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 🙂

 

 

 

 

NATURAL RESULTS

At times patients express hesitation about moving forward with aesthetic treatments because they worry about looking “done”.  There have been enough procedures performed where a person does not look natural, and almost looks like a caricature of their former self.   We have all seen people with either lips or cheeks that mother nature would not have created.  Even celebrities, with deep pockets who can afford to be treated by the most reputable injectors, have become victims of “too much”.

courtney cox

Unfortunately, these examples give the whole industry a bad name. (the actress in the above photos has admittedly been over treated and has since then had a lot of the filler dissolved)

Most injectors will discuss your goals with you and come up with a plan to make you look restored and rejuvenated,  but not “done” or radically changed.  It can be helpful to bring photos of yourself when you were younger to allow you and your provider to review where age related facial changes have occurred.  You can then come up with your individualized rejuvenation plan.

Neuromodulators can help to balance out your depressor muscles, which pull down, and your levitator muscles, which pull up, or lift.  Treating fine lines and creating balance in the face with neuromodulators can have a rejuvenating effect.  Additionally, restoring lost volume and correcting asymmetries with dermal fillers can further restore or correct changes in your face that may be bothering you.  We often note that an individual has more volume loss and skin changes on the side of the face they predominantly sleep on.  This can be subtly addressed with filler, restoring symmetry.

In addition to injectables, you and your provider may decide that skin rejuvenation with laser or light devices may help to improve the appearance of your skin.  There are lasers that can do an amazing job removing hyperpigmentation, improving skin tone and texture and tightening and lifting the skin.

If you have thought about seeing an aesthetic provider but have shied away because of seeing individuals who look overdone, rethink it.  Medical aesthetics can offer a wide range of options to help you look your best.

 

 

My HALO Journey

As I mentioned in my last post, we now are offering Halo™ by Sciton at TOC Medical Spa.  I had my treatment March 19th and took a series of photos and took notes about my experience to better inform our patients.

immediate before halo

Before Halo/March 19th

immediate post halo

Immediately after Halo™

The days after treatment:

 

Day One

March 20th

Day Two     March 21st

Day Three      March 22nd

Day Four      March 23rd

By day five and six most of the brown had detached and sloughed off.  Unfortunately my photos from these days were lost:-(

Day Eight

March 28th

(still a small amount of malar swelling)

I wore topical numbing for approximately 45 minutes before the treatment.  The treatment itself felt like prickly heat.  The heat accumulates and becomes more uncomfortable with repeat passes with the laser.   A cool chiller is utilized along with the laser and helps to alleviate some of the sting.   The face is treated in 5 zones: each cheek, each side of the forehead and then the nose.  The perioral area is treated with the cheek zones.  I thought the most uncomfortable areas were the forehead and upper lip.  I think we all experience the sensation a bit differently so 4 people could have slightly different descriptions.  Post treatment, my face felt very hot for 45 minutes.  This seems to be consistent with everyone we have treated.  I drove home with the AC blasting on my face for most of that time.

At TOC we are recommending very gentle products post treatment for up to 5 days.  We are providing our patients Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion and Aquaphor.

As you can see in the photos there is redness and swelling after the treatment for up to 5 days.  By day 2 a bronzing appearance and rough (sandpaper like) texture evolve.   This is the microscopic necrotic skin cells coming to the surface.    These slough off, in most cases, by day 5.  It is not unusual to have a few acne blemishes post Halo™, which I did.

I had swelling in the periocular and malar (cheek) area for a solid 7-8 days.  This is not typical, however.  Most patients have resolution of swelling by day 5.

Halo™ by Sciton helps with pigmentation, texture and the appearance of pores.  Improvement will continue to be seen over the coming months as the collagen stimulation triggered by the treatment can take months to be fully realized.

This is me today, 2 1/2 weeks post treatment.

April 5th

The treatment definitely lifted hyperpigmentation and brightened my complexion.  The results are impressive for one treatment with minimal downtime.  (mind you, I felt unsightly for a few days due to the swelling!)

Sun avoidance is very important after a Halo™, so sunscreen and big hats should be at the ready.   Most patients can return to their normal skincare routine at day 5-7, which will always include a sunscreen 🙂  We treat everyone prophylactically with antiviral medication (Valtrex) as the treatment can trigger a outbreak of cold sores.

Hope this helps and that my series of mug shots aren’t too much!

Have a great weekend!