MENOPAUSE AND YOUR SKIN 101

MENOPAUSE

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.

SUNSCREENS

The entire line of Elta MD® sunscreens are excellent sunscreen options.

c-e-ferulic

The Skinceuticals line has excellent antioxidants.  Both CE Ferulic® (for drier skin) and Phloretin CF® are great options.

alastin retinol

Alastin® Retinol at night is effective, yet gentle.

Alastin Restorative Skin

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.

triple lipid restore

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

CURRENT FAVORITE EYE PRODUCTS

I have a few eye products in my rotation and feel they all have passed the test of time.  I have been using several of them for a number of years.

My two favorite eye creams, which I have at all times, are:

Alastin Eye

Alastin™ Restorative Eye Treatment™

  • Tri-Hex Technology™ which is a group of peptides that help to stimulate elastin and collagen, minimizing fine lines and increasing skin turgor around the eye area.
  • strengthens skin which helps to minimize any sagging, especially of the upper eye lid.
  • reduces puffiness and dark circles
  • brightens and evens skin color
  • has a gel like consistency,  although it is a cream, I like using it as an AM eye cream because it wears well under eye make-up.

microeye

Neocutis Micro⋅Eyes Rejuvenating Balm

  • Utilizes MPC™ technology which is also a group of peptides which have anti-aging skin benefits.
  • minimizes fine lines, crepiness, puffiness and dark eye circles.
  • wild yam and moisturizing lipids fight dryness and textural issues.
  • THIS is a super hydrating eye cream if you have issues with dry skin in the eye area.  It is like butter! (in a good way)
  • I like this product at night, as it is hydrating enough that I prefer a lighter cream during the day under make-up.

 

maybelline

Maybelline  Instant Age Rewind® Treatment Concealer

  • This very reasonably priced product has been on the market for a number of years and is available at your local grocery or drug store.  It is a product I use under my eyes everyday as part of my make-up routine.  It works just as well as any high end under eye concealer I have used and has the added benefit of having several peptides in its ingredient deck.  I prefer the brightener, which is a pinker shade and really brightens the undereye area.  The product is available in multiple shades for a variety of skin tones.  My feeling is if I am using an under eye concealer on a regular basis, why not have it have benefits for my skin!  I think I have been using this for 7+ years and occasionally try a higher end option, but go back to this tried and true product.

 

HOW TO COMMIT TO A SKIN CARE REGIME

routine products

We all have the best intentions whether it be related to our diet, exercise program or other goals.  This is about committing to a solid skin care regime.  Just like all other ‘habits’ it can take practice for a new skin care program to become the new normal.   I believe the research shows that it takes 21 days for a new practice to become a habit.  So, how can we make that easier and help insure we will commit?

The easier we can make it for ourselves, the more likely we are to experience success.

First off, decide what your day time skin care should look like for you and what you are trying to target.  Ideally, everyone includes an antioxidant and a sunscreen with zinc every morning.  A night time routine should include a retinol/retinoid and plenty of moisture.  Once you have established which skin care items are going to suite your skin care needs make sure the products are accessible.  It can be easy to want to skip any part of the routine when we are in a rush to get out in the morning or we are exhausted at night.

Have all your must use products easily accessible.  I keep a tray with my current products on the bathroom counter next to my sink.  I am always able to commit in the morning, it is at night, sometimes, when I am exhausted, that I might be less committed.  But once I brush my teeth my products are right there so I rarely skip.

I am a true believer in topical skin care.  I came in to medical aesthetics with pretty sun damaged skin and can honestly say that I turned my skin around.  I once thought tanner was better.  I even used tanning beds back in the day.  Being a pale red head, this was just a bad idea on so many levels.    I believe that what we use topically is a big piece of the “pie” and is worth the money and time.

I tell patients to, at the very least,  commit to an antioxidant, sunscreen and retinol/retinoid.  I am a huge fan of products with multiple peptides these days as well.

Maybe this well help you get on board with a topical skin care routine.

Happy Monday!

 

 

 

PEPTIDES IN SKIN CARE

peptide

What are peptides and why do we want them in our skin care products?

A peptide consists of 2 or more amino acids and are the building blocks of proteins.   There are hundreds of peptides. There is growing research in skin care proving that certain peptides have the ability to assist the skin cells to perform specific functions.  In skin care, the peptides are  used to help trigger the growth of new collagen and elastin.  Although, there are also neuropeptides that have the ability to relax the muscles slightly as well.  (think a very weak version of Botox) There are also certain peptides which researchers are discovering assist in the support of adipose tissue.  (fat, which gives our face fullness that we loose over time)

There is enough proof that incorporating peptides in your skincare regime has worthwhile benefits.  Peptides are best when used in conjunction with other skin supportive ingredients, such as antioxidants.  These ingredients can work synergistically with one another.

When looking at an ingredient deck look for hexapeptides, tripeptides, dipeptides and tetrapeptides.  Think of the peptides as part of a healthy diet for your skin.  Just as you would eat a well balanced, nutritious diet to support the functions of your body.

As always, always have a quality sunscreen with zinc or titanium as a part of your morning routine!

Products I am currently utilizing myself and recommending to clients with peptides include:

Alastin Restorative Skin

Alastin™ Skincare Restorative Complex

Alastin Eye

Alastin™ Skincare Restorative Eye Complex

microfirm

NeoCutis Microfirm Neck and Décolleté Rejuvenating Complex

As always, the mentioned products are available at TOC Medical Spa here in Austin!

FAVORITES OF 2016

There are a few stand-out products from 2016!

Alastin Restorative Skin

The Alastin Restorative Skin Complex® has become a part of my daily routine.  I have found an improvement in the texture and tone of my skin using this product regularly.  The skin around my eyes (especially under my eyes) has firmed and there are fewer fine lines.  This product has peptides that help your skin grow collagen and elastin.  Restorative Skin Complex has been written up in numerous publications and has been recommended by multiple dermatologists and plastic surgeons.   It is worth every penny.

c-e-ferulic

Skinceuticals C E Ferulic rotates in and out of my regime, and has for years.  There is unequivocal evidence that this product, loaded with antioxidants, helps neutralize UV and free radicals.  Used with sunscreen, your protection is improved significantly.  90 % of visible premature aging is caused by environmental free radicals.  Sunscreen alone is not enough.  Adding an antioxidant such as C E Ferulic or Phloretin CF gives the skin significantly improved protection.

elta-spf-40-daily

Elta MD® UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 is always on my bathroom counter, in my purse and in my car.  With 9 % zinc oxide, the sun protection is superior to any chemical sunscreen.  The formula is not at all heavy, and with  hyaluronic acid , it is hydrating.   I love this sunscreen.

metacell-renewal-b3

Skinceuticals Metacell Renewal B3 is also always in my rotation.  This product helps with hyperpigmentation and, with niacinamide, redness as well.  It has a smooth and hydrating feel without feeling heavy or greasy.  Great product.

voluma

Allergan Juvederm Voluma™ has become one of my favorite dermal fillers.  It is FDA approved for filling the midface, although I use if off-label in temples, tear troughs and lower face.  This filler is wonderful at restoring lost volume while looking very soft and natural.

voluma-2

And, as always, the tried and true merits of Botox® and Dysport® can not be disputed.   The preventative and corrective effects of both of these botulin products are proven in terms of efficacy and safety.  They are here to stay, and when in the right hands, can create a rested appearance.  We have all seen a “Botoxed” face, but that is not how it has to be.  There can be movement and expression  when the muscle activity is minimized rather than frozen.  A rested appearance is the ideal outcome.

Botox cropped

dysport

One more product I have enjoyed this year, and in previous years, The Vi Peel.  In a perfect scenario we would all have a peel every 3-4 months.  Peels help to lift damaged and dull skin, stimulates collagen, fades hyperpigmentation and clears stubborn breakouts.  I love my skin 10 days after the peel is applied.  The Vi Peel is strong enough to see a difference ,but not so strong that there are weeks of downtime.    Great glow!

vi-peel-2

All products and services mentioned are available here at TOC Medical Spa in Austin!

I hope your 2017 is off to a great start!  Here is to your health and happiness!

PUFFINESS, GO AWAY

puffy-eye

Facial swelling or puffiness due to fluid retention can be a chronic issue for some people.  Swelling around the eyes, in particular, is a common complaint from patients.

There are numerous culprits (salty food, crying, lack of sleep, allergies and drinking too much, to name a few).  Swelling is frequently  worse in the morning upon arising, because  we sleep with our heads more dependent, allowing fluid to accumulate in facial tissues.  Frequently what looks awful in the morning can be significantly improved by mid day, simply by having our heads elevated, allowing fluid to drain.  But, what else can help besides gravity?

Sleeping with your head slightly elevated can prevent fluid from accumulating, or at least minimize it.  But when you have swelling and want a fix, here are a few suggestions.

  • cool compresses (old school, but it works)
  • an eye cream with caffeine (Neocutis Lumiere)
  • drinking fluid and flushing out that accumulated fluid
  • drinking or eating something to help with diuresis to help your system release the fluid, such as coffee or tea or certain fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid high sodium foods as the sodium will encourage your system to hold on to the fluid.

Taking care of the thin skin around the eyes can, over time, help to minimize puffiness.  If the skin is in good shape, the puffiness is less evident.  When the tissues are cared for and collagen and elastin are being supported ,the skin is tighter and less likely to show bulging or swelling. We frequently recommend SkinMedica™ TNS Eye Repair or Alastin Restorative Eye Treatment™.

Ultimately, one day, you may find the puffiness never truly goes away.  This can be the result of the orbital fat pads herniating through the muscles and thin eye tissues.  At this point it may be time to see an oculoplastic surgeon to address the issue.  The fat pads can be removed or repositioned to improve the appearance of the eye area.  (it is called a lower blepharoplasty)  The doctors at TOC Eye and Face are experts in oculoplastic surgery.  They all specialize in both cosmetic and functional eye surgery.

 

 

 

DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH REDNESS?

flushing

Redness, or flushing, is a common skin complaint.  The two skin tone issues that I hear the most complaints about are hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and redness.

Redness is the result of superficial blood vessels dilating.  It can be a minor problem that remits and exacerbates, or it can become more and more of an issue over time.  Over time the small vessels can dilate and appear larger and more numerous.  The cheeks, nasal area and chin are common sites of this redness, although it can occur anywhere.

Culprits that contribute to redness include sun exposure, temperature extremes (cold and hot), consumption of alcohol and/or spicy foods.  Of course, there is a genetic component to facial flushing as well.

What to do to prevent or improve it?  For starters, use a good sunscreen, preferably with zinc (7-10%). Adding a quality sunscreen to your routine every day will protect your skin, and the blood vessels in it, from UVA/UVB rays   A topical antioxidant, along with the sunscreen will give you further UVA/UVB protection as well as strengthen the capillary walls.  Find a  product with niacinamide, as this has been proven to help.  Other ingredients that may help include licorice, chamomile and feverfew.

Products I frequently recommend include:

  • SkinCeuticals® Metacell Renewal B3 (niacinamide)
  • Alastin Skin Nectar™
  • Sunscreen, such as Elta MD® SPF 46 (has 5% niacinamide!)
  • Antioxidants such as SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic® or Phloretin CF®
  • ALL of these products are available at TOC Medical Spa

anti-redness-products

Obviously avoiding triggers such as hot/cold temperature fluctuations, spicy foods and alcohol can help.

If the vessels are broken, or noticeably enlarged, you need to remove them.   Lasers are your best option.  Pulse dyed lasers, such as the V-Beam, are meant for this specific purpose.  Yag and IPL devices are also helpful.  Your skin care provider can help you choose your most appropriate treatment plan.

There is a condition called Rosacea that can make your skin red and angry appearing and seeking the expert care of a dermatologist is recommended.  Rosacea can be treated with a combination of topical and oral medications.