Understanding menopause: Caring for your skin and hair

By Dr. Raquel Amado on the 16th October 2020

Are you just beginning your journey into menopause?

Or are you already struggling with some of the unwanted side effects of this stage of life?

Either way, menopause is often something we avoid talking about – but I think we should change that, especially as October is Menopause Awareness Month.

The official definition of when menopause begins is one year after your last period. It can cause a number of unpleasant reactions in women, and everyone’s experience will be different. We’ve all heard about hot flashes and mood swings, but did you know that menopause can also affect both your skin and your hair?

This is because of the changes that happen to your hormone levels: specifically, you begin to produce less oestrogen. This hormone plays a big part in the healthy production of elastin and collagen – meaning, after menopause, the fat underneath your skin begins to diminish, and your skin itself starts to lose its elasticity.

Your skin can start to sag, appear duller, and fine lines and wrinkles will begin to develop more frequently. You might also see other types of skin damage occur more often and more prominently, like age spots, sunspots and other conditions like acne, dryness and sensitive skin.

And it doesn’t stop with your skin. You might notice your hair beginning to thin – or even come out in clumps – as you progress through menopause.

Again, this is linked to the changes in your hormones. Oestrogen and progesterone are responsible for healthy hair growth, so as their levels drop, your hair begins to get thinner and weaker. Not only that, but hair follicles start to shrink from your mid-40s onwards, and so hair becomes finer with each year.

FIND YOUR ROUTINE

So, what can you do to keep your skin and hair looking healthy? The outlook might seem bleak, but there are lots of tips and techniques you can try to manage menopausal changes.

Find a regular routine that works for you. Make sure you wash your face daily, to remove all of that dead and dry skin – but use a gentle, hydrating cleanser that won’t dry your skin out even more. Follow this up with a hydrating moisturiser that is heavy – but not greasy – so that you replenish the moisture your skin loses.

There are specific skincare products with ingredients that can imitate oestrogen when applied topically on your skin, making up for the lack of naturally-produced oestrogen and helping to protect and rejuvenate menopausal skin. However, as your skin adapts to the changes in hormones, you may have to stop using the active ingredient until your skin stabilises.

Ensure your scalp is well hydrated too – and don’t use harmful products with nasty chemicals. Try to avoid heat treatments or dyeing your hair too often, as you might find your scalp is more sensitive and your hair more likely to become brittle and break.

You’ve heard me say it so many times – but it’s so important – use sunscreen! You should be applying every day, using a broad spectrum, topical SPF, to keep your skin extra protected from sun damage now that it doesn’t heal itself as easily as it did before menopause.

I routinely recommend Skinade to my clients, which is an oral supplement that promotes health from the inside out. This product is packed with nutrients, vitamins and active ingredients, designed to boost the natural production of collagen and hyaluronic acid in your body.

TOP CLINIC TREATMENTS

There are also a number of clinic treatments you can try to help rejuvenate your skin.

One of my personal favourites, microneedling is a minimally invasive treatment which really can work wonders for both your skin and your scalp (you can read more about it in this blog post). It encourages the production of collagen and elastin and increases blood-flow, helping your skin repair itself.

Chemical peels can also help to revitalise ageing skin, removing the uppermost dead layer of the epidermis, and promoting the generation of new, healthier skin underneath.

I’ve discussed hair loss in depth previously, but a tailored approach is always best when it comes to hair loss treatment. The TrichoTest gives you an analysis of the causes – genetic and lifestyle – behind your hair loss. Once you know the causes, you can work out a tailored treatment journey; as part of this, I often suggest the SkinGenuity home care kit to my clients, which delivers targeted growth factors and natural botanicals directly to the scalp, stimulating hair follicles.

STAYING POSITIVE

Of course, it’s always important to eat healthily, exercise regularly and try to relieve stress. Yoga, breathing exercises and meditation can be very beneficial to women going through the ups-and-downs of menopause.

Make sure you eat well, getting enough grains, fruits and vegetables for fibre, mono-unsaturated fats and essential fatty acids, as well as nutrients like vitamin B6 and folic acid. I personally make sure I get my dose of nutrients using a wholefood supplement called Juice Plus.

Your body goes through so many changes during menopause that it’s important to listen carefully to what it needs. Take care of your body, but also your mind; make sure you’re never too afraid to talk about what you’re going through and ask if you need support!

Are you looking for advice on caring for your skin during menopause in Kings Hill, West Malling and the surrounding areas? Get in touch for a consultation today!

Get in touch today!