Menopause can sometimes seem like a taboo subject. Society valorises youth and celebrates motherhood as the ultimate feminine achievement, so it’s little wonder that ‘The Change’ is hidden away.
The lack of conversation and education around menopause can mean that the symptoms come as a real shock when they do hit. Hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, dry and itchy skin, decreased libido, mood swings, brain fog and vaginal dryness make daily life an arduous experience, but many feel the pressure to hide these away due to them feeling unpalatable to wider society. Which is strange really, because half of the population will experience them at some point.
With our clientele being overwhelmingly female, we thought it was time to really explore this important time in a woman’s life, and how we approach the changes that ‘The Change’ makes to the skin and body.
What Is the Menopause?
The menopause refers to the cessation of periods once the ovaries stop producing eggs, while the perimenopause describes the onset of symptoms, often including irregular periods.
As detailed above, a woman will often suffer an onslaught of symptoms that make daily life harder to bear (sweating in a nylon uniform whilst commuting on a busy train, overheating whilst sharing a bed with someone, maintaining a relationship whilst dealing with a lack of libido and vaginal dryness: these can be incredibly stressful and upsetting). There is also often an emotional process whereby women feel less ‘relevant’ or ‘sexy’ and report starting to feel invisible in society.
What Happens to the Skin During Menopause?
A fall in oestrogen, which is crucial in the production of collagen, means that skin can lose mobility and feel thinner, Elasticity and glow can decline, while pigmentation and fine lines make more of an appearance – as can acne, due to the hormonal fluctuations.
What Can Be Done To Combat This?
It’s not all doom and gloom. We think it’s important to know about the negative sides of menopause, but luckily there are steps we can take to combat the signs of ageing during the menopause.
As the skin becomes more prone to the effects of the sun, with increased pigmentation and age spots, it’s important that you come to us to buy skincare that is truly effective in protecting your skin as well as helping reduce pigmentation. Alumier and ZO Skinhealth, which we stock, offer fantastic kits and because we know you and your skin so well, we’ll be able to tailor the correct package (including an SPF) for you.
We are HUGE fans of IPL at the clinic. The heat that comes from the IPL machine has a bacteriacidal effect, meaning that it can battle the hormonal spots. It breaks up pigmentation (though as part of the process, the pigmentation will temporarily darken so do be aware of this), and the heat introduces trauma to the skin, meaning that collagen production is sped up. It is also fantastic for breaking up broken capillaries, which may become more of a concern during hot flushes.
We also love radiofrequency, which lifts and tones the skin and helps deal with turkey neck. Again, heat trauma means that collagen production is boosted and a course of treatments leads to dramatic results. Radiofrequency can be used on face and body, as for anyone feeling less confident due to the weight gin often associated with the menopause (seriously who invented the menopause and can we have a word with them?) this offers a confidence boost. And while we’re on the subject of weight gain…
We always like to stress how vital it is to our work as your aestheticians to take in your diet and lifestyle choices. The weight gain that can occur with the menopause often leads women to go on harsh, restrictive diets, but this is a choice we like to discourage. Why? It’s vital that your diet includes good fats including omegas 3 and 6 (see our blog post here for more information). Supplements will help (remember, your body cannot product its own omega 3) but so will eating oily fish, avocado full-fat, yogurt…It’s vital to nourish your skin from the inside, while we take care of the outside.
We are all about a boosted lymphatic system at Skin Philosophy. It’s become something of a buzzword lately, but believe us, we have been on about it for years!
A sluggish lymphatic system can lead to puffiness around the eyes and ankles, but because the lymphatic system is also responsible for carrying lipids (fats) from the gastrointestinal system to the skin, taking care of it during menopause is really important.
Drinking lots of water, getting the circulation up to boost oxygenation, yoga and a healthy diet will help you. And on our part, we have a lymphatic drainage suit (believe us, it’s magic for swollen ankles), facial electricals aimed at flushing away toxins and in-depth experience in facial massage. We love to use microcurrent machines to improve the skin’s own functionality, whilst lifting and toning the muscles, which can sag with time and decreased collagen. They’re available to buy at the clinic and online, to boost the effectiveness of our treatments between appointments, so read our blog post on them here to find out more.
Finally (we know this post was a long one), the dry skin that can develop/worsen with the menopause is something we focus on. Microneedling is a great treatment because it stimulates collagen production and gives a glow, it combats fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation and the microchannels created mean that hyaluronic acid (that magic molecule that can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water) can penetrate the skin effectively. The hydration levels increase and it’s just wonderful to see the effect that it has on our clients. Just like with the handheld microcurrent machine you can buy from us, you can help maintain product absorption by using our dermaroller with our Aqua+ serum (which contains hyaluronic acid) between appointments.
Menopause isn’t something to be scared about, but it is something that is good to be prepared for. At Skin Philosophy, we don’t just give you temporary hydration, we aim to get the physiology of your skin working to the maximum, so that your will look optimally hydrated, toned and even, and best of all you will feel your best – which we know from experience – is the best glow-getter of all.