Anatomy of Menopause
Peri-Menopause- it begins for most around 45 with missed or irregular periods now and then with possible aches and pains. This is due to the slowing of production of progesterone and estrogen.
Menopause- When your menstrual cycle has ended for 1 complete year you are considered in menopause. Estrogen has really decreased. Progesterone also continues to decrease.
Post menopause- Once your body has adjusted to these changes hot flashes diminish and the temporary hormonal rollercoaster ride ends.
As estrogen decreases dramatically it has a huge impact on the skin.
- stimulates collagen production (keeps our skin wrinkle-free)
- boosts hydration (maintains the protective function of our skin)
- increases would healing
- balances oil secretions
- increases cellular renewal (keeping everything looking and working great)
- slows the rate of unwanted hair growth
Estrogen loss means:
- skin loses tone & elasticity
- skin gets dehydrated and becomes more sensitive and reactive
- increase in pigmentation disorders, scarring and wrinkling due to poor healing from sun damage, drug/alcohol use, stress, poor nutrition
- dull, uneven skin tone due to slowing of skin cell renewal
- increase in visible capillaries and rosacea due to flushing and hot flashes
- possible increase in facial hair
- possible cystic-type acne breakouts. Estrogen controls testosterone – testosterone controls oil glands. When estrogen decreases testosterone runs amuck and acne increases.
Skin Care during and after Menopause
The best tip about hormonal control is that the most powerful way to control them is our thoughts and diet! The brain is the primary control point of hormonal activity and our diet is the secondary control point. Prior to menopause our sketchy lifestyle and diet habits, poor sleep, excess stress, over indulgence in sunning may not have had a big visual impact. Menopause becomes a game changer.
Acne & Menopause
Although acne only affects about 10% of menopausal women when it does it adds extra stress. With extra stress comes more acne.....for this reason acne breakouts at this time deserves extra attention. Most often with menopausal acne it will be more cystic or microcystic in nature and almost always effects the lower half of the face. With more oil due to hormonal shifts and more dead skin cells due to the slowing down of cell turnover it is easy to see why blocked pores can happen so easily during this time. With the skin becoming more dehydrated and sensitized during this time and slower to heal a different approach is best to take. Treating the local breakouts is almost always better than treating the entire face with the same treatment. I love Yonka Juvenil acne spot treatment for this purpose. It is also very important to exfoliate well every week (2 times) to help break the cycle of clogged pores due to dead skin cell build up. The Yonka Gommage 305 or Glymed Plus Hydrating Enzyme Mask are excellent choices as they are also soothing and hydrating - two important components when working with menopausal skin.
Menopause and Sunscreen
During menopause using sunscreen daily is even more critical. With reduced collagen and elastin production during our skin does not repair from sun damage as quickly. Our skin ages and gets skin cancers quicker! Our skins are more sensitive so reactions to the sun can be more severe. The dramatic increase in appearance of pigmentation spots from sun damage will also happen as estrogen regulates our pigment producing system. If you have been using a SPF 15 or 30 I recommend switching to a 50 SPF year round. GM Collins SPF 50 and SPF 60 Suncreams and Skinceuticals Physical Fusion SPF 50 are favourites. A must at this age is combining sunscreen use with Skinceuticals CE Ferulic or Phloretin CF Serum. These powerful anti-oxidants are proven to give full and proper protection from free radical damage to skin cells from the sun and pollution. The newest game changer (approved by Health Canada!) in sun care is adding Bend’s Anti Aging Supplements. Not only will they protect you from sun damage but will also increase skin hydration, reduce inflammation and improve collagen production.
Exfoliating - This is #1. It will increase cell renewal, brighten, improve product penetration therefore results. It will also normalize acne prone skin, minimize lines, wrinkle & pores plus smooth and even the complexion. My top picks during menopause are Yonka Gommage 305 , Glymed Plus Hydrating Enzyme Mask and Phytomer Vegetal Peel. These should be used twice a week. The other key to exfoliating during menopause is taking it to another level - in other words consider having superficial chemical peels performed for promoting collagen renewal and pigmentation control - try our 8 Week Skin Transformation Program for truly transformational results! You can also step up the exfoliating/cell turnover at home with AHA based products but ask your Esthetician to recommend one suitable with the other changes happening with your skin especially increased sensitivity. If you are already using AHA's at home you may need to adjust what you are using - maybe milder for a period of time or less frequency or added serums to balance the sensitivity. Yonka's Alpha Peel is a good choice as it is effective but milder. GM Collins Derm Renewal Booster is also a good choice for a few nights a week.
Hydrating - Keeping the skin well hydrated is critical to slow the skins aging and to keep the skins protective barrier working at peak performance! A common myth that drinking a lot of water will keep the skin hydrated. Remember only 2% of the water you drink gets to the skin. A moisturizer is the only thing that will hydrate the skin effectively. My top picks are GM Collins Ceramide Comfort Capsules and GM Collins Mature Perfection Day Cream (which contains a high % of ceramides). Ceramides are key components naturally found in your skin that maintains its hydration. Two great skin treatments we offer for hydrating a menopausal skin are our Signature Land Facial and Rejuvenating Facials.
Repair - There are now many highly specialized ingredients on the market for aiding the skins repair process during this time of slow healing. Now is the time to repair, repair, repair. All work very well on all skin types - I recommend you use one and then switch to another. You are going to be in menopause for a few years so give your skin different ingredients for repair. Yonka's menopausal treatments Cellular Code Serum and Excellence Code Cream are clear winners! Yonka Serum Vital, GM Collin Mature Perfection Serum, Yonka Optimizer Serum, Skinceuticals AGE Interruptor, Skinceuticals Resveratrol BE Serum are also great to use every night and in some cases morning and night. GM Collin also makes 2 creams specifically for addressing the skin during menopause – Mature Perfection Day and Night Cream.