Book a consultation

Choosing products for skincare problems during menopause

It can be overwhelming knowing what skincare products to choose for your skin condition, but the key is to keep it simple

For some of us, menopause can bring surprising changes to our skin – whether it’s a new and sudden onset of eczema or a recurrence of the acne we thought we’d left behind in adolescence. Skincare products that you’ve happily used for years might no longer work for you – you might need gentler formulas for newly sensitive skin or benefit from some active ingredients to help treat an issue.

When dealing with skin concerns, it is worth seeing a dermatologist who’ll be able to provide individualised advice and care. If you’ve already got a diagnosis and are now managing your condition, it can be helpful to know what products can be effective.

RELATED: skin changes during menopause factsheet

Disclaimer: By sharing product information, we hope you can find products that help concerns you may have. We do not receive (or accept) any financial benefit. The information in this feature should not substitute professional or medical advice.


Emollients, medical moisturisers that soothe, hydrate and protect skin, are used to treat eczema, and according to the National Eczema Society, more than 120 emollient products are approved for use by the NHS. However, your doctor will only be able to prescribe what’s available according to their surgery’s formulary. It can be a case of trial and error to find what works best for you, but you can buy numerous brands from pharmacies and shops.

When choosing products for eczema, pick fragrance-free formulations – fragrance can often irritate sensitive skin. Consider this also for your SPF and keep in mind many people with eczema find mineral-based formulations less irritating than chemical ones.

Emollients leave a film on top of the skin, which helps moisturise and protect, but they can feel quite greasy so you may prefer to use these at night. Conversely, lotions contain more water and aren’t thick enough to repair your skin’s barrier. Many people find creams preferable for their face – rich enough to moisturise and protect but non-greasy.

Beneficial ingredients to look for include oat or shea butter, aloe, glycerin, hyaluronic acid (a natural hydrator), petrolatum, vitamin E, humectants (for example glycerine and urea, these draw water in and repair the skin barrier), niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3 that’s anti-inflammatory).

Cleanser: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo Cleanser (£16,

Formulated for sensitive, reactive and allergy-prone skin, the Toleriane range of products has the seal of approval by Allergy UK and contains no parabens, preservatives, fragrance, alcohol, colourants or lanolin. The wipe-off milk cleanser is enriched with glycerine to moisturise and relieve dry skin plus thermal spring water to soothe.

Moisturiser: CeraVe Moisturising Cream (£11.50,

This cream contains a blend of three ceramides, identical to those found naturally in your skin, to protect the skin barrier, plus hyaluronic acid to hydrate. Although it’s a rich formula, it’s non-comedogenic (it won’t block pores) and isn’t greasy so can feel cooling and comforting on sore skin. It has been granted the US’s National Eczema Association Seal of Approval. The brand has lighter lotions that you might prefer during the summer, and all products are fragrance free.

Shower solution: Avene XeraCalm A.D. Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil (£24.64,

Soaps and shower gels can dry out skin and make eczema worse so the NHS recommends using leave-on emollients as a shower substitute if you have dry or itchy skin [1]. Not everyone likes the feel of emollients on their skin or feels “clean” after using them so this cleansing oil is a great alternative. It’s soap and fragrance free, non-comedogenic, and is gentle enough for those with atopic eczema, babies and people undergoing cancer treatment. The oil soothes itching and restores the skin’s natural barrier.

RELATED: will menopause make my eczema worse?


The Psoriasis Association says that although there is little scientific research into the effects of moisturisers on the skin condition, they can make skin feel more comfortable and decrease the scaling, cracking and soreness [2]. They may also help to allow other active treatments, such as vitamin D, to be absorbed.

Vitamin D analogue creams are often used along with or instead of topical steroids for mild to moderate psoriasis. They slow down the production of skin cells and have an anti-inflammatory effect.

When looking for emollients or creams to protect your skin, you may want to choose one with an anti-itching ingredient such as lauromacrogols, or those with salicylic acid or allantoin to help shed the build-up of dead skin.

Moisturiser: Doublebase Dry Skin Emollient (£5.24,

This light, gel-like emollient contains no colourings, fragrances or parabens and is suitable for those with psoriasis, as well as eczema or dermatitis. It’s easily absorbed into skin and forms a barrier, allowing the glycerol to moisturise and the isopropyl myristate to soften.

Itch relief: Bioderma Atoderm SOS Spray (£17,

Suitable for dry, sensitive, irritated and atopic skin, this is an ultra-light spray that cools, calms and soothes itches.  It also protects from bacteria that intensifies itching and the squalane and niacinamide help to strengthen the skin barrier. It doesn’t contain fragrance, nor does it stain clothing.

Scalp care: Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo (£7.45,

Scalp psoriasis is a type of plaque psoriasis that some people find really itchy. This shampoo contains coal tar, which is thought to be anti-inflammatory and anti-scaling, and has been used for many years to treat psoriasis. The shampoo should be used no more than two or three times a week for up to six weeks.

RELATED: menopause and the skin: Dr Sajjad Rajpar and Dr Louise Newson


Rosacea can make your skin sensitive so choose products that are gentle and specifically designed for sensitive skin or rosacea. Surveys by the National Rosacea Society found that patients cited these ingredients as triggers for irritation: alcohol, witch hazel, fragrance, menthol, peppermint and eucalyptus oil [3]. Patients also cited sun exposure as a trigger so be sure to use SPF. Choose a non-chemical sunscreen that contains zinc or titanium dioxide, has UVA/UVB protection and is at least factor 30.

Use a non-foaming cleanser and a light moisturiser that contains ceramides to help support the skin barrier. Azelaic acid can help reduce inflammation in mild to moderate rosacea.

Cleanser: Avene Antirougeurs Clean Soothing Cleansing Lotion (£17.50,

Designed for sensitive skin that’s prone to redness, this light, milky cleanser is wiped off rather than rinsed. It contains thermal spring water to soothe and an anti-redness active to calm flushed and inflamed skin.

Night cream: Rosalique Soothing Night Cream (£34.99,

The Rosalique range has been developed for those with hypersensitive and redness-prone skin, and includes an anti-redness cleanser, day cream and night cream. The night cream contains anti-inflammatory ingredients to constrict blood vessels and soothe stressed skin.

SPF: Ultrasun Extreme SPF50+ (£32,

Formulated for ultra-sensitive skin, this lightweight SPF contains antioxidants and vitamins E and B5 to keep skin hydrated. The hypoallergenic formula is gentle enough for babies and sensitive skin but is water resistant and offers a high level of protection.

RELATED: rosacea and menopause: what’s the link?


Whether you’re new to experiencing acne or suffered with it years ago, it’s worth knowing that Acne Support (an advice group by the British Association of Dermatologists) says over-the-counter treatments are unlikely to be effective against severe acne. Your first port of call should be a dermatologist.

If you are suffering mild acne, you might be tempted to blitz it with a variety of products but the best thing to do is have a simple skincare routine and give those products at least two months to show an improvement.

Ingredients such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can be helpful and don’t choose harsh scrubs. Be aware that benzoyl peroxide increases sun sensitivity so it’s important to incorporate a SPF into your regime. Your skin may still need moisturising, especially if your acne treatments are drying (your skin will produce more oil to compensate) so choose non-comedogenic products (those that do not clog pores).

Exoliate: Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid exfoliant (£35,

Instead of using a physical scrub, which can irritate, try a liquid one (sometimes known as chemical exfoliators). This one contains salicylic acid (BHA) to remove build-up of dead skin cells, thereby reducing blackheads and blemishes. The green tea extract, an antioxidant, soothes skin.

SPF: Heliocare 360 Oil-Free Gel (£31,

Sunscreen is important for everyone but if you have acne, you may worry that it will exacerbate spots or clog your pores. But too much sun exposure without SPF can inflame skin and risk scarring. This Heliocare gel is designed for oily, spot-prone or combination skin. It’s alcohol free and non-comedogenic and has a matt finish.

RELATED: acne and menopause


  1. NHS
Choosing products for skincare problems during menopause

Written by
Natalie Millman

Looking for Menopause Doctor? You’re in the right place!

  1. We’ve moved to a bigger home at balance for Dr Louise Newson to host all her content.

You can browse all our evidence-based and unbiased information in the Menopause Library.