Itchy Skin During Menopause: How to Prevent It and Find Relief

By Christina Hanna, MPH, CHES • Published 6/6/2023

Medically Reviewed by MD, OB-GYN

a woman using a cream containing glycerin, colloidal oatmeal & ceramides for her menopausal skin

Itchy skin is a common symptom of the hormonal changes associated with perimenopause and menopause. Most people think the changes in their skin are related to aging or seasonal changes. And while both can have an effect, the drop in estrogen levels leads to a decrease in the production of natural oils and collagen and makes it harder for the skin to retain water and makes it drier. This makes the skin feel drier, thinner, and itchier.

Check out Menopause Itchy Skin — Let's Scratch That Itch to Understand Why to learn more about why itchy skin is a menopause-related symptom.

How can I help reduce menopause itchy skin?

There are everyday activities that you can do to help reduce the likelihood of itchy skin. Consider incorporating some of these into your daily routine and talk to your doctor and/or dermatologist if you have any questions or concerns:

  • Avoid hot baths and showers. While they may feel great on a cold day, the hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry and itchy. Try taking lukewarm showers instead and limiting the amount of time you spend in the shower. Speaking of showers and baths, an oatmeal bath can be soothing for itchy skin.
  • Pat dry. After you get out of the shower, pat dry instead of rubbing your skin to get it dry. Rubbing can further irritate already itchy skin. Patting can help prevent some of that irritation.
  • Use a daily moisturizer. Look for moisturizers that contain ingredients like glycerin, colloidal oatmeal, ceramide, and hyaluronic acid, which can help moisturize dry skin. Apply moisturizer after bathing and whenever your skin feels dry. If your skin is really dry, a cream may work better than a lotion. Remember to put moisturizer on right after showering or bathing.
  • Avoid scratching. Although it feels SO good to really dig in and scratch an itch, scratching skin that’s already sensitive or inflamed can tear and damage the skin. Use a cool compress to help relieve itchiness. At night, you can wear gloves or cotton socks on your hands to help you avoid further scratching while you sleep. If you put lotion on before putting the gloves or socks on, that’s also a good way to help moisturize the skin on your hands.
  • Use gentle skincare products. Soaps and perfumes with scents and/or harsh chemicals can further irritate your skin. Look for soaps and cleansers that are perfume-free and marketed for people with dry and sensitive skin. You may want to avoid exfoliating if your skin is already very dry.
a woman experiencing itchy skin from menopause, staying hydrated by drinking a glass of water

  • Keep an eye on alcohol and nicotine intake. For many other reasons, reducing alcohol intake and quitting any tobacco use can benefit your overall wellbeing. When it comes to your skin, they can both contribute to dryness and be a cause of premature skin aging.
  • Check clothing tags. Wools and synthetic fabrics are more likely to cling to the skin, which could be irritating to the skin. Tight clothing can also be irritating to the skin. Shop for soft, cotton, and loose-fitting fabrics to be gentler on your skin.
  • Use sun protection. UV rays from the sun can irritate dry, itchy, and sensitive skin. Use sunscreen with SPF30 or higher. Consider other sun protection measures such as wearing a hat and sunglasses, long sleeves, and staying in the shade. Remember that sunscreen is needed all year long.
  • Drink water throughout the day. Water is an essential part of skin health and preventing dull, itchy skin. While everyone on the internet has a recommendation of how much you “should” drink, a general rule of thumb for staying hydrated is that when you feel thirsty, drink some water.
  • Exercise more. While there’s lot of other good reasons to move your body, people with higher levels of activity are more likely to have hydration in the outermost layer of the skin.
  • Consider supplements. If you want to add to your self-care measures, consider adding a skin care supplement to your routine. Talk to your doctor about whether supplements are right for you.

If you’re experiencing severe itching or if your itchy skin is not improving with self-care measures, talk to a healthcare provider.

Last Updated 2/22/2024

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