Skin Care During Menopause

Every woman past her 40s will go through menopause, and every woman will notice changes to her skin. So what is the best skin care regimen for those menopausal changes? 

The most effective skin care for menopause starts early. Young skin appears to cope with late nights, fast food, sun (and sunbeds), even drinking and smoking. But all these things are storing up trouble for later in life.

The best way to minimize menopausal skin problems is to take care of your skin every day of your life. Enough sleep and a healthy diet, including lots of water, will give more of a healthy glow to your skin than any amount of creams or treatments.

Regular moderate exercise not only keeps your heart healthy and your bones strong, but makes sure that essential nutrients make it throughout your body, including to your skin. That bright red face you see in the mirror after the gym is your blood doing good things to your skin!

Recommended Skin Care
Obagi Nu-Derm Clear | Obagi Professional-C Serum 20% | Obagi Nu-Derm Blender

 

And while a healthy tan looks attractive, and exposure to the sun produces essential Vitamin D, always wear sunscreen or use a moisturizer with a protection factor of at least SPF15.

Of course, not smoking or using alcohol to excess is good health advice for anyone, but is particularly helpful for those who want to avoid skin problems at menopause.

Menopausal skin problems are directly related to the changes in estrogen levels. Estrogen production slows during perimenopause, the three to five years during which your periods become irregular, when you might begin to have hot flushes.

Estrogen has four major roles to play in the way that your skin looks and feels:

  • creating collagen
  • producing natural oils
  • replacing old skin cells
  • and regulating melanin production.

Collagen

Collagen, the protein that makes your skin elastic and smooth when you're young, is naturally produced in the body. The skin is instructed to make collagen when cells called estrogen receptors are stimulated by the estrogen in your blood.

You will never lose those estrogen receptors, but as the levels of estrogen in your body decline, the estrogen receptors are stimulated less often, and fewer collagen cells are produced.

On average, a woman loses about 30 percent of collagen in the skin during the first five years of menopause, and then about 2 percent a year after that.

Your face has lots of estrogen receptors, which is why you may notice the appearance of fine lines or large pores there before some other areas of your body.

Many cosmetic companies sell skincare products containing plant hormones. It's true that some plant hormones called phytoestrogens, including those from soy, evening primrose or yam extract, are chemically similar to estrogen and will stimulate the estrogen receptor cells to produce collagen.

But they're often expensive, and despite the claims of the manufacturers, there's not a lot of evidence to suggest they are significantly better than a good, balanced, everyday skincare regimen.

Natural Oils 

Estrogen also regulates the production of your body's natural oils from the sebaceous glands in your skin. Many women find that menopause is a time when existing skin problems become more apparent.

Dry skin becomes drier, oily combination skin becomes more oily. For some women, there are noticeable changes in their skin, and the skin type you've had (and bought products to treat) for the last 30 years may no longer be what you have.

The best advice is to treat the skin you've got. Be alert to changes in your skin. and change your skincare regimen accordingly.

Dead Skin Cells

Estrogen also regulates the turnover of dead skin cells. Every day of your life, you're shedding old skin. Normally this process happens without you even being aware of it. But as estrogen production slows, you may notice patches of skin that appear dull and lifeless.

Adding extra moisturizer may not help, because those dead skin cells are preventing the moisturizer from being properly absorbed. When you wash your face or other problem areas, simply give it a rub, not just a splash with water. But avoid harsh soaps or hot water, which may dry your skin even further.

Steaming hot baths and showers are seriously bad news for dry skin. Use a gentle exfoliating face mask or peel regularly, to ensure that moisturizers can get into the lower layers of your skin.

Melanin 

Your skin produces melanin naturally, and every woman should know that she needs sunscreen every day, not just in summer. Estrogen helps to regulate melanin production, but as those estrogen levels decline, melanin production can get out of control, leading to age spots and blemishes.

The problem is made worse by the fact that skin becomes thinner during menopause, meaning that underlying problems are more obvious. Again, prevention is better than cure.

Menopausal melanin issues may be the result of damage done to your skin in your 20s and 30s, which are only just becoming apparent. Use a skin lightener containing hydroquinone, recommended by skincare experts for discolored areas.

Many skincare professionals also recommend the use of retinoids. These help Vitamin A get into the skin to repair damaged areas, and they can also play a role in stimulating collagen production.

You can't turn back your body clock, and there's a lot to be said for growing older gracefully. But with some care, prevention and a little know-how, menopause doesn't have to be bad news for your skin.

Recommended Skin Care
Obagi Nu-Derm Clear | Obagi Professional-C Serum 20% | Obagi Nu-Derm Blender

December 01, 2015 by Amanda Brown
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