I’m trying very hard to understand this generation. They have adjusted the timetable for childbearing so that menopause and teaching a sixteen-year-old how to drive a car will occur in the same week.” – Erma Bombeck

The average life expectancy of American women today is hovering right around 81 years. That means many women spend close to half their lives in menopause or post-menopause. Point blank, there should be more information about what to expect when you can no longer be expectant than there is about what to expect when you’re expecting. As a skincare specialist, I can tell you some things you can expect—and do—for your skin during the so-called change of life: Cleanse with hydrating products, use non-comodegenic moisturizers and makeups, and get your skin checked at least every couple of years by a dermatologist or other skincare specialist.

Like puberty, menopause represents a major hormonal shift. As you might recall from your junior prom, circa chin-zit bigger than your corsage, major hormonal shifts aren’t easy on the skin. Menopause is no exception. Dry skin is one of the major complaints of menopausal women. So also is acne. And it’s not unusual for rosacea to make its first appearance during menopause. Some menopausal women experience all of these things, and some experience none of it. When is it time to see a skincare specialist?

I say now.

Acne or no, dry skin or no, the menopausal and post-menopausal years are the years when skin cancers are most likely to make their appearance. It’s not menopause that brings them on; it’s age. So, as you go through your checklist of what to do during menopause—which admittedly is not as fun as going through your checklist of how to prepare for the prom—please put a full-body skin check down as a bullet-point. A skincare specialist can rule out cancers as the first order of business, and then they can give you products and recommendations for your particular skincare concerns.

Skin challenges this side of middle age don’t come with a junior prom (or the attendant boyfriend angst, thank goodness). They do come with the maturity to nip them in the bud. And they come with the knowledge that you deserve to pamper yourself for half a lifetime of sometimes challenging, sometimes humbling, always beautiful womanhood!