Menopause. There are many, many articles written about menopause and how you can manage symptoms. Perhaps not so many articles are written about how you should care for your skin during these changes. Over the past years, I have treated many menopausal skin conditions. You may experience some of the following;
- deeper lines and wrinkles
- pigmentation (some people call these liver spots, and they can just suddenly appear)
- acne (adult acne and hormonal changes can cause unwanted spots and pimples)
- rosacea (a rash resembling a butterfly shape over the nose and cheeks which are red and hot, sometimes accompanied by tiny spots)
- dryness and milia (skin may suddenly feel and look very flaky with increased amounts of small white bumps that are known as milia)
- dehydration (skin may lack firmness and appear flat)
- dull, lifeless appearance (skin may lose its luminosity and look pale)
- broken capillaries (due to night sweats and hot flushes).
How should you adapt your skincare routine to account for these changes?
Lines and wrinkles - these will be more evident due to the decreased production of collagen and elastin. This will deplete the pads of fat that 'plump-up' the skin, causing these problems. The use of products that contain hyaluronic acid, retinol, and vitamin C will help to minimise the depth of wrinkles. Dermal rolling will also stimulate collagen and elastin fibres.
Pigmentation - this can occur due to the hormonal changes, and suddenly you are faced with darker areas that were not there before! Vitamin C will help to lighten pigmentation, and sunblock of factor 50 will help to prevent further damage. Kojic acid is very useful for lightening isolated pigmentation.
Acne - hormonal changes can cause spots - just when you thought you were over them! You may find outbreaks around the chin and jawline. A gentle approach is required, and the use of salicylic acid is helpful to control outbreaks.
Rosacea - a very uncomfortable condition affecting the nose and cheeks. It can be hormonal, lifestyle, alcohol-induced, or inflamed due to hot, spicy foods. Gentle, natural products, such as light cleansing milks and light moisturisers, should be used with a high sunscreen of factor 50+. Avoid high irritants, soaps, and scrubs.
Dryness and milia - you may find you will need to step up your skincare routine to a richer, more hydrating product that will prevent flakiness. Milia will need to be removed professionally, as these little bumps cannot be squeezed out.
Dehydration - skin may become dehydrated through night sweats and hot flushes. Hyaluronic acid will help to retain the moisture in the skin and a creamy cleanser will prevent the skin from further dehydration.
Dull, lifeless skin - as we age the skin becomes paler and skin can become very lifeless. Use of light reflecting make-up is required, as well as using retinol and vitamin B. Microdermabrasion can assist in turning over cellular production and remove old cells. Invest in some facials to increase blood circulation and stimulate cellular turnover.
Broken capillaries - due to heat and flushing, broken capillaries can appear on the chin and cheeks. Skincare should be gentle with no scrubs and a high SPF 50+ for protection. Vitamin C will help to protect and improve the strength of capillary walls.
1. Use products correctly - account for adaptability in the skin, start using products slowly, and build up over time. Always use a minimum of SPF 30 with zinc and benzoyl peroxide to reflect the sun rays.
2. Lifestyle adjustments - avoid fabric and water softener, cosmogenic ingredients in beauty products, drug usage (recreational and prescription), and check use of coal, tar, or grease. Reduce alcohol and sugar. Maintain a healthy diet with plenty of green leafy vegetables, fruit, lean meat, and fish. Plenty of sleep and weight-bearing exercises for bone health, as osteoporosis can be an issue around this time of change. Reduce salt intake, as this can cause high blood pressure. Ensure you receive sunlight exposure every day to absorb vitamin D to prevent calcium being taken from the bone.
- zinc monomethionine
- high-quality omega-3 fish oil
- vitamin B complex
- vitamin D.
There are many more adjustments you can make to manage the menopause, and this can be in the way of diet.
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