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Behind the Brand: Interview with Phytomone Founder Jane Atherton


After bursting onto the scene a few years ago with a game-changing moisturiser for menopausal skin, Phytomone has gone from strength to strength, receiving rave reviews and transforming women’s skin across the country. With four new products added to the range this Summer, we spoke to founder and CEO Jane Atherton about her struggle to create the perfect product, why we shouldn’t be scared of cleansing oils and her tips on coping with the menopause.

Effortless Skin: What made you want to create a range for menopausal skin?

Jane Atherton: It was one of those lightbulb moments. I had been working as a clinical nutritionist and menopause lifestyle coach for a few years and it was when I started going through the menopause myself and my skin started to change that I needed to upgrade my moisturiser.

Due to my professional training, I knew what my skin needed but found it very difficult to find something that addressed all of my problems. I wanted just one product that I could apply to my skin, rather than having to use several, as the problem with layering so many different products during the menopause is the dreaded hot flush or night sweat which causes all of these lovely products to be wiped away in an instant, leaving skin unprotected.

So I set about creating a collection of products rich in plant hormones that would be suitable and effective for what my skin was going through.

How did you decide what ingredients to use in the Pause Hydra Crème?

Well, that part was easy as I knew exactly what the skin requires during this stage of life. The hard part was convincing the cosmetic scientists. It took almost 5 years to develop our ‘hero’ product, the Pause Hydra Crème, but I eventually got what I wanted.

I wanted ingredients that helped the skin to produce more collagen but the skin needs oestrogen to do this. Many anti-ageing products on the market today push peptides as being the most important ingredient for increasing collagen but these can only do so much, if the skin isn’t producing collagen due to a lack of oestrogen then the results are going to be very limited – they can’t reproduce what isn’t there!

So I decided to address this problem at the source by including an ingredient called Genistein, which is a compound found in soya beans and has a molecular structure very similar to human oestrogen. This advanced ingredient has the ability to bind to facial oestrogen receptors and encourage collagen proliferation in the same way skin does when it has a plentiful supply of oestrogen.  I also included plant stem cells which have the ability to further increase collagen production.

Finally, I added Hyaluronic acid, skin brightening ingredients, peptides, sea algae, vitamins and minerals, to address the other main skin concerns during menopause, making this product the most advanced skin care treatment on the market today for hormonally ageing skin.

We are really excited about the new products in the range, can you explain a little more about them?

We are also very excited about our new products! After developing the Pause Hydra Crème we then wanted to create a range that would complement this product. So we have introduced our face and body oils, which are blended with over 18 phytoestrogen rich oils and plant extracts, to nourish and replenish the skin during times of hormonal change.

Women are still getting used to the idea of applying oils to their skin – what advice can you give those who are new to this kind of formulation?

Oil-based products are becoming increasingly popular and for good reason too. One of the best ways to dissolve a non-polar solvent like sebum is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition – i.e. another oil. By using the right oils on your skin, you can cleanse the pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals which heal and nourish your skin. Our Phytomone cleanser has been expertly blended to gently exfoliate the skin without using abrasive or synthetic ingredients so all skin types can benefit from this practice, from dry and sensitive to oily and blemish-prone.

In terms of facial oils, our super-hydrating Calming Face Oil contains essential and botanical oils that have a small molecular structure which enables them to easily penetrate the skin and because they’re rich in moisturising fatty acids they will strengthen the skin’s lipid layer, boost moisture levels and help stabilise natural oil production.

Aside from skin care, what other things can women do during times of hormonal change to manage the symptoms?

We have to remember that this is a time of change and get used to the fact that we need to change with it. What you have been doing for the past twenty years now needs re-evaluating. Making simple dietary and lifestyle changes can often improve your menopausal symptoms for example, eating a healthy, balanced diet and taking plenty of regular exercise can help you avoid putting on extra weight, control mood swings and help with sleeping problems, which can often occur during menopause.

I would also recommend switching to a cleansing oil to effectively purify the skin without stripping it of its natural oils but do remember to check the ingredient list and don’t use anything that contains mineral oil. This is a cheap oil and a by- product of petroleum which offers no nutritional value. While it may be fine for a younger skin, it will be of no benefit to mature skin.

You can shop all the Phytomone products here.

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