As we go through life, our skin changes along the way, often due to fluctuating hormones.
In puberty, some people find they become more spotty – not great when you’re going through such a crucial time in your development. Then, for those that have children, pregnancy can play all kinds of havoc with our skin.
And then you enter the menopause. Typically occurring between the ages of 45 and 52, the menopause heralds the arrival of a new phase in our lives. One I’m personally excited about. Since our life expectancy these days is over 80, we can expect to spend 30 years of our lives in post menopause, so we may as well make the most if it.
Being 45 and perimenopausal – and I don’t mind admitting it – I’ve paid attention to how this major life event is going to affect me. I’m determined I’m not going to fall into that stereotype of a shrivelled prune. And actually, I know there’s a ton of stuff you can do to prevent depleted, dry, dull, fragile and wrinkly skin.
I’m not saying you can look 30 again, but I am saying you can look healthy, vibrant and youthful.
How do hormones affect our skin?
Our hormones are regulated by the endocrine system, which helps to control our metabolism, sleep patterns, tissue function and reproductive system, amongst other things. And it is the winding down of our hormone oestrogen that brings about the gradual shut down of our reproductive years.
And this pesky reduction in oestrogen causes a decrease in the production of our skin’s glycosaminoglycans. That is, collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid which, in combination, provide your skin with hydration, firmness and bounce.
So you may see your skin looking a little thinner and droopier particularly, around the eyes, cheeks and jawline. Dare I say it, but it might also look wrinklier. Your skin may also feel drier due to its reduced in water-retention properties and it may appear dull because, as we advance in years, our ability to regenerate skin cells reduces.
Despite your skin getting drier, you may have noticed that your pores are getting larger. For some, this can send them whizzing back to the 80s when alcohol-based toners, witch hazel and pore minimisers were in every teenager’s make-up kit. But you mustn’t treat your skin like a teenager’s…
This all may sound negative but it is really about your mindset and whether or not you choose to take positive action.
So what can you do to feel luscious, energised and beautiful?
- Give your skin a deep cleanse by using circular massage movements with an oil or cream cleanser. This encourages blood flow, feeding your skin essential oxygen and nutrients and helps to stimulate and tone the muscles.
- Exfoliate regularly with a microdermabrasion cream or therapist treatment to remove dead and damaged skin cells, revealing a brighter complexion. This also allows better penetration of your moisturising skincare products.
- Invest in a rich moisturiser. I know this is tricky as sales pitches and advertising make it hard to make a well-informed choice. Ingredients, texture and quality are key.
- Commit to regular professional and specialist facial treatments. They may feel like an indulgence initially but you’ll soon reap the rewards and feel great. Massage, lymphatic drainage and collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid regenerating technologies can revitalise your complexion and firm your facial contours.
- Protect yourself from the sun. UV rays destroy your collagen, causing premature aging, so make sure you use an SPF every day.
- Chew your food well. Believe it or not, mastication exercises the muscles around your mouth and jawline!
- Go to the dentist. Regular check-ups may prevent tooth decay and loss of teeth, and our teeth support and shape our mouth area.
- Exercise regularly. This can help to increase your metabolism, oxygen intake and improves health and reduces stress – all very good for skin.
- Change your attitude to a positive one. We’ve been trained to think the menopause is ‘the end’ but, approached positively, could be the beginning.
- Update your make-up. A new look can help you feel and look more youthful.
- Stop smoking. Smoking depletes your body of oxygen and destroys your cells’ capabilities, which means your skin lacks essential nutrients and loses its ability to regenerate efficiently causing wrinkles and a grey tone to your skin. It’s easy to spot a smoker.
I’ve only touched on the things you can do to encourage a brighter, healthier and more youthful skin but remember, it’s never too late and you’re never ‘past it’. After all, we’re worth it… with or without oestrogen!