Holy hell!! As if getting to menopause wasn’t rotten enough (who knew peri-menopause was such a downer!?), menopause itself is a total bummer for the skin.
Menopause and the skin
The problem? Once you fully go through menopause, your skin has a lower volume of collagen, slower skin cell turnover and slow collagen synthesis resulting in decreased skin resilience and pliability. So your skin gets thinner (much thinner!), less elastic and doesn’t heal as well. It also doesn’t hold as much water, so – in case you didn’t notice already- your skin will be drier! ¹
Why? I guess we can divide this into three parts;
- The lack of oestrogen that plays a role in skin turnover
- Your genes (look at your mum’s face)
- Your environment- from the BIG ONE- sun exposure through to your diet, smoking, exposure to alcohol and other toxins in the environment including pollutants.
So what can you do?
Oestrogen treatment in post-menopausal women has been shown to increase collagen content, dermal thickness and elasticity². But don’t hold your breath waiting for a doctor to put you on hormone replacement therapy to get younger skin alone.
These skin benefits are outweighed by the modest increase in your risk of breast cancer and heart disease if you stay on it for a long time. (But if you need HRT for hot flashes – The skin improvements are a happy bonus!)
Instead, try these tips;
- Go for a soap free cleanser. Your skin doesn’t need to be dried out by soaps at this stage of life!
- Sun screen!!! It is NEVER TOO LATE TO START!! Sun will always damage your skin, especially if it is already a little thin and damaged. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen every day before you go out. Avoid the sun altogether between 11am and 2pm.
- Get regular skin checks. Skin cancers are ridiculously common. Of course be aware of your own spots and blemishes but get a doctor to give you the once over at least once after you go through menopause and ask them how often you should come back (doctors assess your skin type and how prone you are to melanomas and other skin cancers.)
- Moisturise. Dry skin needs a moisturiser!
- Use cosmeceutical ingredients to reverse signs of skin aging. Vitamins B3, C and A are the most powerful anti-aging ingredients available.
- Skin itchy and more sensitive? Very common! Avoid perfumes and potentially harmful preservatives in your skincare.
Do you have skin care questions related to your age or skin type? Visit us on Facebook to ask Dr Ginni and the ESK team 🙂
¹ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4264279/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16096167
² Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2006 Dec;67(6):575-80.