Caring for your skin during the menopause
How is skin affected by the menopause?
The most obvious effects of the menopause on skin are caused when levels of the hormone oestrogen fluctuate and decline. Oestrogen affects almost every system in the body, but for skin it can mean a reduction in natural collagen and hyaluronic acid production, trigger hormonal breakouts as the oestrogen androgen balance is disturbed, and cause the skin to feel dry and sensitive due to changes in the skin barrier. Fluctuating levels of the hormones progesterone and testosterone can also cause problems as their effects are suddenly ‘unmasked’ by plummeting oestrogen. But it’s not all bad news. With a little research and the right skincare routine we can help manage many of these changes as they happen.
A routine for menopausal skin
Many women report that their skin feels dry and more fragile during perimenopause. Due to the decline in oestrogen, which affects levels of hyaluronic acid – a naturally occurring moisturiser – it may be time to upgrade to a richer textured moisturiser (think Superskin™ Moisturiser) and layer this onto a hydrating serum to help seal moisture back into skin’s uppermost layers.
Target skin sensitivity
To help calm the symptoms of sensitive skin and support the skin barrier, opt for fragrance-free skincare and try a gentle cleanser that won’t disrupt the skin’s delicate balance, such as Pro-Biotic Balancing Milk Cleanser. To help reduce the appearance of redness, reach for an overnight treatment such as CICA Restore Skin Paste, enriched with hydrating natural extracts like Centella Asiatica.
In the clear
If breakouts occur try not to panic – it’s all part of hormonal flux (you’ve been here before in puberty). Instead, commit to a consistent cleanse, tone, moisturise routine and target areas of congestion with a clarifying clay mask to help promote a natural glow and regain a sense of control. It will pass.
Brighten the load
Some women find that menopause can trigger pigmentation or dark patches on the skin – similar to melasma in pregnancy. While the exact reasons behind this are unknown, we do know that hormonal change can influence the production and dispersal of melanin pigment in the skin. It’s also thought that an increase in oxidative stress and inflammation around the time of the menopause may further contribute to changes. While admittedly there’s no quick fix, products that help boost skin cell turnover will promote skin brightness and help even skin tone.
Sort sleep-deprived skin
Insomnia and disrupted sleep are unfortunately commonly reported symptoms during perimenopause – the knock on being a tired, dull-looking complexion the morning after. While getting to bed early and adopting a calming bedtime routine will certainly help promote a good night’s rest, when the inevitable sleepless nights occur it leaves skin less resilient and unable to repair as efficiently. Overnight treatments, such as Superskin™ Nourishing Night Cream, can help nourish and support sleep-deprived skin, while Instant Brightening Eye Cream will help you look (if not feel) slightly more awake.
Protect and support ageing skin
A decline in oestrogen leaves skin more susceptible to UV damage, which in turn can leave skin more at risk of its ageing effects (hello fine lines and wrinkles). Now more than ever it’s imperative to use adequate SPF and avoid exposure in the middle part of the day. Meanwhile, support skin as it ages gracefully with formulas rich in naturally occurring antioxidants and protective extracts to help keep the surface feeling smooth and firm.
Want to learn more about the menopause?
Dr Louise Newson, a GP and menopause expert, has developed the free menopause support app, balance, available to download now via the App Store and on Google Play.