Most of us are familiar with tales of hot flushes, night sweats and insomnia that can come hand in hand with the menopause but not everyone knows about the effects this transitional time can have on your skin.
Reduced levels of oestrogen and changing levels of hormones mean that your body stops producing as much collagen as well as losing its ability to retain moisture. This means thinner, dryer skin that is much more wrinkle prone and sensitive and can even break out in the kind of acne you thought you’d waved goodbye to in your teens. While this all sounds like just another practical joke from Mother Nature, there are lots of things you can do to combat these skin problems. Here are some common issues brought on by the menopause and some tips to help alleviate them.
Dry and Itchy SkinAs your body stops producing as much collagen and your natural cell turn over slows down, the skin on your face and body can become much dryer. A gentle but rich face cream is an essential to keep skin supple and a soothing body cream like Neutral 0% Intensive Repair applied all over, with particular attention paid to elbows and knees will help prevent the itching associated with parched skin, which is a common complaint for menopausal women. Apply your body cream straight after a shower to help seal in the moisture and remember to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated from the inside.
With dryness comes an increased risk of sensitivity and redness. Make sure you use a gentle cleanser like Neutral 0% Face Wash to avoid triggering any reactions and don’t use steaming hot water to rinse your face as this can aggravate the skin and can also be dehydrating. Cutting out cigarettes and alcohol can also help calm dry, sensitive skin.
Your hands are exposed to the sun more than any other part of your body so it’s only natural that they will show their age sooner than other parts of your body but add in reduced levels of elasticity and collagen and a depleted layer of fat under your skin – another side effect of the menopause – and your hands may well be much dryer and any veins are likely to show through more easily. Give your hands some extra TLC with a tube of Neutral 0% Hand Cream that you can keep in your handbag for regular top ups throughout the day.
As hormones fluctuate, the skin can become congested and acne prone. Menopausal acne is typically deep under the skin rather than superficial and usually appears on the jaw line and around the chin and mouth. Use a gentle cleanser and a non-perfumed moisturiser to avoid further irritation and try to use non oil based make-up. Exercise and diet can play a role in helping to clear your skin so try to get the oxygen circulating with a regular work out and look into a high fibre diet including ingredients like flax seed and lentils which are widely considered to be beneficial to
Age Spots and Sun Damage
Melanin production is controlled by our Oestrogen levels so as they deplete during the menopause we become more susceptible to sun damage, pigmentation and age spots. Wearing a high SPF (don’t forget your hands) will help prevent age spots but if you already have blotches that you’d like to reduce try a gentle exfoliator to buff off dead skin cells or one of the many pigment fading products available at the pharmacy.