5 Common Women's Skin Issues

  • Women and Their Skin
    Men and women can have many of the same skin conditions. Sometimes, however, they affect women differently. Lifestyle and environmental factors may play a role. Women also are at greater risk for immune system diseases that can affect the skin. Hormones and reproductive differences between the sexes may be partly to blame. Here are several conditions that pose problems for women's skin.

  • 1. Melanoma
    Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Your risk increases with age. However, it’s now one of the most common cancers among young adults, especially young women. Use of indoor tanning facilities may be to blame. Teenage girls and young women use tanning beds much more often than young men. This increases their risk of skin cancer. Melanoma growths usually appear on a man’s chest and back. For women, melanoma usually occurs on the legs.



  • 2. Psoriasis
    Anyone can get psoriasis—an autoimmune disease with red, scaly skin patches. It often develops or flares in women at specific times in life. For instance, psoriasis often gets worse for girls during puberty and for women who’ve just given birth or are going through menopause. Hormone swings may play a role in this. Flares are also more likely when you feel stressed. Ironically, this could increase risk of flares in women with psoriasis who feel pressure to look attractive.



  • 3. Stretch Marks
    You may first notice stretch marks (striae) as very shallow lines or stripes on the skin, and the skin may have a different texture. Stretch marks can form when skin is stretched in a short period of time. Conditions that interfere with collagen production can also cause stretch marks. Stretch marks are common during periods of rapid growth, such as during pregnancy and in boys and girls during puberty. People who gain weight rapidly may also develop stretch marks. They aren’t dangerous, but they can be unsightly. Most stretch marks fade with time. For stubborn lines, medicated creams can help minimize their appearance

  • 4. Rosacea
    Rosacea is a common skin condition that often starts in middle age. It causes the face to become flushed and pimply. Painful growths may form under the skin. Women are more likely to get rosacea than men, especially during menopause. Doctors aren’t sure what causes rosacea. People who blush easily or have blood vessels that dilate easily may be more likely to develop it. Also, hot flashes during menopause may trigger rosacea symptoms or cause them to get worse.

  • 5. Acne
    Acne affects more women than men. It’s common among women in their 20s, but women in their 50s may struggle with it, too. Acne develops when hair follicles in the skin clog with extra oil and dead skin cells. No single treatment works for everyone. Hormone therapies like birth control pills may help. Treatment should be tailored to each woman. After menopause, women may have less oil in their skin and need gentler remedies.

5 Common Women's Skin Issues
  1. Beyaert R, Beaugerie L, Van Assche G, Brochez L, Renauld JC, et al. Cancer risk in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMID). Mol Cancer. 2013 Aug 29;12(1):98.
  2. Ceovic R, Mance M, Bukvic Mokos Z, Svetec M, Kostovic K, et al. Psoriasis: female skin changes in various hormonal stages throughout life—puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:571912.
  3. Dangerous Tanning Habits Persist Among Young Women. Skin Cancer Foundation. http://www.skincancer.org/publications/sun-and-skin-news/winter-2013-30-4/tanning
  4. Frequently Asked Questions. The National Rosacea Society. https://www.rosacea.org/patients/faq.php
  5. Hormonal factors key to understanding acne in women. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/media/news-releases/hormonal-factors-key-to-understanding-acne-in-women 
  6. Impact on Emotions. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/women-and-psoriasis/impact-on-emotions
  7. Key statistics for Melanoma Skin Cancer. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/detailedguide/melanoma-skin-cancer-key-statistics 
  8. Ngo ST, Steyn FJ, McCombe PA. Gender differences in autoimmune disease. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2014 Aug;35(3):347-69.
  9. Questions and Answers about Rosacea. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/rosacea/ 
  10. Stretch Marks. MedlinePlus, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003287.htm
  11. Striae Distensae. Medscape. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1074868-overview#a5
  12. What Is Melanoma Skin Cancer? American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/detailedguide/melanoma-skin-cancer-what-is-melanoma
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Last Review Date: 2018 Nov 30
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