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7 ways to boost the health of your skin during menopause

With the menopause comes a series of changes for women, some more welcomed than others. But one unexpected side effect of the hormonal changes is the impact on your skin.

Changes in skin look and texture mainly occur due to a decrease in oestrogen levels during the menopause, which can lead to dry, and thinning skin.

“Declining oestrogen levels can lead to decreased oil production in the skin, resulting in dryness and increased sensitivity,” Dr Dina Keen, Curry's expert and dermatologist, says.

“Oestrogen helps maintain collagen and elastin production, which are essential for skin elasticity and firmness. As oestrogen levels drop during menopause, the skin may become thinner and less elastic, leading to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines, as well as sagging and a more aged appearance.”

Dr Keen adds that some women may even notice an increase in skin pigmentation, which can lead to the development of age spots or uneven skin tone, while other women may experience more acne breakouts than usual thanks to fluctuating hormones.

However, Dr Keen says there are several things you can do to minimise the toll of menopause on your skin.


Get sufficient sleep

Sleep is essential to be able to function properly – and this even extends to skin health.

“Sleep is essential for overall health and well-being, especially during menopause, where hormonal imbalances and symptoms such as hot flashes, mood changes, weight gain, bone health issues, and memory loss are common due to lack of sleep,” Dr Keen explains.

“Oestrogen, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle, plays a crucial role during this period. When oestrogen levels decline, it can contribute to sleep disturbances, making it difficult to both fall asleep and stay asleep.”


Dr Keen suggests establishing a relaxing bedtime routine as a way to improve your sleep quality during menopause and to try and get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

“This may involve maintaining a consistent sleep schedule or creating a comfortable sleep environment, incorporating aromatherapy candles or guided meditation or for relaxation,” she adds.


Consider collagen supplements

“During menopause, the amount of collagen that is produced in the body declines significantly,” Dr Keen explains. “Collagen is a protein that is essential for skin health, joint pain relief, and preventing bone loss—the decline in collagen results in the skin being drier than normal and loss of elasticity. The issue arises when the epidermis, the top layer of skin does not contain enough water.”

She adds that these supplements can help to stimulate collagen production which contributes to the skin’s total elasticity. Always make sure you consult with your doctor before introducing any new supplements, however.


Invest in collagen-infused skincare

If you haven’t got the sign-off to start taking collagen supplements, another alternative could be to apply the protein directly to your skin in moisturiser form.

“Menopausal skin becomes dry during this time and using a light cream won’t be enough to moisturise the skin and alleviate dryness effectively,” Dr Keen explains.

“You should consider using a richer, more nourishing moisturiser that can provide hydration and support the skin’s barrier function. At night, you should apply a rich collagen support cream with Vitamin A or hyaluronic acid to your face, neck, and Décolleté. Vitamin A helps to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and rough skin, while hyaluronic acid locks in moisture and helps in reducing the signs of aging.”

She also recommends using a serum or moisturiser with peptides to “make your skin firmer and appear younger”.

“Peptides are small chains of amino acids, the building blocks for proteins like collagen and elastin in the skin,” she explains.


Don’t forget to wear sunscreen

“It is very important to apply sunscreen [with a high SPF factor] every day before going outside to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays,” Dr Keen says.

“Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays have long wavelengths that come from the sun and can penetrate the skin deeply, leading to premature aging and contributing to the development of skin cancer. Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays have shorter wavelengths, primarily affecting the outer layer of the skin, leading to sunburn.”


During the menopause transition, Dr Keen adds, the risk of pigmentation “increases as the number of melanocytes dramatically decreases along with oestrogen levels”.

“This is why it is essential to protect your skin from the sun,” she says. “You should apply SPF 30 or higher to the skin every two hours to prevent sunburn and reduce the risk of skin-related issues. This should be done every single day, no matter the weather.”


Consider phytoestrogens in your diet

Phytoestrogens are a type of dietary oesterogen often found in plant food such as vegetables, fruit, grains, and legume.

“They may offer benefits for women needing to balance hormones,” Dr Keen says. “Many of these plants can be found in foods that you may eat daily.”

Some examples of foods containing phytoestrogens include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, apples, beans, oats, soybeans, and rice.


Manage stress levels

“Feeling stressed doesn't just impact your mood, relationships, work, and social interactions; it can also affect your skin causing inflammation, breakouts, or rashes,” Dr Keen explains.

“This stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that can disrupt the hormonal balance in your body, leading to a decrease in oestrogen levels and increasing menopausal symptoms. If menopausal challenges persist it can result in adrenal fatigue which is tiredness due to long-term exposure to stressful situations. The most common stress symptoms include low mood, depression, anxiety, and mood swings.”

Dr Keen suggests eating and maintaining a balanced diet, coupled with regular exercise and prioritising mental wellbeing as the best methods for managing stress.


Stay hydrated

Dr Keen recommends drinking between two and two and a half litres of water or water-based fluids like tea a day.

“Staying hydrated has numerous benefits for overall health and well-being, including improved energy levels, mental clarity, and mood stability,” she says.

“Also, as skin oil production decreases with the fall of oestrogen levels, water will help maintain some of the skin’s hydration, keeping the skin and mucous membranes moist and preventing discomfort.”


Source: Laura Hampson, Yahoo News UK


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