Menopause and your skin. Get the low down and top tips to help with the most common issues
Those pesky hormones! Just when you thought that you had it all under control, your teen years are well behind you, your baby making days are a thing of the past along creeps a new chapter in your relationship with hormones. Menopause and perimenopause can be a difficult time for some women especially in the area of skincare. Understanding the process that happens within the body during this time that can affect skin and understanding what simple steps you can take to help will make a big difference in your comfort and skin condition.
Firstly what happens during perimenopause and menopause?
Not content for menopause to just arrive silently with no fuss and little fanfare there are a few years of a lead in to the main event. This is known as perimenopause. We might be tempted to shake our fists in disagreement at why our bodies would want to prolong this process but if you think of it like a dress rehearsal or a preparation period it does make sense. It's during this time, sometimes in women's 40s or even 30s for some, that you can start to develop some good skincare and dietary habits that will stand to you when the menopause starts.
During perimenopause estrogen is present in the body. This means that your period will still be present but may become irregular. During this time hot flashes may start and skin issues such as dryness, acne and excess oil production, skin thinning and rosacea.
Menopause is when you have had no period for a 12 month stretch. During menopause estrogen production stops and it is this that results in the main skin related menopausal issues. Some women go on hormone therapy which can help.
What are the main skin complaints during perimenopause and menopause?
Dryness: As estrogen levels start to decrease dryness will increase. This is partially due to decreasing levels of collagen which has been directly linked to lower estrogen rather than to ageing alone (1). It is for this reason that any product which encourages collagen production is recommended during this phase.
Acne / excess oil production: Some women in perimenopause experience a return to teenage, acne prone skin. Often this is accompanied with dryness and irritation which is slightly different in its presentation to teenage acne. It is for this reason that gentle, pore cleansing products should be used as some acne products can be harsh and drying. Products with a small percentage of salicylic acid or lactic acid will clear dead skin cells and help to unclog pores (2).
- Rosacea: Similar in appearance to acne but with some differences rosacea can be triggered during perimenopause. Appearing like red, pus filled bumps and / or inflamed blood vessels and red flushing it is most common in ages 30 to 50. This condition would not be treated with pore cleansing products but rather a good moisturising balm which will protect the skin from the elements is recommended. Avoid rigorous scrubbing and use lukewarm water. Also apply sun screen designed for sensitive skin when out in the sun (3).
Dryness: As with perimenopause those nonexistent estrogen levels will continue to exacerbate skin dryness. Collagen boosting products, moisturising cleansers which do not strip skin of essential moisture and products with humectants such as Hyaluronic acid will all help parched skin retain hydration and mositure (1).
- Skin thinning and wrinkles: As with dryness decreasing levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid cause skin sagging, thinning and an increase in wrinkles. In fact women lose around 30% of their skin collagen in the first 5 years of menopause. After this the decrease is more gradual. Both collagen and hyaluronic acid supplements can make a difference combined with products that, when applied topically deliver both right where it is needed (4)
What products should I consider?
For perimenopause type acne CeraVe make an amazing range of products which contain salicylic acid. Available in many big pharmacies and online this is suitable for sensitive skin.
Moisture boosting balm for cleansing and moisturisation
Keegan & Co. Nourishing Cleansing + Moisturising Balm contains natural, organic, plant based ingredients which will bring dry skin back to life! Packed with nourishing oils and butters to feed your skin with the moisture it needs whilst protecting your skin’s natural barrier from external stress. Signs of aging are softened, dryness is banished and skin is clean without stripping it of natural oils. Recommended for normal / dry skin. Perfect for cleansing and moisturising dry menopausal and perimenopausal skin.
Collagen boosting Bakuchiol
Keegan & Co. Skin Renewal Night Serum is a potent bottle of skin loving oils which work while you sleep to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and bring more radiant skin by morning. Our star ingredient, Bakuchiol, a natural alternative to retinol stimulates skin cell renewal and collagen production without the usual side effects associated with retinol such as irritation and dryness. A multi functional product use one to two drops over your night cream or add to your usual jar of night cream for extra potency.
Treatment essence with Hyaluronic Acid
Keegan & Co. Treatment Essence With Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, Papaya, Rose, Neroli and Jasmine combines exotic and soothing floral waters with papaya enzymes and super hydrating Hyaluronic Acid. Naturally present in our bodies, Hyaluronic Acid can hold over 1000 times its weight in water and when included in your skincare routine has been proven to hydrate and plump skin bringing a more youthful look and feel. Papaya enzymes help to clear away dead skin cells allowing products to penetrate more effectively. A multi functional product use as a super soothing and hydrating layer before your moisturiser or use a few drops on a reusable cotton pad as a second cleanse after Keegan & Co. Moisturising + Cleansing Balm.