Skin, hair and beyond: the impact of menopause.Climacteric. 2022 Apr 04 [Online ahead of print]C
The skin is an endocrine organ and a major target of hormones such as estrogens, androgens and cortisol. Besides vasomotor symptoms (VMS), skin and hair symptoms often receive less attention than other menopausal symptoms despite having a significant negative effect on quality of life. Skin and mucosal menopausal symptoms include dryness and pruritus, thinning and atrophy, wrinkles and sagging, poor wound healing and reduced vascularity, whereas skin premalignant and malignant lesions and skin aging signs are almost exclusively caused by environmental factors, especially solar radiation. Hair menopausal symptoms include reduced hair growth and density on the scalp (diffuse effluvium due to follicular rarefication and/or androgenetic alopecia of female pattern), altered hair quality and structure, and increased unwanted hair growth on facial areas. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not indicated for skin and hair symptoms alone due to the risk-benefit balance, but wider potential benefits of HRT (beyond estrogen's effect on VMS, bone, breast, heart and blood vessels) to include skin, hair and mucosal benefits should be discussed with women so that they will be able to make the best possible informed decisions on how to prevent or manage their menopausal symptoms.