Menopause is a process that affects all women as they approach middle age and the symptoms can be a difficult to process and can last up to several years.
During menopause many women will notice changes in their bodies. The skin can become dry, thin and may also result in a loss of firmness. The main reasons behind these changes in the skin are loss of oestrogen during menopause, long-term exposure to the sun and free radical damage. Other conditions that can occur during menopause and the premenopausal transition include breakouts and acne as well as unwanted facial hair. Below you will find tips on menopause skincare and treatments.
Oestrogen has a key role in the normal functioning of the skin. It directly affects the cells in the skin, including fibroblasts which produce collagen and elastin, keratinocytes which maintain skin protection and melanocytes which maintain an even skin colour. Oestrogen also regulates oil production in the skin, sebaceous gland activity and hair follicle function.
The decreased levels of oestrogen in the body during menopause can lead to the following:
- An increased loss of collagen
- Decrease in glycosaminoglycan in the skin, which supports and maintains collagen and elastin in the skin and provides skin turgidity (bounce)
- Decrease in skin elasticity
- Increased skin dryness
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Slowed healing of the skin
- Increased growth of unwanted facial hair
- Decrease in skin strength
- Hot Flashes
- Thinning of the epidermis
Other changes that can be experienced during menopause include hair dryness, increased risk of osteoporosis and a lack of Vitamin D.
Lifestyle changes and natural ways to promote healthy skin while going through Menopause
To minimise the effects of menopause on the skin and body, there are lifestyle changes that can be made. Here are some suggestions:
- Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption, bone health, immunity and cancer prevention. Having good levels of Vitamin D can also help slow down the aging process. Have your Vitamin D levels regularly tested and look into taking supplements as recommended by your GP.
- A Bone Mineral Density Test is important as well, due to the increased risk of osteoporosis.
- If you smoke, try to quit as smoking not only increases the risk of serious health conditions but also may trigger hot flashes.
- Exercise and healthy eating are important for maintaining overall health.
- Drinking more water during menopause is important to prevent dehydration and may also reduce the onset of hot flashes.
- Omega 3 rich foods benefit the skin by nourishing it, but may also help menopausal side effects with its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Soy contains phytoestrogens, a substance from plant sources that may act as the oestrogen produced by the body. The best sources are foods such as soy milk, tofu, soy nuts and tempeh. Valerian root is another source of phytoestrogens. Always consult a doctor before using natural remedies for hot flashes.
- Pay attention to what triggers hot flashes. This may include hot foods or beverages, coffee, spicy foods, sugars and alcohol.
If you have any concerns regarding your health during menopause, visit your GP for advice.
Menopause skincare: What can be done?
It is important to take extra care of the skin to maintain good skin health and protect you skin from the effects of menopause. For best results, it is recommended to use light textured products, rich in active ingredients targeted at preventing premature aging.
- Anti-oxidants – The skin’s deterioration mostly occurs through free-radical damage. Topical application of antioxidant rich ingredients is the key to skin repair. Vitamin C aids in skin repair and boosts the skin’s protection from the sun, Vitamin E is deeply moisturising and nourishing, while Resveratrol which is rich in antioxidants, treats lines and wrinkles.
- Sun Protection – During menopause, the skin can become more susceptible to sun damage. This is why it’s very important to always wear a high quality sun protection cream, especially for the face.
- Exfoliation – It is important to exfoliate the skin, for the face and body. This promotes new skin cells to come to the surface and allows the ingredients in your moisturisers to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, resulting in increased skin benefits. It’s important to always follow this with the application of lotions and moisturisers.
- Hydration – with aging, the skin’s ability to hold water within the body and the skin gradually decreases. This leads to dry skin, and dehydration. Using products with Hyaluronic Acid will hold the water in the skin, increasing hydration. It is also important to moisturise the body with body lotions.
Are you unsure of how to improve your skin?