I remember sitting across from my GP when I saw him write notes about me. He wrote my age (I’m in my 40s) and then he scribbled the word perimenopausal. I remember thinking, ‘who is he talking about? That must be a mistake, it couldn’t be me, I’m in my prime?’ It was in this moment I realised how misogynistic and shrouded in secrecy the menopause can be.
Until that moment, I was conditioned to think the menopause was something rather sinister, which snuck up on you and only happened to old ladies – not me, a woman in my 40s! It’s shocking how we were bought up to think of the menopause as a Disney-like villainess. It’s sad how little we discuss the menopause, and we still have these rather backward views of ‘the change’.
However, with some self-love, education and power, this next chapter of your life or ‘second spring’ can be incredibly empowering. When it comes to self-care and skincare, the hormonal changes and psychological impact on your body changing can seem overwhelming with hot flushes, skin changes, trouble sleeping and more.
If we take the Chinese medicine approach of the menopause being a second spring, we can lean into the new found energy, power and wisdom, which is a gift and comes with age. Here are some tips to help you menopause your way:
The menopause officially begins one year after your last period and the changes in your hormonal levels can mean your skin can become dehydrated, thinner with less volume and bounce. When it comes to your skincare regime, it’s important to be flexible. The products that were your ‘ride or dies’ back in the day, may not be what your menopausal skin needs today. Think layering and being intuitive with your skin. Think gentle exfoliation to help your skin absorb and receive the serums and moisturisers you will be layering on.
I love serums, as they’re a super easy quick step you can add into any skincare regime, to help give targeted ingredients and bounce back in your skin. Try this Prai serum to help with the look of uneven skin texture, wrinkles and sagging. Ingredients like vitamin C are great and applying retinol at night is ideal for helping to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Just remember to take baby steps with retinol. Start out a couple of nights a week and then see how your skin can tolerate the retinol building up to every other night.
Wearing SPF everyday helps to protect your skin from sun damage but especially during menopause, the lower oestrogen levels in the skin can lead to less melanin, which protects the skin from UV damage. If you are also using retinol at night you need to protect the skin with SPF as retinol can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays. Reach for at least a 30+ (but 50+ is better), like Ultrasun Anti-Pigmentation Complete Face SPF 50+. Don’t forget your lips as well, as they can lose volume and collagen and moisturising them is key. Try Dr Esho Sculpt Lip Treatment, which uses Linefill, a natural extract obtained from sesame seeds that can help increase the look of lip volume.
You may find yourself with unpredictable breakouts during the menopause. Take a deep breath and try and ground yourself, as stress can play a big part in aggravating the situation. If you’re finding your sleep is being disturbed, which can throw your sense of wellbeing off balance, try using This Works Deep Pillow Spray, laced with lavender, chamomile and vetiver on your PJs and sheets to help calm frazzled nerves. I also love the Neom Magnesium Body Butter as the sumptuous, buttery texture melts into the skin and the scent and massaging action is great for helping the body to relax into a restful sleep.
Cleansing really is the foundation of great skin and can solve so many issues. I love to double cleanse and would always suggest investing in a balm-textured cleanser, as well as a non-foaming face wash. I also love a balancing cleansing oil. If like me you have a dehydrated combination skin type, don’t be scared of using oils and balms on your skin.
It all depends on what type of oils you are putting on, as they can be balancing and purifying like the Elemis Superfood AHA Glow Cleansing Butter. Gentle exfoliation is also key. I love enzyme-powered exfoliation with Alpha-H Liquid Gold, enriched with glycolic acid and liquorice extract to help smooth and tone the look of your skin.
During the menopause you may experience a tight, itchy complexion, with breakouts and skin that flush easily. Think soothing and calming and ditch hot water and heavily perfumed products, as these can all aggravate your skin. Instead, reach for products containing ingredients like azelaic acid which can help improve skin texture.
Rosewater has also been used for centuries in skincare and is great for not only supporting menopausal skin but for cooling the skin when you have a hot flushes. A handbag-sized bottle of facial spray can work to cool and refresh you during the day, while carrying blotting papers means you can touch your make-up without feeling like it’s sliding off your face.
Menopause your way and take control and enjoy this next powerful chapter of your life!
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