Discover some of the best products & lifestyle changes that may help itchy skin

While you might have heard about several signs and symptoms of the menopause, from hot flushes and vaginal dryness to mood swings, one menopause symptom you might not have heard about and that can be a little bit irritating is dry, itchy skin. 

Why does it happen?

"As oestrogen levels decline during perimenopause and menopause, it causes the body’s collagen production to slow down and thus the skin tends to get thinner," explains Dr Kristina Semkova, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic.

"The hormonal changes can also contribute to skin dryness. Itchiness, also known as pruritus, is provoked by the combination of thin and dry skin. The lower oestrogen levels drop, the likelihood of itchy skin increases."

What does it feel like?

"Some people experience menopause skin symptoms including dryness, itchiness, prickling or crawling sensations," says Dr Semkova. "It can happen anywhere on the body, but most common places include the face, limbs, neck, chest and back. The elbows, T-zone, scalp and vulva may also be affected."

Paresthesia – a sensation of tingling, numbness, or “pins and needles” on the skin – and formication – the sensation of insects crawling on the skin – are rare but can also be experienced.

How long can it last?

Pruritus may occur during the perimenopause – the period before menopause – and continue into menopause (which is defined as when you’ve stopped menstruating for a year).

"Itchiness is also a sign of ageing, so will likely become more pronounced with time," says Dr Semkova. This is because skin tends to become drier and more sensitive the older you get, with it perhaps not becoming particularly noticeable until you hit the perimenopause or menopause.

How to relieve itchy skin during menopause

When to visit the pharmacist

There are products out there that can help provide relief from itchy skin and a pharmacist is best-placed to recommend the right ones for you. They can recommend creams, lotions or antihistamine tablets, as well as advise on whether you should contact your GP for further advice.

Reasons to see your GP include if menopause symptoms, such as itchy skin, are affecting your quality of life, if the itching does not get better with self-care or keeps coming back, is caused by a new rash, lump or swelling that you're worried about or is all over your body (which could be a sign of something more serious).

Alternatively, if itchy skin and other menopausal symptoms are affecting your quality of life, you may wish to access the Boots Online Doctor Menopause & HRT Treatment service*, which provides access to advice and hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) if suitable for you.


"Regular exercise may help and after that you may find relief in an oatmeal bath, but don’t have the water too hot or spend too long soaking," says Dr Semkova.

"However tempting it might be, don’t scratch," urges Dr Semkova. "Keep fingernails well-trimmed and consider wearing gloves in bed and using a cool compress for additional relief."

Eat well

"Ensure you are following a healthy diet high in vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids, fresh fruit and vegetables, and low in refined sugars and processed foods," advises Dr Semkova.

"Also, ensure you drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated, minimising alcohol and caffeine, which are dehydrating."

Some of the best skincare products for itchy skin

The NHS recommends using an unperfumed moisturiser or emollient regularly on itchy skin and avoiding perfumed soaps, deodorants and moisturisers. "Moisturising itchy, crawly or dry skin throughout the day can help ease symptoms," explains Dr Semkova.

Best for very dry body skin

Try: Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturising Lotion

• 300ml

Apply daily after bathing and let the triple oat complex and shea butter nourish, soothe and protect your dry, irritable skin. You’ll enjoy more resilient and healthy-looking skin from day one.

Best for soothing a sensitive scalp

Try: Pantene Hair Biology Menopause Hair Thickening Serum

• 100ml

Spray down your parting and massage in this serum for one minute, without rinsing for densified-looking hair and a soothed, hydrated scalp.

Best for hydrating sensitised, itchy skin

Try: Avène XeraCalm A.D. Lipid-Replenishing Balm Moisturiser

• 200ml

• Patented airless packaging allows formula to be free of preservatives and fragrance

A replenishing balm for very dry skin, prone to itching. It deeply nourishes, soothes and calms the skin, while the sterile, airless pump technology packaging removes the need for potentially irritating preservatives.

Best cleanser for itchy body skin

Try: Cetaphil PRO Dry Itchy Skin Moisturising Body Wash

• 295ml

• Suitable for all ages

• Hypoallergenic

• Clinically tested on people with dry skin

• Dermatologist tested

• Fragrance and soap free

Made specifically for dry, itchy and sensitive skin, the mild cleansing ingredients will help soothe even the itchiest of skins, while the combination of moisturising ingredients, including shea butter and niacinamide, will leave dry skin feeling nourished and soft.

Best for pruritus

Try: E45 Emollient Wash Cream for Dry & Itchy Skin - 250ml

• 100g

This contains anti-itch ingredient, lauromacrogols, which treats and soothes the itch caused by pruritus and other dry skin skin conditions. It’s also formulated with urea, a moisturiser found naturally within the skin. Always read the label.

Best for moisturising & calming itchy scalps and hair

Try: Eucerin DermoCapillaire Calming Urea Scalp Treatment

• 100ml

• Alkali soap-free

• Fragrance-free

This leave-in treatment contains urea and lactate to intensively bind moisture and help soothe and calm the itchiness and irritation that can be caused by dryness from the very first use.

Best shampoo for an itchy scalp

Try: Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

• 250ml

This award-winning soothing cleanser has a fresh, apple fragrance and is mild enough for everyday use. It can help relieve scalp irritation as it aims to clear flakiness and product build-up.

*Access to prescription-only medicine is subject to an online consultation with a clinician to assess suitability. Subject to availability. Charges apply.

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