Women understand that hot flashes, insomnia, increased risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), and general hormonal chaos are common before and during menopause.
It's no wonder that, as our body's largest organ, the skin can also be a challenge during the transition. The shift in estrogen levels and reduced collagen production in menopausal women doesn’t actually lead to skin rashes, but it can sure begin to look like you’re going heavy on the rouge. Menopausal women lose fat under the skin and elasticity drops, so the skins becomes thinner. That, combined with dryness, may lead to wrinkling, sagging, redness and acne. Those dreaded crow’s feet, brown spots and lines above the upper lip seem to all of a sudden jump out of the mirror with every glare.
Remember, skincare is self-care. Ladies, review these important reminders for protecting our maturing skin:
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Your body and your skin can benefit from extra moisture. Consider using a cleanser with a creamy formula that hydrates instead of foam or gel cleansers, which can strip moisture away. Also, skip long, hot showers and apply a deep moisturizer while your skin is damp. Some women prefer products containing hyaluronic acid or glycerin, while others prefer shea or cocoa butter. Take some time to find what works best for your skin and talk to a dermatologist.
Sunscreen is not optional. While you don’t have to avoid beach vacations and outdoor picnics, you should definitely protect your skin and apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all uncovered areas to prevent age spots (A hat doesn’t hurt, either!) Already got spots? Exfoliating products that shed dead skin and toners can help fade them. Age spots can look more obvious as we age no matter the season, so sunscreen is a must during the winter as well!
Hands show our age. Veins are more obvious and skin more wrinkled as we age. This is most noticeable on our hands, which can look see-through and bony. Invest in a moisturizer for the hands and apply every day and often. Wear gloves when doing house or yard work.
Give your skin a check-up. While our skin is often associated with beauty, it’s a critical part of our overall health. Our risk of skin cancer increases as we age. Additionally, skin health can be closely linked to the health of our other organs. For example, skin thickness can be related to the risk of osteoporosis, which is already increased in menopausal women. Annual skin checks are a must.
Change up the diet. Consider stocking up on soy which is rich in isoflavones, plant-based compounds that seem to act like estrogen in the body. And, yes always stop by the colorful vegetable section of your grocery store.No smoking. The nicotine in cigarettes constricts your blood vessels, depriving your skin of oxygen. This results in dull, uneven skin tone. It can even worsen dark, under eye circles.
As women age, we go through varying stages of emotional experiences, struggling to get comfortable with not only what’s going on the on the inside of our body, but the outside too. Be kind to yourself and your skin!