As we enter the meno years, along with the mood swings and weight gain can come massive changes in our skin.
The drop in estrogen that is a hallmark of the perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause leads to a dryer, thinner skin with wrinkles emerging on a complexion that was once smooth and plump. This happens all over our bodies, not just our face. This is because estrogen controls how thick our skin is, its moisture content (estrogen’s our juice!) and how well our blood flows to the skin.
Other changes that may occur are the onset of adult acne and the odd whisker or three. ☹️ An imbalance of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone can lead to the acne you thought you’d left behind in your teens while the whiskers are produced because our lower estrogen levels mean we have a little more testosterone circulating.
Diminishing estrogen can also reduce the levels of the skin’s natural hydrators like hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) aka hyaluronan is not actually an acid but a lubricating, moisturising substance the body produces naturally in the skin to help keep the levels of collagen and elastin up. This is why it’s – usually in a form made in a petri dish in the lab – also used as one of the gold standard moisturising ingredients in skincare along with glycerine, and as an injectable filler for lips and lines.
Studies have shown HA can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and sagging within four to six weeks of regular use.
Put Down The Paper Bag & Your Wallet
Before you rush off to find the nearest paper bag or spend thousands of dollars on HA, let me share with you some other easy – and natural – tricks you can do to help minimise the signs of ageing. I do have one caveat though. There is no magic potion, ageing, like the meno years, is a natural part of life.
If you use our 40+ or 55+ one of the benefits that came out in clinical testing was that the herbal hormone-balancing trio we use – EstroG-100 ™ – helps lessen skin wrinkles and improves hydration. In addition, we’ve noticed it also strengthens and thickens hair and nails. Who knew they were a beauty treatment too!Before you rush off to find the nearest paper bag or spend thousands of dollars on HA, let me share with you some other easy – and natural – tricks you can do to help minimise the signs of ageing. Click To Tweet
Now, onto your skin health lesson.
First off, as you may have heard before the skin is our largest organ so any physical changes in our bodies impact it. The physiology of skin is quite complex and it has several layers but what we want to talk about mostly here are the proteins collagen and elastin.
Collagen & Elastin
Collagen is responsible for the ‘plumping’ and thickness of skin and elastin the ‘elasticity’ and firmness. With age and environmental issues such as excessive sun exposure, lifestyle factors, smoking, and the aforementioned lessening of hyaluronic acid, the protein bands may become cross-linked and lead to wrinkling and sagging. It happens naturally by one percent a year from our 20s onwards, but as we hit the meno years this is speeded up.
What can you do?
Take Omega-3 oil supplements. Fish oil is effective or if you’re a vegetarian, flaxseed. Evening Primrose Oil always has a good effect on my complexion. The double bonus here is that these are good hormone balancers also. And yes, you can use them with 40+ and 55+.
2. A Spoonful Of Oil
I like to take a spoonful of coconut or olive oil a day. This is not just for skin purposes but I feel like it lubricates my joints and digestive process too. That is purely anecdotal and not based on any clinical studies!
Choose skin moisturisers with gold standard hydrators – the hyaluronic acid and glycerine I mentioned before – high up on the ingredients list.
4. Skin Rejuvenation
One of the best ingredients for adult skin is a good quality vitamin A aka retinol or retinoid. It needs to be used in the right percentages, vitamin A is proven to strengthen skin and stimulate collagen. I like Osmosis and Environ as they are based on fantastic science. If you want a less expensive version a dermatologist did tell me in my beauty editor days that he found Neutrogena retinol products very effective.
Get your beauty sleep. I know this can be a challenge during the meno years but seriously it hasn’t earned the moniker of ‘beauty sleep’ for no reason. Sleep-time is a time when your body rejuvenates and also works with your hormone and stress levels as well as your metabolism. Make sure it’s dark, wear a mask if you have to. I like to use a night oil from Antipodes on my skin at night. It can leave traces on the pillowslip though so I put a hand towel over the pillow.
6. Body Love
The skin on the body shows the passing of time just as much as your face and declining estrogen becomes very apparent here. I like to use the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and embrace daily dry body brushing and oiling. Use a long-handled natural bristle body brush or exfoliating gloves (K-Mart have them at very reasonable prices) and, starting at your feet brush upwards. Follow with coconut, sesame (not the cooking kind) or olive oil and step into the shower to rinse off. Pat dry. Your skin and circulation will love you for it.
7. Eat The Rainbow
Nutrition is not only the cornerstone of great health but it’s also one of the building blocks of great skin. Eat the rainbow to get all the power of antioxidants for skin strength.
8. Eat Bitter Greens
As someone once said to me, (I’ve forgotten who it was) ‘we are human beings living in a modern world’. So true, and with that comes lots of substances to weigh down our liver – our main detox organ. Ingesting bitter greens like rocket, kale and watercress help to detox our liver, which will definitely manifest on your skin.
9. Salivate For Soy
Soy is controversial but when it comes to Meno-She’s it’s a good thing. Soy is rich in isoflavones, which are plant-based compounds that act similar to estrogen in the body – the hormone that’s reducing during the meno years. 50mg per day is the general recommendation.
10. Ditch The Sugar
I can’t say it enough sugar is not our friend. However, when it comes to the skin it’s definitely a foe. Refined sugar causes insulin to spike creating inflammation, which in the skin breaks down collagen and elastin resulting in sagging and wrinkles. Convinced yet? Read our sugar series here. Sugar, Hormones & Weight Gain, 10 Ways Your Life Will Improve Without Sugar, 10 Changes Sugar Can Cause In Your Body.
A Word On Whiskers
As estrogen levels drop during menopause, the levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can increase. (It’s not just men who have testosterone, it’s just more predominant in males.) Because this is the hormone that oversees facial hair, you can now understand why we can sprout whiskers, particularly around the chin area.
I advise plucking for a temporary measure or electrolysis/laser for a more permanent solution.
It’s a weird thing I know, you think you’ve waved acne goodbye long ago but for some women, those pesky zits rear their head again in midlife. This is because the production of androgen hormones, which drive the oil-producing glands, can surge during the meno years.
This will settle down, but I’ve got to suggest you try natural remedies like a baking soda paste (made with water) and/or tea tree oil to zap them.
So there’s some homework for you. I really hope it helps.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me here. 💙