Is the Menopause affecting YOUR skin?

So Davina has got us all talking about it but is the Menopause affecting your skin? Having specialised in hormones with my work as a Reflexologist for many years it feels quite exciting that a celebrity comes along and BOOM people are finally talking about their symptoms.

You certainly know things are changing when someone knocks on your door to say to you – your the herbal expert, can you help my partner with her menopause symptoms, she is really struggling – I felt like jumping for joy that actually partners now feel comfortable enough to talk about this.  I am sure Davina would be too!

Anyway onto the skin, I feel this is perhaps one of the not so recognised symptoms, but let me tell you I see SO many women over the age of 40 who say to me they are starting to get breakouts that they simply have not experienced since they were a teenager.  

I was a lucky teenager in many ways, and didn’t suffer too much with acne but I would always get a really big hormonal spot on my chin just before a period.  During our menopausal years – and remember these can start anywhere in our 40’s really, this so often starts again, and if you think about it it kinda makes sense right?  I mean our hormones are the cause of these as teenagers and we think nothing of blaming them back in our teens, but we somehow forget about hormones affecting our skin at the other end of the hormonal changes.

So how does Oestrogen affect our skin?

Our skin is the largest organ in the body, and reflects what is going on within our bodies to the outside.  There are Oestrogen receptors in the skin so it makes a lot of sense that the skin can be hugely affected by the menopause.

The top layer of the skin the Epidermis is where our natural moisturisers Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides and Sebum are produced and are largely affected by Oestrogen, so as these levels drop so will the levels of moisture in our skin.  When our skin is dry it becomes itchy, one of the most common complaints of menopausal women.

The second layer of skin, the Dermis is where our Collagen is produced and this acts like the building blocks of our skin holding it all together, when collagen is reduced our skin will show fine lines and wrinkles and will become thin and therefore fragile.  Our collagen levels drop by 30% in the first 5 years of menopause, it is no wonder we start to age quickly once menopause hits!

Menopausal acne is believed to be due to the drop in oestrogen levels or an increase in testosterone, sadly this symptom of the menopause can still happen even if you are on HRT, possibly caused by the influx of progestin which is used to replace the oestrogen.

So what can we do about this?

There are a few things you really should ideally avoid, but if that is not possible certainly cut down on, avoiding these will help stop the collagen levels from dropping.

Sun – Sun damage can be bad enough on it’s own but when mixed with the menopause you have a recipe for ageing dry skin very quickly! UV light will break down collagen.  Use Sun Block as a separate product as when included in your skincare products will simply not be enough, so add this after your moisturiser and under any make up, you can use make up that includes an SPF but do not rely on it solely.

Smoking – a sure fire way to age the skin as tobacco actually reduces the oestrogen levels at a time when these are reducing anyway, now is the ideal time to give up.

Stress – never underestimate the impact stress can have on your skin.  Stress can play havoc on our hormones, and again can reduce the oestrogen levels.

Other than starting from within and looking at your diet, Keeping our skin hydrated with plant oils is one of the number one things you can do to help your skin, of course upping your water intake too wouldn’t go a miss. 

So do I have to look at fancy ingredients?

You don’t need complicated expensive lotions and potions, and don’t be bamboozled with marketing words either.  If you want to keep it simple look for the products or ingredients that contain high amounts of vitamins such as A and C, these can help with cell regeneration, this speeding up of cell renewal will help you look younger and aid in the repair of those fine lines.

All of the oils used in my products are bursting with vitamins and antioxidants, but not only that they are very useful in calming down any redness and inflammation, so if you are suddenly finding your skin is sensitive you should find this range really helpful.

If you are just starting to look into your skincare and not sure where to start I always recommend my Cleansing Balm, this product will moisturise your skin whilst cleansing, it will exfoliate gently and can even be left on overnight as an overnight mask for that extra hydration boost.

So if you are struggling with Dry Itchy skin do check out the full product range, it will help quench your dry thirsty skin, and soothe and calm any irritations especially those caused by those pesky hormone changes.