‘How does the menopause affect your skin? – is a question I get asked about all the time and here is what you need to know.
The Culprit is ‘less oestrogen’
Your body is producing less oestrogen and this means your skin will start to thin, sag and wrinkle. The other reason for this is of course that your body produces less collagen which is the skin’s main support system. Combine that with losing some fat under your skin and your skin has less elastin, making the ‘saggy look’. Also, now at menopause your skin is becoming drier, which will cause more fine lines and wrinkles. Crow’s feet around the eyes become pronounced as the lines above the upper lip start to become permanent.
Your skin gets drier due to your oil glands producing less oil – your own natural moisturiser – so you need to use more moisturiser than before. If you put on your moisturiser and leave it to absorb for a few minutes, does your skin still feel a little bit tight? Then simply put on another thin layer of moisturiser.
No more hot water!
Skip the long, hot showers and I need you to think about what is happening to your skin when you apply hot water…. The hot shower is melting away your own natural oils increasing the dryness. So warm showers only and put on moisturiser while your skin is still damp to seal in some water. This will help boost your skin hydration levels.
Skin cancer and wrinkling are caused by the amount of sun you got in your 20s, 30s and 40s but you still need to protect your skin. Skin usually produces less melanin , the protection pigment, during menopause than when you were younger. Also I have already told that your skin is thin as you are producing less collagen and we want to keep as much wonderful collagen as we can. So look for a broad spectrum Spf 30 or higher and wear it every day. Wearing sunscreen is going to protect your skin from losing more collagen, from pigmentation and lines and wrinkles.
Dry skin beware!
As your hormone levels decrease with age, skin quality and wrinkles can worsen. However, know that wrinkles look worse on dry skin and made more oblivious if you have dry skin. Using a moisturiser on your face and neck every day is going to plump up the outside layer of dead skin cells, resulting in younger, smoother looking skin.
Age spots on the face, hands and chest suddenly appear around menopause. Help prevent them by using sunscreen every day. Have you got dark spots already?? Chase them away with exfoliating products that shed dead skin cells and think about incorporating a vitamin C serum into your routine.
Hands start to age quickly during menopause as they lose moisture, collagen and fat. This makes for scrawny, veined and wrinkled hands. So never forget to moisturise your hands after every wash and protect them from the sun by applying sunscreen when outdoors. Wear gloves when doing housework or gardening.
Collagen is your friend as are antioxidant rich foods!
Collagen is the secret to keeping skin youthful and plump. As the oestrogen levels drop, so does the collagen in your skin. Eating antioxidant rich foods will help keep your skin stronger from the inside out, fighting those free radicals. Incorporate brightly coloured fruits and veggies and try to eat every colour of the spectrum.
One of my favourites is that a red pepper has 3 times more Vit c than an orange!
Vit C = more collagen and brighter skin.
Soy is rich in isofavones which are plant based compounds that act like oestrogen. Isoflavones can help with thinning skin so try half a cup of miso or try tofu.
Stress may make your skin drier and more sensitive. It can trigger skin conditions such as acne or psoriasis. When you are stressed, you tend to forget to look after yourself and your skincare routine. Try yoga or meditation and look for other stress reduction things to do to help you relax.
Exercise is really great for skin for a number of reasons. Firstly, it relieves stress. As we age, our circulation slows down and exercise will boost it. That extra oxygen and blood flow will help to make your skin brighter and healthier.
Beauty Sleep is not a myth!
Sleep will help prevent dark circles and gives your body a chance to repair, renew and recharge. Lack of sleep can change your hormone levels and metabolism in the same way that ageing does. So try to get that solid 7 hours plus of shut eye every night.