Menopause can take a toll on us. The hormonal shifts have both emotional and physical effects. Some of it is out of our control, but a lot of it can be managed.
As our estrogen levels drop we notice changes such as hot flashes, changes in our skin and hair, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, irritability and decreased sex drive. (to name just a few) As an aesthetic nurse I am frequently asked what can be done to help with some of the skin changes.
Obviously, it goes without saying, that having a healthcare provider to help you manage the medical aspects of “the change” is in your best interest. HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is a viable option for many of us, but not everyone. Some individuals may have contraindications for HRT. If it is an option, estrogen replacement can help alleviate many of the symptoms of menopause. Each individual has to look at their own medical history and determine what is the best approach for them.
ESTROGEN AND OUR SKIN
As our ovarian function declines, we lose estrogen production. A side effect of this is the loss of collagen. Estrogen helps the body with the production of Collagen I and III. Additionally, estrogen supports oil gland activity, elastin and subcutaneous fat. We notice this as we discover our skin thinning, new wrinkles, sagging, dry skin and less volume. We can provide support to our skin as it experiences menopause related changes. Here are a few ideas….
- Eat a healthy diet full of antioxidants. (eat lots of colors!)
- Try to incorporate soy into your diet. The isoflavonoids in soy mimic estrogen.
- Drink plenty of water/stay hydrated.
- Try to sleep 8 hours a night. (easier said than done, I know)
- Wear sunscreen every day, rain or shine! UV rays break down our collagen.
- Use a topical antioxidant prior to your sunscreen every day.
- Utilize a retinol/retinoid (Vit A) product topically at night. Studies show this helps stimulate new collagen.
- Utilize peptides in your skin care. It is proven that various peptides help support the production of collagen and elastin.
- Use a gentle non-stripping cleanser.
- Exfoliate your skin. A physical exfoliant or lighter chemical peel exfoliant.
- Look for hyaluronic acid in your skin care.
- Utilize fillers/fat transfers to replace lost volume.
- If dryness is an issue, make sure your moisturizer is replacing enough moisture so your skin feels comfortable.
There are other issues I hear complaints of related to menopause. Facial hair growth is a common complaint. (as estrogen levels drop and our androgen hormones become more dominant) If there is pigment in the facial hair, laser hair removal is a fantastic option. If the hair is light or has no pigment, electrolysis is a better option. There are also prescription creams that can decrease facial hair growth.
Acne can be a problem that resurfaces at this point. Again, due to the dominance of androgen hormones our skin can have thicker sebum production. Retinoids/retinols can be helpful. For more serious issues your health care provider can help you decide if Spironolactone (a prescription) is an option for you. The Spironolactone helps suppress the androgen hormones, helping both with hair growth and acne.
Estrogen also helps control our melanocytes. As we lose the estrogen, hyperpigmentation can become more of a problem. So, this brings us back to sunscreen and topical antioxidants to protect from UVA/UVB.
For those wanting to go the extra steps to help with collagen production and repair prior damage, there are numerous laser modalities available that make a considerable improvement and difference. I am currently a fan of HALO™, IPL’s and Ultherapy®.
I read that we spend 1/3 of our lives in menopause based on the average life expectancy in the developed world. We can make it feel good and look good ladies!
I’ll finish with a current list of favorites.
The entire line of Elta MD® sunscreens are excellent sunscreen options.
The Skinceuticals line has excellent antioxidants. Both CE Ferulic® (for drier skin) and Phloretin CF® are great options.
Alastin® Retinol at night is effective, yet gentle.
The Alastin® Restorative Skin Complex has numerous peptides and antioxidants. This stimulates collagen and elastin.
Both SkinMedica® and SkinCeuticals offer hyaluronic acid products that effectively boost hyaluronic acid in the skin.
SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore is an excellent hydrating cream for those with drier skin.
All of the mentioned products are available at TOC Medical Spa.
We have a sale this month too!
10% off one product
15% off two products
20% off three products
Hope this is a little informative 🙂