Our hormones play such an important role in our skin health. Do you remember those pesky hormones that caused your pimples during your teenage years? Well, those same hormones are now responsible for your peri-menopause and menopausal skin changes.
Our skin is our largest organ and dependent on a proper hormonal balance to look radiant and healthy. Once we hit peri-menopause and transition through the menopause, our skin changes. Maybe those little laugh lines you have, aren’t so little anymore or your skin is becoming extremely dry and sensitive. You might even be having teenage flashbacks and noticing some pimples or tiny bumps popping up again.
Usually beginning in a woman’s life in her mid 40’s, peri-menopause can last well into her early-mid 50s. This stage is different from menopause as the ovaries are still producing enough estrogen for menstruation, but with shifting hormones, periods can become quite unpredictable and irregular. Some women develop scantier periods with longer intervals between cycles while other women develop heavier and more frequent menstruation, sometimes menstruating every couple of weeks.
Scantier periods are due to a decline in oestrogen, while heavier and more frequent periods are caused in part by an imbalance in lower progesterone levels, and an excess of oestrogen. Too many xenoestrogens (hormone disruptors) from external sources such as food, chemicals and products can also cause oestrogen dominance.
Perimenopause skin can experience many ups and down’s. Hot flashes can cause skin redness and irritations. Breakouts and skin impurities are not uncommon either as androgen hormones (testosterone) can create an excess of sebum and pore clogging oil, which in turn can cause pimples.
It’s also not uncommon for women in this hormonal stage, who are still using the birth control pill or the IUD to develop troublesome cyst-like pimples on the chin area.
Peri-menopause is a time when the skin can develop premature wrinkles, feel dry or dehydrated. Sensitivity with cheek redness can develop due to a thinning of the skin. The skin can also feel itchy and irritated. The rate of new fresh skin cell turnover begins to slow down, resulting in a fatigued skin with little vitality.
Physical symptoms : During peri menopause, symptoms can range from mild to severe and in fact there are over 40 known symptoms for this phase. The most common are:
Fatigue, hot flashes, night sweats, sore breasts, change in libido, urinary and bladder changes, weight changes, mood swings and restlessness and insomnia.
Menopause- What’s happening?
Once your periods have stopped, you have reached menopause. The term menopause technically refers to a cessation of menstruation for 12 consecutive months so if you are still having the occasional period, you are not in full menopause until you have gone 1 full year without menstruating.
Menopause skin can begin to look fragile with decreasing tone, wrinkles appear faster and the skin can feel dry, dehydrated and dull. The eye area and the jowl area can also begin to show signs of ageing. There is a strong relationship between collagen production and a decline in oestrogen so the turnover rate of new healthy cells and our skin’s natural humectants will decline as well. This can cause an increase in skin sensitivity and exacerbate the thinning and drying of the epidermis.
Some women also experience a debilitating condition called formication which is a strange global skin itching which can affect not only the face but the whole body. This is a tell tale sign of low oestrogen and can usually be helped with a shift to more phyto-estrogen foods or bio-identical hormone supplementation.
Physical symptoms :
Night sweats, vaginal dryness/atrophy, urinary urgency, frequency, vaginal infections, decreased libido, increased abdominal fat and weight gain, change in sleep quality, thinning hair, forgetfulness, brain fog and anxiety/depression, vaginal dryness and atrophy.
Julie’s top 3 Menopause skincare tips
We can’t avoid menopause but there is a way to make the transition easier. While the journey isn’t always easy, integrating simple changes that support your body and your skin’s health will make a difference in how you look and feel. Here’s my helpful tips to help you on your way:
- HEALTHY SKIN-HEALTHY DIET
* Introducing plant based superfoods and hormone-balancing foods to your diet will keep your skin healthy and youthful. Taking care of your inner ecology will always give you benefits on the outside. Begin by adding flaxseed, pumpkin, sunflower and chia seeds to your diet. These wonder foods are high in essential minerals and omega oils that calm inflammation and are vital to healthy cells and tissue development. These foods help to nourish the skin as well as preventing dry itchy skin and menopausal eczema.
* Fermented foods are also essential for a healthy skin as our skin’s health starts with a healthy digestive tract. Good bacteria found in fermented foods and probiotics bring vital nutrition to our skin and bring anti- inflammatory flora to the digestive tract as well as reducing the signs of early ageing.
* Our skin is the escape route for toxins so try to eat 5 portions of organic fruits and vegetables daily and and avoid foods grown with pesticides. Increasing all alkalyzing leafy greens as well as all non starchy vegetables and fruits deliver beneficial vitamins and antioxidants to the skin as well as acting as natural anti-inflammatories for the skin. Oily fish and healthy proteins are also essential building blocks for our skin.
*Sugar Ages You! Reduce sugar and all inflammatory foods such as refined flour, trans fats, processed and deep fried foods. These unhealthy foods damage your skin through a process called glycation. The sugar you consume binds to proteins that produce harmful free radials called AGE’s. These AGE’s make your collagen and elastine proteins (the building blocks for beautiful skin) stiff, dry and brittle. The result of a diet relatively high in sugar (this also goes for the sugar in alcohol) is lines and wrinkles. If you have a problem with eczema, reducing or eliminating cane sugar can restore the skin quickly.
* Stay hydrated! Drink enough water (2 L) during the day, to keep the body and skin hydrated and nourished. I also love organic coconut water to replenish and hydrate. Decrease your amount of acidifying and dehydrating coffee and instead choose anti-oxidant rich matcha tea. Keep an eye on your alcohol content as well as this is your fast track for premature wrinkling. Alcohol dehydrates your skin and is very hard on the liver.
2. HEALTHY SKIN-HEALTHY SKINCARE ROUTINE
* Upgrade your skincare regime during menopause. The skin will have different needs as you age as the formation of collagen in the skin’s matrix, is dependent on estrogen. As this estrogen declines, upgrading to products that use plant based peptides, coenzyme 10, silica and the Hyaluronic acid, will help to stimulate collagen production. This helps keep the skin plump and minimize deep wrinkle formation.
* Daily cleansing is the key to healthy skin and always make sure you clean your skin at night before bed with proper products. Soap and water are not good enough. As the skin ages, it needs more nourishing, hydrating ingredients that don’t strip the acid mantle of the skin so opt for a hydrating milk or gel cleanser to properly remove makeup and debris. Misting with a hydrating toner after cleansing will add needed moisture and help calm and balance all skin types. Without proper night cleansing, your skin ages 7 times faster.
* The quality of products that you use at home are also essential to your skin’s nourishment. Opt for plant based, synthetic free products for your skin’s health. When purchasing products, always choose closed pumps and tubes over open jars. Purchasing open jars, means your product is exposed to air every time you open it, which deletes any bio-availability due to oxygenation. It’s also a breeding ground for bacteria. You may think you’re buying a great natural product, but after a couple weeks, your open jarred product isn’t going to give you any benefits not to mention it’s a waste of money.
* Exfoliation is key to unlocking new fresh, healthy cells as we age. As we transition through menopause our cell turnover decreases dramatically, causing dull, dry, wrinkle prone skin and acne prone skin. A home based exfoliant that contains active enzymes, will safely and effectively hydrate the skin while stimulating new fresh cells to resurface. Salon treatments using alpha/beta hydroxy acids are also a great way to renew and resurface the ageing skin. The skin will be immediately refreshed and glowing.
* Professional treatments are highly recommended to address the ageing process of the skin. If you choose to use botox or fillers, remember that injectables come with no “free of risk’ guarantee. Our liver is one of our most efficient detoxifying organs and is needed to synthesise and metabolize everything and that includes denatured botulism (botox). Having no, unbiased long term studies about the affect of injectables on our immune system, it’s safer to choose non invasive treatments that integrate micro-current, EMS for muscle tightening, light therapy, lymph drainage, facial cupping and other effective stimulating treatments.
3. HEALTHY SKIN-HEALTHY HABITS
* Sleep. A shortage of sleep will cause the skin to age faster and is responsible for a change in hormone levels and metabolic function. While insomnia is a major symptom of menopause there are many good supplements such a magnesium and passiflora which help you to sleep better and get the rest you need.
* Don’t smoke. Smoking during and after menopause increases risk of cardiovascular disease, emphysema and edema. It ages you 5 times faster than a non-smoker, as nicotine affects the glands and organs responsible for oestrogen production post menopause. Please quit.
* Exercise. Moderate physical activity such as cycling, walking, dancing or weight lifting are all great for keeping the blood flowing and circulation healthy. Our skin needs proper oxygenation for a healthy complexion and without exercise our skin ages fast.
*Vaginal health in menopause also changes and many women suffer with a condition called vaginal dryness and atrophy. This extremely painful condition can lead to chronic vaginal infections, repeated bladder infections, irritation and a loss of libido. Our internal skin cells change due to a decline in estrogen and it’s important to know there is help. Often a localised bio-identical oestrogen can help recover the damaged tissue and help heal the delicate micro-flora. Vaginal suppositories with hyaluronic acid can also hydrate and help rebuild the thinning vaginal tissue. Omega 7, listed below as a supplement can also help heal delicate mucosa of the vaginal tissue.
* Most women in peri-menopause and menopause can benefit from natural remedies and supplements for better sleep, more energy, adrenal function improvement, hormonal balancing and an overall better quality of life. Our skin can also benefit from supplemental nutrition to help stimulate collagen, maintain elasticity and proper circulation.
My personal top 10 MENOPAUSAL must have’s for a healthy body and great skin are:
- Hydrolyzed collagen powder–slows down aging process and improves elasticity.
- Silica–trace mineral and key ingredient in collagen production
- Ashwaghanda- hormone balancer, reduces anxiety and helps energy levels
- Omega 7
- Milk Thistle
- Vitamin B complex
Your journey towards menopause is your own unique experience. Ageing is a fact of life, but there is help and support along the way. If you are experiencing peri-menopause or menopausal skin issues and prefer a natural holistic approach to balancing hormones and achieving radiant skin, please contact:
Julie Jones- 06 41 47 46 13
Essence Therapeutics-Women’s wellness
You can also follow me on instagram : @happy_menopause for tips and tricks to make your menopausal journey a bit more enjoyable!