The hormonal changes that happen throughout menopause can have a dramatic effect on our skin. During this natural biological process, our ovaries stop producing the female hormones, progesterone and oestrogen, and stop releasing eggs. Unfortunately, this process can come with many unwelcomed side effects such as mood swings, poor sleep, hot flashes and weight gain but another noticeable side effect that doesn’t get much attention is ageing skin.
What happens to the skin during menopause?
Oestrogen is the hormone that’s responsible for many of the things that we associate with youthfulness so as we go through menopause, our skin can show the telltale signs of ageing. Starting in your twenties, women slowly start to lose collagen but during the first few years of menopause, we can lose up to 30% resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin and crepiness in the neck area. Because oestrogen also plays a role in sebum production, its decrease leads to the skin becoming a lot drier and thinner, plus as the ‘female hormones’ decrease, the ‘male hormone’ increases which can lead to acne and excess hair on the cheeks, neck and chin. This can all seem a bit daunting but don’t worry, there are some easy adjustments that you can make to treat these changes.
How to care for your skin during menopause
Retinol: If you’ve not already got a Vitamin A derivative in your routine, now is definitely the time to add one. Capable of treating everything from wrinkles to acne, Retinol helps to transform the skin by increasing collagen and elastin production in the dermis while exfoliating the top layers of dead, dulling skin. A top pick for us is Medik8’s Crystal Retinal 6 which contains a specialist crystal-encapsulated form of 0.06% Retinaldehyde, which is quicker and easier for the skin to convert into Retinoic Acid. It effectively boosts collagen production, smoothes uneven texture and contains natural antibacterial properties to help clear up blemishes, leaving the complexion brighter, firmer and more youthful-looking.
Moisturisers: After menopause, your skin loses its ability to hold onto moisture, meaning that proper moisturisation becomes more important than ever. Switch lightweight gels and lotions for rich creams that contain hydrating ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid as this powerhouse active can hold over 1,000 times its weight in water, leaving your complexion more hydrated for the long term. We love Dermalogica’s Intensive Moisture Balance which contains Hyaluronic Acid and a specialist BioReplenish Complex which floods the visage with moisture and a comprehensive blend of barrier lipids that deliver vital nourishment to the skin up to ten layers deep.
Sunscreen: As you should already know, sunscreen is important and you need to be using one with a protective factor of 30 or higher every day, rain or shine. Not only will this help to prevent skin cancer but it will also reduce signs of ageing like fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. During menopause, upgrade your SPF to one that contains antioxidants as this will protect your skin from environmental aggressors like free radicals, smoke and pollution, as well as sun damage. Exuviance’s Skin Caring BB Fluid SPF50 is a must have for us as its weightless formula is packed with powerful antioxidants and protective minerals. It also has a universal tint that blends effortlessly into the skin to boost natural radiance and blur imperfections in seconds.