8 skincare ingredients that are great for hormonal skin, according to a dermatologist

In partnership with Vichy

Know your hormones
(Image credit: Future)


If you thought hormonal skin was limited to spotty teenagers, think again. Hormonal skin (such as breakouts and acne) can happen at any age, particularly when your hormones are fluctuating during puberty, pregnancy and perimenopause

Thankfully, there are many ways to balance your hormones – including eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep. And when it comes to looking after mid-life hormonal skin, there are lots of specific skincare ingredients that can help to reduce the appearance of inflammation and breakouts. 

Vichy dermatologist Dr Cristina Psomadakis, who goes by Dr Soma, says that when looking for ingredients that will benefit menopausal and perimenopausal skin, she tends to suggest things that will increase hydration, glow and collagen production – such as “products with rich cream textures will help restore dryness and elasticity, and hyaluronic acid gel serums can provide cool relief and plump glow”.

Here, Dr Soma reveals the very best skincare ingredients to look out for, so you can stock up on products specially designed to nourish and restore menopausal skin. 

8 hormonal skincare ingredients to try, according to a dermatologist

“As we get older we naturally start losing collagen in our skin, which gives it it's firm plump quality,” explains Dr Soma. “Retinol is one of the few scientifically proven ingredients to stimulate new collagen in our skin and can help with overall rejuvenation.”

For first-time retinol users, Dr Soma recommends starting off with a product containing a lower percentage. “I think it is a good idea to dip your toe in before you jump in,” she says. “It is quite a strong ingredient, particularly for those with very sensitive skin. So it is much better to get to know it slowly than have a bad experience and give up on it altogether. Patience is key, trying it out in small quantities and lower strengths, using only a couple of times per week. After all, this is a marathon, not a race.”

1. Hyaluronic acid

“Hormonal skin can be dry and dull, and hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient to restore hydration and a plum glow,” says Dr Soma. “I particularly like Mineral 89 as a serum under moisturiser because as well as hyaluronic acid it has gorgeous hydrating ingredients like glycerin and natural mineral water. It works so well under makeup and is extremely gentle for sensitive skin. It also has a refreshing gel texture and if stored in the fridge can feel incredible during hot flushes.”

2. Glycerine

“Glycerine is a natural ingredient found in our skin,” she says. “It has a role as a powerful humectant – which means it draws water to our skin, increasing its hydration levels. Glycerine is also great at softening the skin, protecting and repairing our skin barrier. As it’s suited to almost everyone and has a very low allergenic potential, it’s one of the most beloved dermatologist ingredients.”

3. SPF

“It is crucial to protect our skin’s remaining collagen stores and we know that the best way to do that is to protect it from the sun,” says Dr Soma. “The sun’s UV rays damage collagen through the generation of free radicals. The best way to protect it is by using daily sunscreen and avoiding strong midday sun.”

Her favourite sunscreen? “Vichy’s Capital Soleil UV Age Daily SPF50,” she says. “It is enriched with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and vitamin E and leaves a hydrating glow. It is a true hybrid of skincare meets SPF.”

Skincare products piled up

(Image credit: Getty Images)

4. Cholesterol and Fatty acids

“The top layer of our skin makes up our skin barrier and is often described as being like bricks and mortar,” says Dr Soma. “The bricks are the keratinocytes (our actual skin cells), and the mortar that binds them together is made up of ceramides (cholesterol and fatty acids). As we get older the production of this mortar decreases, leaving our skin barrier weakened and more prone to dehydration.” So, adding cholesterol and fatty acids to your menopausal skincare regime is great for fighting against dry skin and fine lines. Why? Cholesterol helps keep skin moisturised while fatty acids contain lipids, which help contribute to the skin's natural repair process.

5. Niacinamide

Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, is an antioxidant with a variety of benefits,” explains Dr Soma. So why is it great for hormonal skin? Because “it’s anti-inflammatory, can help to reduce redness, helps to regulate oil production and it can even skin texture and promote the production of ceramides, the natural moisturisers of our skin”.

6. Caffeine

Caffeine is a popular antioxidant, which means not only is it a powerful anti-ageing ingredient, but it can also help protect against free radical damage, she explains. “Free radicals are responsible for overwhelming our skin’s natural defences and chipping away at our collagen and elastin. Caffeine also has the ability to stimulate blood microcirculation so it is often used in eye creams, such as Vichy's new Neovadiol Multi-Corrective Eye and Lip Care, to help temporarily reduce puffiness.” 

7. Salicylic acid

“Salicylic acid is a great ingredient for acne-prone skin,” says Dr Soma. “A lot of women tend to experience drier skin as they go through the menopause, however for some, the skin may become oilier or have a flare in acne. In those specific cases, salicylic acid can help. It penetrates into pores to help reduce oil production and acne spots.”

Discover Vichy Neovadiol Skincare for Perimenopause & Menopause at Boots & your local pharmacy. For symptom guidance and support speak to your GP or pharmacist. 

Alice Barraclough
Alice is a contributing lifestyle journalist with over seven years of industry experience and has worked for the likes of The Telegraph, The Independent, Women's Health, Stylist, Glamour, Grazia, Glorious Sport and more. Specialising in health and fitness, Alice covers everything from the latest product launches to interviewing some of the most inspiring female sports stars of our time.