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 🙂

 

 

 

 

DECADES

aging face

Our skin care needs change as we age and it is easy to be overwhelmed by all of the choices out there.  This is a quick guide through the decades.

THE 20’s

In our twenties we are generally enjoying the glow of our youth.  This is a time when we frequently take for granted our smooth and plump skin.  This can be a time when we do a lot of the damage we regret years later.  This is a good time to be committed to a supportive skin care regime.

  • Sunscreen is a no brainer.  Ideally with zinc or titanium to assure long lasting, broad spectrum protection.
  • A topical antioxidant to ward off additional UV and free radical damage. (Vitamin C for example)
  • A retinol or low dose retinoid to keep those skin cells turning over and to help manage occasional breakouts.
  • This is the time to introduce an eye cream.  Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  You will thank yourself later in life.
  • For spot treatment of blemishes a product with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can be applied.  More is not better because you may replace your blemish with a dried scab which can then hyper pigment.
  • By now you have probably made the correlation with diet and skin and are aware that a healthy, well balanced diet helps all of your organs, including your skin. (in addition to not smoking!)

THE 30’s

Throughout our thirties we start to see subtle changes from exposure and repetitive muscle movement.  In addition to a supportive skin care regime we might consider extra steps to help during this decade.  We are producing less collagen and elastin by now and are starting to notice.

  • Botox® can be introduced to manage lines from repetitive movement. (frown lines, crow’s feet, etc)
  • Chemical peels can help to lift the outer layers of the skin diminishing pigmentation and fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen is stimulated in this process.
  • IPL’s can minimize pigmentation and redness in the skin.
  • Some patients opt to introduce small amounts of filler in their thirties where they are seeing changes related to volume loss.

THE 40’s

As we begin to experience shifts hormonally and as our estrogen levels drop we lose even more collagen, elastin and facial fat.  Our bones are also shrinking under all of that creating more changes we may not love.  Our sebaceous glands are producing less sebum and dry skin may become more of a concern.

  • Continuing with a skin care regime involving sunscreen, antioxidants and a retinol/retinoid is a must.  You may opt to increase the strength of the retinol/retinoid.
  • Additional moisture is frequently needed.  Look for products with ceramides, for instance.
  • Facial volume loss can be managed with an expanding menu of dermal fillers.
  • Botox® can be used to help “lift” when your injector relaxes the muscles pulling down (depressor muscles) allowing the elevator muscles to lift unopposed.
  • IPL’s and more aggressive lasers (fractionated erbium and CO2 for example) can be utilized to manage skin discoloration and texture changes.  Collagen stimulating treatments, like Ultherapy®, can be used to help combat the loss of collagen.
  • Neck, chest and hands can benefit from all of the above!

THE 50’s , 60’s, 70’s and 80’s (and beyond)

In our fifties  we are likely approaching menopause and are continuing to see age related changes.  As we continue in to our sixties and beyond this becomes more of an issue as post-menopausal skin experiences more age related changes without the support of estrogen.   We probably need to boost our moisture as our skin becomes drier.

  • Continue with the three pillars in skin care: sunscreen, antioxidants and retinol/retinoid.
  • Some find it helpful to cut back on the % of their retinol/retinoid to combat  dryness.
  • Increase moisture as needed.
  • Continue to see your provider to determine if Botox®, filler and various laser modalities can help obtain your aesthetic goals.
  • If surgery is appropriate, find a surgeon you trust and have vetted.