As most menopausal women will tell you, menopause means havoc for your skin.
But seeing as menopause happens when both natural skin aging and premature skin aging (which is mainly caused by cumulative exposure to the sun) are starting to set in, it’s hard to tease out how many of the changes in your skin are due to aging and how many to menopause.
But here’s what we know;
In menopause, as oestrogen (1) levels fall, skin quickly loses collagen, weakening its structure and thinning the skin. It all happens pretty quickly.
In fact, studies show that women’s skin loses about 30% of its collagen within the first 5 years of menopause. And after that, we continue to lose a further 2% of our collagen every year for the next 20 years. (2) OMG!!!
So what does that mean for your skin?
Well, it’s not good news.
Our skin loses its firmness and starts to sag.
Permanent lines develop from the tip of the nose to the corners of the mouth.
Wrinkles become more prominent.
You may see bags under your eyes.
Your pores can look larger as a direct result of a lack of skin firmness.
Big pores make your skin look and feel rougher and less even. (3)
The pH of your skin significantly increases after menopause. (4) This is going to see the microbiome of the skin alter significantly and is also associated with drier (5) skin and an increase in the likelihood of a number of skin conditions and the skin’s sensitivity (6) to soaps and physical injury – so it gets easily bruised.
So what can you do?
- Use a gentle soap free cleanser (Calming Cleanse). They should help cleansing without drying the skin or raising its pH.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (Zinc Shade) everyday. The skin’s loss of elasticity through menopause will be exacerbated by sun induced skin aging. And sunscreen is your first line of defense against premature skin aging.
- Use Alpha Hydroxy acids (Smooth Serum). Low strength Alpha Hydroxy Acids (Glycolic and Lactic acid) (7) have been shown to improve the Ceramide production and increase skin barrier function. They will leave your kin smoother and better hydrated.
- Use a Vitamin B3 based Moisturiser (B Quenched). As your skin is drier, using a moisturiser will become more important. Vitamin B3 has been shown to improve the skin barrier function (meaning your skin retains more moisture); and
- Use a Vitamin A (Retinal) cream at night (Ultimate A), which has been shown to thicken the skin and increase skin elasticity. (8)
And then there is Hormone Replacement Therapy. While skin benefits would never be one of the reasons that you choose whether or not to use it, it is something you should be talking to your doctor about anyway. And a side benefit is that it will help reverse and reduce many of the changes in your skin caused by Menopause.
Menopause will most likely have some pretty big impacts on your skin. But thanks to the work of independent researchers and the evidence that they have been able to establish, there are ingredients and procedures that can help.