin. Most of these creams and oils are fairly inexpensive and readily available at health food stores, and they include lavender oil, oatmeal, and coconut oil.