Skin, Hormones and the Menopause

The final big event in terms of hormonal changes is menopause.

Some of my friends tell me how one moment they are enjoying a youthful complexion, and then suddenly they break out in all manner of rashes, hormonal acne, dry patches, rosacea, uneven skin tone and their skin starts sagging. It also seems that no creams seem to work anymore. An unnerving concept isn’t it?

From the moment we are born, our cells are programmed to die and be replaced. This is how we grow, once we hit the menopause though, cell renewal slows down, and the texture and quality of skin is no longer that of a younger person.

We wear our hormones on our face. You can get all of the face work and injections in the world, but hormonal health is how to keep your skin looking as young as possible. Here’s what happens to your skin and hair when certain hormones are too low:

Low Estrogen – fine lines around your mouth, crow’s feet form around the eye area, skin and eyes become dry, the forehead wrinkles and hair becomes thinner. Generally skin can become very, very dry. Capillaries are reduced and therefore blood flow lessens the delivery of nutrients to the skin. With this impaired function the skin also becomes more susceptible to UV damage.

Low Testosterone – causes facial wrinkles to increase much quicker.

Low Thyroid function – dry, scaly skin, thinning eyebrows, brittle and thin hair, face and eyelids can look puffy.

Low Adrenal Hormone – your skin and hair is drained of natural oils, losing their healthy glow. However, the plus side of low adrenal hormone is less leg and underarm hair!

Low Melatonin – poor sleep, makes you look generally older than your age.

Low Growth Hormone – causes your upper lip to thin and makes the jaw line look smaller. Plus causing deeper skin wrinkles.

This time of change doesn’t need to be a negative one. The choices available to us are quite few to be able to take the right direction. And if there’s a time when TLC is needed, it’s now. You can’t turn back the clock, but the important thing is to deal with the now, and start looking after your skin with the best possible care from now on. To me, it always makes sense that your first choice should be a natural approach like good diet, exercise and lifestyle.

Here are few things you can do to help some of the symptoms of peri-menopause:

– Exercise – which releases feel good hormones, lowers blood pressure, maintains weight and releases stress.

– Cutting back on hot, spicy foods and alcohol – which can encourage hot flushes and sweating.

– Cutting back on stimulants like coffee and cigarettes.

– Eating phytoestrogen filled foods (plant estrogen foods) – such as beans, pulses, tofu and other soy based products. These help balance female hormones by ‘acting’ like them in the body. Another one you may have heard of is flaxseed. Although it’s known as a natural estrogen mimicker, eating flaxseed actually helps estrogen metabolism, improving the breakdown and removal of estrogen to help avoid excess levels in your body.

– Keep weight healthy.

– Taking some Vitamin D3 – the sunshine vitamin, also helps hormone balance, sometimes vitamin E too.

Start really thinking about what is found in the homecare products you are using.

Most standard moisturisers are water based and packed with parabens, alcohol and synthetic fillers. Using those products will make your skin even more sensitive and dry.

To keep skin supple and hydrated, use ingredients that stop some of the collagen loss and encourage skin renewal and repair. To fight the skin changes during menopause, look for products that combine the best ingredients and really do the job.

Look for these:

Vitamin A (Retinol) – creates healthy skin cells and reverses damage to some extent. It’s also good for clearing skin blockages, acne and Rosacea. It is good for promoting skin rejuvenation. The earlier you start using it the better, as you will be less likely to develop acne or UV damage.

Hyaluronic acid – holds moisture in the skin cells, keeping the skin plump and smooth.

Antioxidants – Vitamin C effectively protects the skin from free radicals, treating aged and sun damaged skin.

Tripeptide – mimics the anti-ageing properties of retinoic acid, providing great anti-ageing results.

In terms of treatment, natural peels are a fantastic way to reverse any damage and signs of ageing. Natural peels can also clear the skin of acne. They apply the same principles as active home care (medical grade skin care) but at much higher doses, creating more change in the skin.

Desi Petkova