Skincare During Menopause
Menopause and Skin
Today women can expect to live to be over eighty (hurrah!), but that means spending one-third of life in the post-menopausal state…25% of women won’t notice much change, but 75% of us will. Menopause is technically, one year after periods stop, although the ‘peri-menopause’ often start a few years earlier. The age it arrives varies widely, from thirty something, to fifty-something. This is when the first signs of oestrogen deficiency tend to show - hot flushes, sleepless nights and skin changes. It affects our whole system, not just skin and hair, although hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can benefit a number of symptoms, including intrinsic ageing.
The Bad News
It is difficult to clearly distinguish skin problems caused by low oestrogen from ‘normal’ signs of ageing - caused by UV radiation, pollution etc. But…we do know that oestrogen affects the epidermal and dermal skin layers and that collagen and elastin become thinner; collagen by 30% five years after menopause starts and elastin fibres by 8%, (making skin slacker). Oestrogen also has a knack of protecting our hyaluronic acid stores, which start to diminish when it disappears. Cells divide more slowly and elastic connective tissue weakens, so the ability to repair tissue decreases. So… quite depressing, except that HRT seems to help and so do phytoestrogens!
The Good News
Strange as it seems, we have oestrogen receptors in the skin, most densely on the face and this is reason for optimism for the oestrogen-deficient. We are able to use oestrogen transferred to these receptors via Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs) and phytoestrogens in plants contain SERMs. They can be added to creams and serums and mix well with other ingredients that we know help hydration, collagen, elastin, skin barrier protection and repair.
What We Can Offer
The two that have been thoroughly researched, with the most impressive results are: Resveratrol and an isoflavonoid, Equol. Both have peer-reviewed, in-vitro clinical study results that support the improvement of oestrogen-deficient skin. We have conducted our own small-scale study of effectiveness and believe that Resveratrol works better overall, so this is the one we chose.
The optimum dose is 2% so this is the amount we put in our Resveratrol serum. The serum also gets to work on the other areas that we know are affected by low oestrogen, like a dehydrated, uneven complexion. It takes time to repair barrier function, increase dermal thickness and restore type III collagen, typically two to three months. But in the meantime, the other phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals get to work very quickly to perk up hydration and smooth the epidermis. As good, old-fashioned ageing is no longer accepted as good, we rely on our perennial favourites to help return skin to it’s halcyon days: allantoin, CoQ-10, niacinamide, soy protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin E and zinc. These are all included in the serum at their optimum levels for improving a particular aspect of depleted skin.
Hair and Menopause
Hair follicles in different places behave differently, depending on what the iso-enzymes chose to do to the follicles. Some will turn those fine little vellum facial hairs into thicker terminal hairs, whilst follicles around the hairline may give up, leaving a greater expanse of forehead, or rather more spaces between hairs. There are hormone treatments available (and it is necessary to rule out causes other than menopause), so a visit to the GP is recommended if this is noticeable. More mundane, but annoying changes include: lank hair, straight hair becoming curly or visa versa, thinner hair, loss of condition and very often, a greater reaction to to harsh chemicals in shampoo and detergent products.
How we Can Help:
We make our Rose shampoo and conditioner for dry, over-treated and menopausal hair. We use two mild surfactants that can do the cleaning without irritation. Sandalore has always been a firm fixture as we believe it works! Inutec returns some lustre, whilst colloidal oats, chamomile and rose are all soothing to the scalp and hair shafts. The concentrated conditioner continues the work, like wrapping hair in a silky blanket. After two minutes massaging it into the scalp, wet-combing is easy and hair feels moisturised and full. This is due in part to advanced conditions and emollient ingredients with a big dollop of mango butter and argan oil. Panthenol, oats and soy-protein help restore the scalp and roots to better health in the long-term.
Ready to Enter the Wiser Third of Life
Menopause isn’t all a downhill slalom for skin and hair, but it may mean taking care to replace what nature is no longer readily supplying. We can improve a number of the less welcome signs of entering the ‘wiser’ phase of life. A diet full of colourful fresh, food and plenty of water, accompanied by a careful skin regime and you can focus on the positive aspects of menopause. There is no need to endure unpleasant changes to skin, there is no reason why it can’t feel like it did on our best ever day…even if it was in a different century!