Menopause and your skin, a huge topic! The menopause is largely misunderstood, feared and under-treated – but it’s something all women go through at some point in their life. Davina McCall’s recent documentary on menopause inspired me to write this guide, speaking on the impact of menopause from a skincare perspective. As a woman going through an early menopause myself, and having seen countless clients as a skincare expert navigate this often challenging stage of life, I know all too well how frustrating and confusing the effect of menopause on our skin can be.
Although lots of guides and advice tend to be aimed at women in their fifties and sixties, the truth is we often see signs of the menopause in our skin much earlier in our forties and even late thirties. This comes as an unwelcome surprise to many women, who are suddenly dealing with signs of ageing and unpleasant changes to their skin unexpectedly.
One thing to be clear on about menopause is that it affects the health and appearance of our skin in multiple different ways and can be quite unique to each person.
As peri-menopause and menopause occurs, our hormone levels begin to fluctuate wildly. This has a knock-on effect on our skin, which starts to show signs of the internal turmoil within. You might experience breakouts and acne for the first time in over a decade – or develop conditions such as eczema and rosacea. Skin also starts to show its age – we begin to see more visible lines as wrinkles deepen and skin starts to sag as it loses elasticity.
Many of these symptoms and conditions are caused by hormonal changes, as well as natural reduction in collagen production, a reduction in cell turnover and skin thickness.
During menopause dropping oestrogen levels mean our bodies also start to dry out, which extends to our skin. Many women report feeling skin has lost its plumpness and vitality – it feels tight, sensitive and much more prone to dryness.
There’s a lot of shame surrounding menopause and lots of women feel they are unable to ask for help, or shouldn’t. Many suffer in silence – but we should be able to speak openly about menopause and support one another to find solutions and feel confident enough to seek professional guidance when needed. It’s a natural part of life and needn’t be feared.
Like my mother, I’m experiencing an early menopause – and although I started to see symptoms from around the age of 40, it wasn’t until I was 45 that I sought medical help. As I try as much as possible to follow more holistic methods HRT was not something I ever thought I would consider, but along with selected supplements this really has been life changing for the better. After just 3 months of HRT the improvement in so many aspects of my health was huge, from my mental health (The improvement in brain fog for me has been the most notable improvement) to physical aches and pains – and skin springiness!
Whether you decide to opt for HRT or not, please know that maintaining healthy, radiant skin – and the confidence that comes with it – is possible at any age!
Navigating the wealth of advice and product recommendations for menopausal skin can feel overwhelming – so start by taking simple baby steps which will help you to feel better straight away without giving in to confusion or spending lots of money on lotions and potions without a clue what they do, or whether they’re good for you.
Firstly – review your skincare routine. I can’t stress this enough. As your body changes, your skincare routine will need to change too (or you’ll need to introduce one, if you haven’t already!) Focus on getting the basics right and introduce nourishing, hydrating ingredients into your regime – think hyaluronic acid, ceramides and squalenes. Avoid overusing acids and peels that can strip the skin; I love acids and peels they can be quite skin changing for the better, but you may have been able to get away with being more ruthless and slap dash in your twenties and thirties with these types of ingredients, now is the time for more of a combined approach, with more gentle and deeply hydrating skincare in conjunction with the power packing actives and take advice and treatments from a well trained professional when it comes to peels. Collagen-stimulating products are also a must to combat loss of firmness and fine lines – so carefully adding peptides and retinoids to your regime is key.
It’s also important to concentrate on skin health from the inside out, which starts with good gut health, balanced nutrition and hydration. Consider taking collagen supplements or formulas specifically designed to support your skin from within alongside your topical skincare regime.
Yes! With some clients we can do loads to their skin because there are so many factors in play which can have such a hugely positive impact, from a variety of technologies to specific peels, infusions and other methods, which can be combined in treatments or staggered alongside each other as part of a skin maintenance program. taking an individualised approach is always essential when it comes to skin treatments of any kind. Some of the technology I recommend for menopausal skin that needs lift, tone and contour include:
*HIFU: HIFU stands for High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound. It’s a non-invasive, non-surgical and painless treatment which has similar effects to a facelift – stimulating cells to produce more collagen to improve skin structure and elasticity. More pricey, but the results are well worth it.
*MicroCurrent: Microcurrent therapy involves electrical neuromuscular stimulation, which tightens and firms skin whilst stimulating collagen growth in key areas of concern such as jawline, brows and cheekbones. Read more here
*Radiofrequency: RF treatment uses low-energy radiation waves to heat cells within the deepest layers of the skin, stimulating collagen production. This treatment is wonderful for tightening the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This has been core to some of my signature facials for a number of years. Read more here
This list represents a small selection – there are many treatments that can be wonderful for menopausal skin, not forgetting skin peels, needling and so much more.
One very important thing to add to the conversation around menopause is the importance of taking care of your emotional wellbeing at this time. This is a major thing to go through in life and it brings up all sorts of different thoughts and feelings. On top of this, we’re seeing ourselves age. When we look in the mirror and start to feel as though things are heading in a direction we don’t like, it can severely affect our confidence. Then we start to feel stressed and upset by the changes we’re facing, which starts a self-perpetuating cycle of negative consequences, since stress accelerates skin ageing further.
Think of your new approach to skincare and health as an act of kindness for yourself – not just a way to conform to society’s (rather unrealistic) beauty standards. Humans age – and we should be allowed to do so gracefully in our own way, however is best for us, without judgement. How you feel on the inside is truly important, so if investing in yourself now is a wonderful way to enhance both your physical and mental health.
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