Can Menopause Cause a Rash and Itchy Skin?

Menopause itself doesn't cause a rash. However, it creates a decline in estrogen, which can lead to dry, itchy skin.

Menopause is reached when you have had 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle. You'll probably notice changes well before that, during what's known as perimenopause, which can start two to eight years earlier.

This article explores menopausal rash, itching, and other skin conditions that can happen during this phase of life.

Woman itching her upper arm

Tharakorn Arunothai / EyeEm / Getty Images

Estrogen and Skin Health

Estrogen is vital to healthy skin. It stimulates the production of substances such as oil and collagen, which keep skin hydrated and supple. As you start to approach menopause, estrogen levels begin dropping. This can affect the skin in various ways, including:

  • Dryness
  • Fine wrinkles
  • Decreased firmness and elasticity
  • More prone to damage
  • Poor healing
  • Atrophy

Symptoms of Menopause Rash 

Around the time of menopause, the skin's pH level changes. Menopause can leave the skin more sensitive, easily irritated, and prone to rashes. Symptoms may worsen if you already have a skin condition, such as eczema or rosacea. A menopause-related rash may cause:

  • Redness
  • Dryness
  • Itching
  • Flushing

Other Causes of Rashes During Menopause

Since you lose estrogen and collagen during menopause, your skin has less protection than it used to. You're more likely to develop various types of rashes and skin conditions.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation, redness, and itching. It usually starts in childhood, but you can get it at any age.

Contact Dermatitis

Symptoms of contact dermatitis include itching, burning, and blistering. It can happen when you come into contact with something like a chemical or metal that damages the skin or an allergic reaction, such as after exposure to poison ivy.

Lichen Planus

Lichen planus is a condition involving swelling and irritation of the skin. Other symptoms may include bumps, blisters, and scales. It can also affect the mouth, nails, and scalp.


Psoriasis is characterized by skin inflammation, but it's a chronic autoimmune disorder. Symptoms can include patches of thick red skin and silvery scales. Psoriasis can also affect the fingernails, toenails, and mouth.


Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition. Symptoms include redness, rash, and visible blood vessels, typically on the cheeks and nose. Anyone can get rosacea, but it's more common among middle-aged and older adults.


Shingles is a painful rash that usually develops on one side of the face or body. This may include blisters that eventually scab over. It typically clears up within a few weeks to a month. It's caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which causes chicken pox. Once you recover from chicken pox, the virus remains dormant indefinitely. Shingles occur when the virus gets reactivated later in life.

Adults 50 years and older should get two doses of the shingles vaccine to prevent shingles and shingles complications.

Menopause and Itching

Itchy skin is common after menopause. Dryness makes your skin a little more sensitive than usual. It can also make you itch. Unfortunately, scratching can cause you to be even itchier. Menopause can also lead to itchy breasts and vaginal itching.

Other Skin Conditions Linked to Menopause

Aside from conditions that cause a rash, menopause increases the likelihood of a few other skin conditions.

Facial Hair

Low estrogen changes the balance of hormones in your system, which can cause some unwanted hair growth. You're most likely to notice stray hairs on your face, especially above the lips, chin, and jawline.

Thin Skin

It's natural for skin to get thinner with age, and the hormonal changes of menopause are a contributing factor. It can make your skin fairly transparent, so veins become more visible. Thin skin is more delicate and easier to injure.

Dry Skin

Menopause makes it harder for your skin to hold on to water, so it feels drier than it used to. You probably notice this more in the winter months when humidity is low. Dry skin may cause itching, cracking, and flaking.

Age Spots

Age spots are darker areas of skin that tend to show up in areas that get the most sun, such as hands, arms, neck, and face. Age spots are flat, painless, and harmless to your health.

Lifestyle Changes for Skin Health During Menopause

You can't reverse the aging process, but you can take steps to protect your skin and relieve symptoms.


Nutrition is key. A well-balanced diet is the best way to supply your skin with essential nutrients. Among the nutrients that can help protect aging skin are:


Bathing can relieve dry skin, but hot water can strip the skin of natural oils and make matters worse. A few ways to protect your skin when showering are:

  • Use warm but not hot water.
  • Use only mild, fragrance-free soap or body wash.
  • Use a soft washcloth rather than brushes and rough puffs.
  • Limit baths and showers to 10 minutes.
  • Pat dry, leaving a bit of water on your skin before applying moisturizer.

What to Avoid

There are a few lifestyle factors that you should avoid to promote skin health, which include:


Treatment for dry, itchy skin during menopause includes home remedies and medication. Things you can try at home include:

  • Moisturizing: Apply moisturizer after bathing or showering and whenever the skin feels dry. Choose fragrance-free products that contain hyaluronic acid, glycerin, retinol, or peptides. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher every day.
  • Colloidal oatmeal: Bathing in colloidal oatmeal may help relieve dry, itchy skin. Research suggests that it can improve skin health and strengthen the skin barrier.
  • Herbal supplements: Botanicals or herbal supplements are sometimes used to treat dry skin. A double-blind clinical trial found daily aloe vera can improve skin moisture and elasticity.

Herbal supplements can have side effects and interfere with medications, so speak with a healthcare provider first.

Medical Treatments

A healthcare provider may suggest specific medications, both over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription, which may include:

  • OTC anti-itch creams: Corticosteroids or antihistamines may help relieve itching and reduce inflammation.
  • Prescription corticosteroids: Your healthcare provider may prescribe stronger oral or topical corticosteroids.
  • Hormone therapy (HT): This systemic therapy replaces estrogen, progesterone, or both to relieve menopause symptoms. Review benefits and risks with your healthcare provider, as a few health risks are associated with HRT.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Many rashes are minor and have no cause for concern, but see a provider if symptoms bother you. These are signs that your rash could be related to a serious condition:

  • All-over body rash
  • Fever
  • It came on suddenly and spread quickly
  • Trouble breathing
  • Blistering or pain
  • Signs of infection, including yellow or green fluid, swelling, crusting, warm skin, or a red streak coming from the rash


Itchy skin and rash are common in menopause. They happen because the balance of hormones in your body changes. As the skin becomes thinner and drier, it becomes more vulnerable to damage and various skin conditions. Some skin conditions aren't curable, but home remedies and medical treatments may offer some relief.

A Word From Verywell 

Menopause is a time of significant physical and emotional change. It's a perfectly natural transition but often shrouded in mystery. If you have questions about what's happening to your body or have unbearable symptoms, make an appointment with a healthcare provider. Get the answers and the help you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does menopausal skin look like?

    Skin in menopause looks drier, thinner, and less firm than before menopause. Some people develop dark spots, rough patches, or rashes.

  • What are common skin conditions with menopause?

    Dry skin and itching are common with menopause. And any preexisting skin conditions may flare up as your hormone levels change.

  • How do you treat a hormonal rash?

    Keep your skin well hydrated, protect it from sun exposure, and avoid scratching. If you have a condition that affects the skin, stick to your treatment plan. If you're not sure what type of rash you have, it's best to see a healthcare provider.

16 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Ann Pietrangelo
Ann Pietrangelo is a freelance writer, health reporter, and author of two books about her personal health experiences.