Menopause. It’s a natural phase in a woman’s life and it’s marked with a significant shift in hormonal balance. Inevitably, this causes changes in your body and your skin, and you may find you’ll have to switch things up a little to give yourself the love and attention you deserve.
What is the menopause?
Menopause officially starts one year after a woman’s last period. Before then, you could be in the perimenopausal phase, which could last around 5 years and menopause uses lasts for around 7 years. “In the postmenopausal period, many of these symptoms settle, but women still have to live the rest of their lives with 90% less estrogen, and the consequent associated changes this brings,” says Dr Deborah Lee, Dr Fox Online Pharmacy.
During this time, you may experience…
- If you’re perimenopausal (when your body is preparing for menopause) expect irregular or skipped periods
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Sleep problems
- Changes in mood
- Skin can feel like supple, crepey, dull/dry, more sensitive and even more acne prone.
We’ll be discussing in more depth how the menopause can impact your physical and mental health, but here are some ways you can help to navigate the menopause phase with confidence and have your skin feeling and looking its best.
Boost your collagen
“Skin changes start at the age of 30, with gradual loss of collagen, leading to loss of elasticity, sagging and wrinkling of the skin. The barrier function of the skin becomes less efficient leading to water loss and the skin becomes drier,” says Dr Deborah Lee, Dr Fox Online Pharmacy. Collagen is a vital protein in the structure of your skin and when your oestrogen levels drop, collagen production may follow suit, and this can lead to sagging and wrinkles. You could consider a collagen supplement and you can also look for collagen boosting ingredients in your skincare like vitamin c and retinoids to promote firmness and elasticity to give your skin a boost.
Keep it gentle
Try not to strip your skin of its natural oils: keep the cleansing gentle with mild, hydrating cleansers so your skin won’t get irritated. Your oil glands aren’t quite as active, so be gentle.
Due to the drop in estrogen levels, the skin is also thinner so needs to be treated with more gentle care too.
Protect from the sun
SPF is a must, no matter your age! However, as your estrogen levels drop during menopause, your skin becomes even more susceptible to sun damage and pigmentation… make sure you’re protecting your skin with at least SPF 30, even when it’s cloudy. This will also help you avoid developing age spots, or stop them from getting worse if you already have them.
Protect your hands
The backs of your hands can lose moisture, collagen and fat during menopause and could end up looking more wrinkled because of it. Try to keep your hands moisturised to keep them looking and feeling their best, use SPF to protect them from the sun and use gloves when doing house or yard work.
Protect your hair
You may experience some hair thinning due to the hormone changes. A drop in oestrogen and progesterone can trigger an increase in the production of androgens, or a group of male hormones. Androgens shrink hair follicles, resulting in hair loss on the head. Look for strengthening hair products and prioritise scalp health. Speak to a dermatologist with any of your concerns.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Menopausal skin tends to become drier due to a decrease in oestrogen levels: so hydration is key! It also loses the ability to absorb water as easily, so you want to hold on to every bit of moisture you can.
Make sure you’re drinking lots of water to keep your body hydrated, but you can also look for more hydrating skincare to give your skin a boost. Look for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin and ceramides to lock in moisture and keep it supple. Wrinkles can look more prominent on dry skin so keep it moisturised for it to look its best. You could even reapply moisturiser or use a moisturising spray throughout the day to help the skin to feel more comfortable and moisturised.
Love the anti-oxidants
Look for skincare with antioxidants like vitamin e and green tea extract to help protect your skin from oxidative stress and support its natural repair processes.
Eating brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and can help make your skin stronger from the inside out.
Menopause doesn’t just affect our skin: it can affect your physical and mental health too and this is something we’re going to be diving into in part 2… so stay tuned for more, coming soon!