As we women reach menopause, it’s not enough that we have to deal with random bouts of sweating, the popping up of tree-trunk-sized facial hair and difficulty sleeping, we also have to withstand the effect it has on our skin.
It’s true I’m sorry to say, that skin aging in menopause is a fact we’ll all have to either address or learn to ignore. As your hormones change and decline, the decrease in B-Estradiol levels is one of the culprits in the accelerated aging of the skin. As the estrogen levels drop during menopause, the fat deposits that were stimulated by estrogens in the past are now redistributed all over the body, landing…you guessed it, on the abdomen, the thighs and the butt. The supportive underlying fat that used to live in the face, neck, hands, breasts and arms leaves the skin to sag. Is there’s no end to the good news here?
Collagen and elastin
The lowered estrogen levels also result in less production and repair of collagen and elastin in the skin. These are proteins that are considered to be the glue that holds the body together, giving skin its strength and elasticity and allowing the skin to return to its natural state after being pulled or stretched. If you have been a sun worshipper then your collagen is already in bad shape and when skin loses that repair system and resiliency, it is in a state of elastosis and wrinkles form.
But wait there’s more! Blood flow through the capillaries in the skin is reduced during menopause…yep…estrogen’s fault again, so fewer nutrients and oxygen are available. The skin cells turnover slower and the skin thins and gets dryer. These same changes also occur in the urinary tract, bladder and the vagina. Oh, joy.
More sun sensitive
We have cells that manufacture pigment in our skin called melanocytes and with the exiting of estrogen, they are reduced and produce less of the protective melanin. This means that as menopause progresses our skin appears lighter and becomes more prone to sun damage. So if you haven’t worn sunblock before, THIS is the time to start!
Well, that’s what we know them as, those large brown spots that appear on the skin as we age. You can blame the disappearing estrogen again! Estrogen keeps the production of melanin under control so as the estrogen leaves, the areas of skin that have been continuously exposed to UV rays throughout your life are no longer regulated and brown spots start popping up, mostly on the face, hands, neck, arms and chest.
What can you do?
If you are a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy, then this is obviously the most effective route to take to replace the depleting estrogen. Our recommendation is bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.
If your doctor does not feel this is best for you then…
As mentioned, get yourself a minimum SPF 30 sunblock and wear it faithfully everyday rain or shine. (Those UV rays still make their way through cloud cover)
Choose doctor recommended active skincare with:
- Rich moisturizers for mature skin
- Vitamin C & E for antioxidants and photo-protection
- Peptides to fool your skin into making collagen
- Growth factors to promote tissue repair and regeneration
- Glycolic acid to assist in cell turnover to keep skin glowing
- Retinols, as they will do their best to try and normalize your cells and take them back in time
Your skin needs extra care at this time and the sooner into menopause you take action, the longer your skin will stay supple and smooth.
We can’t stop menopause but we can go down fighting its effects all the way! Now Pass me those tweezers, I have a few chin hairs to attend to.
by M. Wally
Age is state of mind. Aging is a treatable condition.