Best skin care for menopausal skin: 6 creams to soothe itching and dryness

These creams have specially-designed formulas to help skin-sufferers during the menopause

a collage showing the best skin care products for menopausal skin including Nivea and Prai products
(Image credit: Future)

Finding the best skin care for menopausal skin is vital given that the "change" is the biggest challenge our skin will face. Currently, there are around 15.5 million women in the UK who are either peri- or post-menopausal but many are unaware of the connection between hormonal fluctuations and menopause symptoms (opens in new tab) such as dryness, sensitivity and itching. In fact, research by No7 has found that 54% of women did not expect their skin to change during the menopause. 

“During the perimenopause, the transitionary period leading up to the menopause, your sex hormones decline significantly,” explains Dermatologist Dr Anita Sturnham (opens in new tab), Meno Active expert and brand ambassador. “In particular, oestrogen levels fall. This hormone helps to switch on healthy collagen production, and is also needed for skin hydration as it helps to make ceramides, the lipids that are responsible for helping our skin to retain moisture. As hormone levels decline,” she continues, “skin is prone to thinning (atrophy) and dryness all over the body, which can also lead to itching and sensitivity.” Couple this with fewer natural oils and it’s no wonder skin can look dry, dull and tired.

Whether you’re in the early menopause (opens in new tab), or post-menopausal, the good news is with the best skin care for menopausal skin, you can put back in what the menopause takes out. From gentle cleansers and super serums to the best moisturisers for skin (opens in new tab)that promise to quench dryness, these treatments will calm and soothe. 

What to consider when looking for the best skincare for menopausal skin

Why you can trust GoodTo Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

  • Star rating: Our in-house star-rating system is based on peer reviews. They’ve tried and tested the skin creams and awarded stars based on factors such as product quality, ease of use, customer feedback, awards and value for money. Products that have received a 5 star status are rare and considered exceptional, going above and beyond our reviewer’s expectations.
  • Active ingredients: The best skin care for menopausal skin should contain active ingredients that help to boost moisture levels in the skin, such as ceramides, which help to strengthen the lipid barrier and lock in hydration. Hyaluronic acid is another excellent moisturising ingredient, with the ability to attract up to a thousand times its weight in water. 
  • Cruelty-free: More and more beauty brands have realised that testing on animals is not a humane or sustainable practice. We’re keen to select products from brands that follow this ethos.
  • Packaging: Skin creams usually come in tubs so you can scoop out just the right amount for the area you need. It also means you can ensure every last drop of cream is used, as opposed to squeeze bottles that always retain some product. If we have included squeeze bottles, it’s because the formula justifies the inclusion, and the packaging is widely recyclable. Because of course, sustainability is a serious concern - we'll always strive to include products that are at least in part recyclable. 

Best skin care for menopausal skin: 6 creams to soothe itching and dryness

Indeed Labs Me-No-Pause Restorative Cream

(Image credit: Indeed Labs)

1. Indeed Labs Me-No-Pause Restorative Cream

Best overall

Specifications

RRP: $24.99/£24.99
Active ingredients: Niacinamide, Allantoin, Phytoestrogen extracts
Cruelty-free: Yes
Packaging: Tube, cap and outer cardboard box are fully recyclable

Reasons to buy

+
Reasonably priced
+
Relieves itching
+
Fragrance-free

Reasons to avoid

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None, we love this!

“To help with the reduction of oestrogen and tackle dryness, look for skincare containing phytoestrogens – small molecules similar to oestrogen, but derived from plants,” suggests Dr Charlotte Woodward (opens in new tab) of River Aesthetics. “They increase the production of elastin, helping the skin to look plump and healthy, without the look of sagging or loss of tone.”  

Research into phytoestrogens and their efficacy in treating menopause symptoms is fairly new ground. However, a 2014 review article (opens in new tab) does suggest that phytoestrogens may provide some similar benefits to HRT, but with fewer or less severe side effects. Applied topically, phytoestrogens help jumpstart the skin’s natural processes to restore hydration levels, boost elasticity and stimulate collagen production. 

This day and night cream brings immediate comfort to dehydrated skin, with soothing allantoin that helps to relieve itching. It’s got those crucial phytoestrogens (a mixture of seven different plant extracts) to help balance hormone levels in the skin and minimise signs of ageing, plus nourishing natural extracts like shea butter and avocado oil to hydrate tight, flaky skin. It will soothe the driest of complexions, whether you’re peri- or post-menopausal. This is a real suits-all, all-round hero moisturiser. 

Prai x M&S MenoGlow Super Hydrating Sleep Creme

(Image credit: Prai x M&S)

2. Prai MenoGlow Super Hydrating Sleep Creme

Best for dryness

Specifications

RRP: $32.74/£29
Active ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerin, M Complex (blend of tripeptides with Cloudberry Seed Oil, Centella Asiatica and Syn®-Coll)
Cruelty-free: Yes
Packaging: Glass jar and outer cardboard packaging are fully recyclable

Reasons to buy

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A little goes a long way
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Soothes itching
+
Luxurious texture

Reasons to avoid

-
Contains fragrance

“Oestrogen is crucial for the skin’s structure and when it declines, hyaluronic acid also decreases, which is key for hydration,” explains Katy Eccles (opens in new tab), PRAI Beauty (opens in new tab)’s Education Director. Couple this with the overnight moisture loss exacerbated by night sweats, and you’re likely to experience dry, tight, uncomfortable-feeling skin. “Skin can sometimes appear oily on the surface, yet in fact is very dehydrated underneath as a result of the hormonal changes. Therefore in peri-menopause and menopause, it’s important for women to use a product in their regime that contains hyaluronic acid to help re-hydrate their skin.” 

This menopause-targetted night cream has a light, silky texture that feels cooling and calming on itchy, hot-feeling skin. The formula contains Hyaluronic acid to infuse moisture, ease tightness and pad out lines as you sleep. It’s also powered by something called ‘M Complex’, made up of three ingredients that help to boost the skin’s collagen production, calm redness and brighten the complexion. No wonder it’s racked up so many 5* reviews. As one customer said, “Absolutely love this face cream, the texture is amazing. My skin has become dry recently and I’ve definitely seen a difference. This range is an absolute must if going through the menopause.”

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

(Image credit: CeraVe)

3. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

Best gentle cleanser

Specifications

RRP: $15.99/£10
Active ingredients: Ceramides (1, 3, 6-II), Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerin
Cruelty-free: No
Packaging: Bottle is recyclable, pump is not recyclable

Reasons to buy

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Affordable price point
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Gentle, fragrance-free formula
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Lifts make-up and SPF well
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Non-foaming

Reasons to avoid

-
Thicker texture could be off putting to some
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Not entirely cruelty-free

During the peri-menopause, which can last for years before you actually hit menopause, the body produces less oestrogen, which not only means less hyaluronic acid production but has a direct effect on the skin barrier. Once this is weakened, you may notice dryness, sensitivity and flaking. “The skin barrier relies on ceramides to hold the skin cells in the upper layers together, so look for cleansers, serums and moisturisers that are ceramide rich,” says Meno Active (opens in new tab)'s  Dr Sturnham. “These form a protective layer to help prevent moisture loss and damage from environmental stressors.” 

Let's get something out of the way first. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser isn't fully cruelty-free. That's because it's sold in mainland China, where animal testing is required by law. But we wanted to include it in our round-up as it's a fantastic cleanser, recommended by many Dermatologists and beloved by Beauty Editors. “Its ingredients include hyaluronic acid to hydrate your skin after every use and ceramides, which help keep the skin barrier intact,” explains consultant dermatologist, Dr Alexis Granite (opens in new tab). “This non-irritating, gel-based formula works well for all skin types but especially for sensitive and dry skin.” The creamy, gel-like texture glides on to skin, and is a real tonic for those with dry, itchy and even eczema-prone skin. 

Nivea Q10 Power 60+ Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream Moisturiser

(Image credit: Nivea)

4. Nivea Q10 Power 60+ Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream Moisturiser

Best for boosting collagen

Specifications

RRP: $17/£14.99
Active ingredients: Coenzyme Q10, Organic Argan Oil
Cruelty-free: Yes
Packaging: Outer box is 100% recyclable, jar is not recyclable

Reasons to buy

+
Great price point
+
SPF15
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Firmer skin in 14 days

Reasons to avoid

-
Contains fragrance

Coenzyme Q10 is a nutrient that occurs naturally within the body, credited with boosting energy levels at a cellular level. Its collagen and elastin-producing properties help smooth lines and wrinkles. As an antioxidant, it protects our cells from free radical damage thereby slowing the ageing process, but supplies diminish during the menopause, meaning the skin’s protective mechanisms are weakened. 

Nivea is at the forefront of Q10 technology (opens in new tab), and this cream, specifically designed for 60+ skin, is proven to deliver noticeably firmer skin in 14 days and a reduction in deep wrinkles after four weeks. In fact, 97% of women confirmed measurably firmer skin. It’s powered by Skin Identical Coenzyme Q10 that protects cells from external damage and helps recharge them with energy. Omega-rich Argan Oil helps to alleviate dry, itchy skin, providing all-day hydration.

Aveeno Soothing Bath Soak

(Image credit: Aveeno)

5. Aveeno Soothing Bath Soak

Best for itchy skin

Specifications

RRP: $11.49/£11.99
Active ingredients: 100% Natural Colloidal Oatmeal
Cruelty-free: Yes
Packaging: Recyclable box and sachets

Reasons to buy

+
Great price point
+
Soothes scratchy skin 
+
Fragrance-free

Reasons to avoid

-
Hard to dissolve

Oats have been used for centuries as a way to ease the discomfort of itchy skin. A 2008 study (opens in new tab) confirmed the anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties of oats. Colloidal oatmeal is the term used to describe oats that have been ground into a fine powder, while still retaining all the goodness. This miracle ingredient helps to balance the skin’s pH level and maintain the skin’s natural microbiome. Human skin has 1 million microbiomes per square centimetre and is a crucial component of our skin barrier. By balancing and nourishing these living microbes, you can bolster barrier function and restore healthy, happy skin. Chemicals in oats called avenanthramides have been found to reduce itching and decrease inflammation and redness.

These sachets are used in the bath. Open one of the sachets and pour into running water, stirring until fully dissolved, and soak in the bath for between 15 and 30 minutes max. Soaking for too long may actually dry your skin. "They can be a little hard to dissolve but they really ease itchy, irritable skin across the body," says Beauty Editor, Stephanie Maylor (opens in new tab). "They make bathing feel more like a spa treatment, and they became totally indispensable when my children came down with chickenpox (opens in new tab). They definitely seemed to soothe the incessant scratching."

Emepelle Serum

(Image credit: Emepelle)

6. Emepelle Serum

Best ‘alternative’ to HRT

Specifications

RRP: $175/£135
Active ingredients: MEP technology, Retinol, Peptides, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid
Cruelty-free: Yes
Packaging: Fully recyclable

Reasons to buy

+
Fragrance-free
+
Fast-absorbing
+
Perfect base for make-up
+
Visible, clinically-proven results

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive

The serum contains a unique active known as MEP, which ‘tricks’ skin into behaving as it did pre-menopause by reactivating oestrogen receptors on the skin’s fibroblast cells. MEP isn’t a hormone so it is safe to use while taking HRT and is deactivated once absorbed in the blood stream making it safe for people who have had breast cancer. 

It’s pricey, without question, but this is an evidence-based range, backed up by studies and recommended by dermatologists. A 20-week clinical study by Joel Cohen (opens in new tab), MD, Board Certified Dermatologist, showed Emepelle is clinically proven to significantly improve the visible signs of ageing caused by menopause. “Up until now, we haven’t had a non-hormonal method to improve dryness, dullness and laxity in oestrogen deficient skin in menopausal and peri-menopausal women,” explains Cohen. “In my 20-week open-label study, photos document the very impressive daily patient diary records of major improvement in parameters associated with oestrogen deficient skin. At only 8 weeks, over 90% of participants said that the products alleviated some or all of the skin issues associated with menopause.”

What causes menopausal skin itching?

Dry, itchy skin is one of the most common skin complaints reported during the menopause. “As our oestrogen levels drop, so do our collagen levels, hence why we notice a sudden change in our skin,” explains Dr Victoria Manning (opens in new tab) of River Aesthetics. 

The loss of collagen results in the upper layer of the skin becoming thin, causing a reduction in elasticity and hydration,” she says. 

Dermatologist Dr Woodward continues, “Due to the reduced production of oestrogen, and therefore loss of collagen and natural oils, the skin becomes increasingly dry. The hormones that create the lipid barrier of the skin become affected by the changes of the menopause and the dry skin can result in itching across the body. This itching can appear anywhere from the face and neck to the chest and limbs.” 

How else can I improve my skin during menopause?

  • Take supplements - “I recommend taking a daily Type 1 marine collagen supplement,” says Dr Sturnham. “Look for one with ingredients that enhance the skin’s ability to build and repair connective tissue, such as Hyaluronic acid, phytoceramides and vitamin cofactors.”
  • Avoid hot water - Bathing and showering in hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils leaving it feeling dry and tight. Cool things down with a lukewarm bath or shower. 
  • Choose a gentle cleanser - Avoid abrasive scrubs and harsh skin-stripping toners. Choose a cream cleanser or balm to infuse the skin with moisture.
  • Embrace retinol - Retinoids, the gold standard of skincare ingredients, help to boost cell turnover and stimulate collagen production. Add a retinol serum or cream to your evening regime to help smooth lines. 
  • Wear SPF - Dark spots and mottled patches can plague menopausal skin, as hormonal changes stimulate the skin’s pigment-making cells to go into overdrive. Wear a daily SPF of at least 30 to protect skin. 

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