The shift in hormones that occurs during perimenopause and beyond can significantly impact your body – skin included. In fact, no phase of life has a greater effect on a woman’s skin than menopause. 30% is a significant number. And that’s how much collagen and elastin you will lose in just the first five years of perimenopause. And if you’ve not protected your skin from the damaging effects of UV and lifestyle over the years, this will be magnified even further. This collagen loss leads to thinner skin and increased wrinkling. Dryness and sensitivity become problematic because the skin barrier weakens and no longer retains moisture so easily. So, menopause is an ideal time to re-evaluate your skincare routine to help turn some of this around. And the sooner you can pre-empt this, the better.
Skincare in menopause
You’ll be pleased to hear that there are so many ways that you can support your skin and reduce the effects of changing hormonal levels with both good skincare and professional in-clinic treatments. You’ll need to enhance the hydration in your regime by avoiding over-exfoliation, alcohol, and fragrance, and dial up the richness of your moisturiser with skin barrier boosting ingredients like ceramides, niacinamide, and glycerin. We also need to bolster our collagen levels more than ever, so always make sure you are using daily sunscreen and an antioxidant like vitamin C to fight against free radical damage.
Strengthen your skin barrier
Your skin’s protective lipid barrier weakens in menopause. Repair and strengthen it with gentle cleansers, niacinamide and ceramides, which are great barrier boosters. To offset water loss and a decrease in natural lipids, focus on moisture magnet humectants such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and urea. Exfoliate roughened skin with a gentle glycolic or lactic acid twice a week.
Nourish dry skin
During the menopause our skin produces fewer natural oils, which keep our skin looking dewy and nourished, as well as keeping water in our skin. As our lipid (oil) barrier deteriorates, we suffer from transepidermal water loss, so the skin gets much dryer. Seek out well-balanced formulations that contain occlusives to lock water in. Ceramides are fatty acids that form part of the skin’s barrier. They will help to nourish and restore the membranes in our skin that help keep moisture inside. Hyaluronic acid will help you fight skin dryness – it’s your skin’s natural sponge which helps it hang on to more water.
Fight against loss of firmness and elasticity
Retinoids are a great addition to your menopause-busting skincare regime. They will help boost your skin cell function and help produce more and higher quality collagen. There are now non-hormonal products such as Emepelle’s Night Cream and Serum, which contains Methyl Estradiolpropanoate (MEP). It is a non-hormonal topical cream which can mimic the effects of oestrogen within the skin without any hormonal side effects and has been shown to improve dryness, dullness, laxity, and fine lines.
Hormone Replacement Therapy or Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) can be life-changing for some women and has been shown to have a positive effect on the skin as well. In fact, several studies have found that long-term use can help to control skin laxity and density.
And last but certainly not least, don’t underestimate the power of good lifestyle habits. Now is a great time to ensure that exercise is a routine part of your week. Try a mixture of cardio and lower-impact workouts that target core strength and are kinder to joints. Supplementing Vitamin D is an absolute must to optimise bone health. Add omega 3 and 6 to help the skin barrier function, reduce inflammation and improve metabolic health. Post-menopausal women are recommended to increase their intake of antioxidants – artichokes, cherries, walnuts, dark chocolate and maybe a glass of red wine every so often.