Menopause…. madness and mayhem

Today’s blog is about menopause – the ‘change’ and the effects it has on your skin.

Menopause can have a lot of different effects on your skin due to decreasing hormone levels. Menopause marks the end of the reproductive stage of your life, your ovaries cease to work and therefore, you stop producing oestrogen.

Have you started to experience symptoms of menopause?

Not every woman will experience all symptoms – some are lucky enough not to suffer any symptoms at all, but if you are struggling please get in touch.

Oestrogen is a very powerful female sex hormone in your body and as you age and the levels of oestrogen decline, you may experience a few or a lot of troubling side effects of this decline termed ‘the menopausal years’.

A change to the flow or regularity of your periods is often the first sign of menopause. A change in oestrogen levels can trigger mood swings. You may feel perfectly fine one minute and be in an angry rage the next.

Hot flushes and night sweats are symptoms of menopause that women are most familiar with. Oestrogen levels fall, which can affect your hypothalamus, which acts as an internal heat regulator and the change in hormonal balance can send it haywire, leaving you drenched in sweat and embarrassingly flustered, at the slightest change in temperature.

Oestrogen supports collagen and the elasticity in healthy, strong skin and these abundant proteins that support the structural layers of our skin, begin to diminish. Oestrogen is vital in supporting the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers.

As a woman enters menopause and experiences a loss of radiance in her skin, the collagen and elastin synthesis is slowing down, sebum production changes, resulting in dry itchy skin. When the skin becomes itchy and you start to scratch it, this may allow bacteria to enter the skin’s protective barrier or overproduction of sebum may cause pimples, pustules and acne, in adult life.

The dramatic reduction in oestrogen also causes reduced epidermal thickness, resulting in dry skin, skin laxity, lines, wrinkles and folds. Mucous membranes become dry and the skin becomes thin, lacking the ability to retain moisture, so you experience trans-epidermal water loss, meaning, it doesn’t matter how much you drink or apply moisture topically, you still lose the ability to retain the moisture, as your skin thins with age.

As oestrogen levels fall you may also notice vaginal dryness or itchiness and discomfort during sex. A lack of oestrogen can make the vagina and the inner mucosa of the vulva become quite irritated. Topical oestrogen or hormone replacement therapy HRT can assist, this can be prescribed after a visit to your GP.

All the symptoms of menopause, are quite slight, however, when a few symptoms are experienced together, it can become a very chaotic experience. You might get all of the symptoms, or none of the symptoms, but having a chat about them and being quite open about them, about everything that you’re going through often helps to ease the symptoms and the problems.

The two hormones responsible for hair growth and hair longevity, oestrogen and progesterone, reduce during menopause causing hair thinning. Irregular periods or very heavy periods, can leave you feeling fatigued, and just in general lacking energy, often even though you’re so exhausted, it can be difficult to sleep, so you’re lacking energy, feeling fatigued and you’re lacking sleep as well.

This all contributes to the decrease of your skin’s ability to regenerate at night-time, cellular turnover slows down and you start to get the dead skin cells that just lay on the surface of the skin. This often makes your skin appear very dull and you become upset with your change in appearance.

Due to exhaustion and fatigue, a little bit of memory loss or memory fog can occur. You’ll feel a bit dazed and due to all the external factors impacting upon your appearance, your feelings become a bit negative regarding your appearance. Headaches often intensify with decreasing levels of oestrogen, a high level of oestrogen will keep tension or stress headaches at bay. Once these levels start to fall, the tension headaches will remain for longer periods of time, which can interfere and impact other coping mechanisms.

Menopause effects the structure of the skin, the outer layer of the skin protects yourself from injury, and the inner layers, support the structure of the skin. It’s an internal and external process. Internally when the support structures, the collagen and elastin are abundant, the appearance of your skin externally is firm and bouncy and however, with menopause, the skin loses its inner strength or support structures begin to crumble, causing external sagging and a loss of elasticity and firmness.

During menopause, hormonal changes cause an increased heart rate, which will make you feel anxious and irritable. There are
things you can do and ways you can manage this.

Firstly, you can reach out to people, so if you have problems with your skin or any other symptoms and concerns that you’d like to chat about, then reach out to me, and I can give you a bit of advice.

You can suffer things like stress incontinence, so get on with those pelvic floor exercises, and weakened nails. Keratin is a protein that’s quite abundant in our bodies, it makes our nails quite hard, this decreases during menopause, causing the nails to split and peel and become brittle and fragile.

All these symptoms individually seem manageable, however, if a few are merged together, it can have a detrimental effect on your self-esteem. Your skin has such a large impact on your emotional wellbeing and you can be really affected by changes during the course of menopause.

Fibroblast cells regulate communication and interact with different hormones and all this slows down during menopause, there is so much happening in your body, your actual cell cycle decreases. When you’re in your 20’s and 30’s your cells are being replaced every 20 to 30 days, roughly, and then by your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, it really slows down.

The amount of effort we have to put into our skincare really has to increase. You will be very glad to hear all hope has not faded. There is a lot of things that we can do to help us through these menopausal years, so we have to keep really active which is always good for our joints, and our mindset as well. Go for a walk, do some stretches or yoga, just a couple of exercises each day will keep our joints active.

There are dietary supplements that you can take, menopausal supplements that are made for these years. Things like cutting down on alcohol will make you feel less fatigued and less tired and able to cope with the next day. Cut down on smoking and caffeine, increase your diet full of fresh fruit, vegetables, and protein and
really keep yourself hydrated with water.

There are hormonal replacements that you could consider. HRT – hormonal replacement therapy, which you can speak to a GP about, however, this isn’t for everyone and this period in your life is going to affect everybody differently. You are unique and it’s your experience, so similarly the symptoms will be unique as will the solutions.

Some women get hair loss, some women get hair growth….. in areas that they never used to get hair growth, facial hair can become quite embarrassing on a woman. Oestrogen replacement therapy or HRT in post-menopausal women can play a beneficial role in diminishing these signs of aging.

Hormone therapy has been shown to significantly delay skin aging by reducing epidermal thinning, stimulating collagen synthesis, protecting against photo aging, and increasing hydration by increasing levels of hyaluronic acid. Hormonal therapy is a great option for clients who want to make a change from the inside out.

If you’re uncomfortable with menopausal symptoms and have experienced all of the above-mentioned signs of skin aging, speak to your GP about HRT. The stress from the menopausal years can be quite detrimental and it can impact us all in different ways. If you’ve got somebody that’s going through this, then please, just be a little bit patient with them.

Skincare professionals like myself can create a treatment plan and home regime to help facilitate collagen synthesis, promote an even tone, hydrate, and smooth skin texture. There are treatments available to improve skin tone, texture, and encourage collagen and elastin synthesis to help restore thickness to the dermal matrix, improve laxity, and reduce wrinkles. Menopausal women have the opportunity to take years off their appearance with these combined tools.

However, it’s important to remember that an aging face is also determined by bone and muscle integrity. Medical aesthetic injections can assist to replenish lost volume and smooth muscles or reduce the severity of expression lines.

Whilst it is impossible to stop hormonal changes and skin aging overnight, as a skin care professional, I would love to be your source of information and support. I can provide you with the opportunity to support and educate you on all the unique and available options.

If you have any questions about menopause, just give me a call on 07444938248, or give me a text and check out the rest of my website.