Keeping glowing during the menopause
When we go through the menopause, we often find our bodies changing in many different ways. Our skin is no exception. Oestrogen plays an important part in developing collagen, which keeps our skin strong and supple. This is why when our hormone levels begin to change, we may notice that our skin starts to look less glowing and more tired, or fine lines and wrinkles developing as it loses elasticity.
Another symptom of the menopause is the skin becoming drier, as glands in the skin start to produce less oil. This lack of moisture can lead to your skin becoming increasingly sensitive, presenting dry or itchy patches, or causing abnormal sensations from a mild prickling or numbness, to a troublesome “ants crawling all over the skin” sensation, which is known as formication. This can happen when decreased levels of oestrogen also lead to an increase in histamine – which can make you itchy.
So what can we do to provide some relief from these symptoms and get our skin back to its best?
To stop the skin becoming dehydrated, make sure to drink plenty of fluids. The recommended intake is six to eight glasses a day, of water, low-fat milk, sugar-free drinks, tea or coffee. That said, reducing your caffeine and alcohol intake can also help, so try to opt for a ‘decaf’ instead of your usual caffeinated coffee, and keep an eye on your units if you enjoy a few glasses of wine – use a unit calculator if you’re unsure of how much you’re drinking. The more hydrated you are, there’s less chance your skin will become dry and itchy.
Use a moisturising cream
If you don’t already, it’s a good idea to use a moisturiser regularly to boost your skin’s hydration. Moisturisers are useful as they smooth and protect the upper layers of your skin. For severely dry skin, try using a moisturising cream that both nourishes and locks moisture into the skin. Some specialist skincare companies, for example Liz Earle specialise in products made specifically for mature skin that are certainly worth looking into. There are also creams that have been developed which contain ‘cosmetic HRT’ such as Phytomone. Alternatively, consider using products containing fatty acids, nourishing vitamins, or collagen-boosting ingredients. Why not keep a small tube of cream in your handbag, as well as a moisturising facial mist that you can use on the go? Moisturising cream needn’t cost the earth and many women in our Facebook group The Chilled Menopause have found that Palmers Cocoa Butter, which is available at most high-street supermarkets does a great job.
Feed your skin
Make sure you’re eating the right things that will ‘feed’ your skin as well as your body. As well as fruit and vegetables, essential fatty acids, such as Omega-3 are an important addition to your diet if you suffer from dry skin as they can help with hydration and inflammation. They can be found in oily fish and flaxseeds. Also getting plenty of Vitamin E and Vitamin C-rich foods in your diet (such as kiwis, almonds, berries and green vegetables) can help to increase collagen production.
Use a sunscreen
Another important habit to get into is making sure to use sun protection each day, even when the weather looks cloudy or dull – as the UV rays can still damage and harm the skin. Try to use at least SPF 30 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays and re-apply it throughout the day. As we get older, our skin becomes thinner, plus the drop in oestrogen means that there is less melanin produced by our bodies, so the skin is more sensitive to UV damage. This is why we might start to see deeper wrinkles and other signs of skin damage, for example age spots on the skin.
Change up your beauty routine
When washing your face and body, make sure to use a gentle cleanser with added moisturisers and warm water rather than hot water, which can strip your skin of its natural oils. In terms of make-up, older skin is super absorbent, which is why your eye shadow or blusher might disappear after just a few hours. These days there are many make-up brands out there such as Look Fabulous Forever and Studio 10 which have been created with mature skin in mind and offer some great tutorials and tips. Using a face primer, for example, before your foundation will help your make-up to last longer. And make sure to take a look at professional makeup artist, Ariane Poole who demonstrates makeup secrets for older women. As she says herself, it’s not about anti-aging but looking and feeling great at any age.
Speak to your doctor
If your skin condition is painful or you’re really suffering with menopausal symptoms, we would recommend speaking to a GP, who will be able to offer more options and find something that works for your skin. Many women say that taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT), for example, which in effect replaces oestrogen levels in the body, has improved their skin’s texture and tone, making it look fuller and firmer. But obviously this option isn’t for everyone and there are other natural remedies that might suit you better.
If the menopause is playing havoc with your skin, we hope that we’ve given you some tips for finding a remedy to restore your glow. If you find something that has worked particularly well for a skin issue you have experienced, do let us know in the comments below.
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