Menopause is a natural stage of life that all women go through, but in the past, it has almost been a taboo subject in beauty, which is crazy when you realise that it can impact your skin health! Hormones during menopause cause significant changes for the skin’s structure; up to 30% of your collagen can be lost in the first 5 years after menopause. This means changes to how our skin acts, and will likely mean changes to how we treat and care for our skin. So at Jersey Beauty Company, we think it’s about time we talked about menopause - we asked a Dermalogica skin therapist for four reasons why we need to take care of our skin in this particular stage of life.
1. Your Cell Turnover Decreases
As Dermalogica therapist Emma explains, “our cell turnover generally decreases over the years. Our cell turnover should be 28 days…the likes of me, I’m 36, and it could be anything above 36 days, unless I’m exfoliating.” However, during menopause, this cell turnover reduces further due to the changes in hormones. “And if your cell turnover is slow, your skin’s going to look flat, it’s going to look dull and it’s going to look dehydrated.” This is because the upper layer of your skin, the epidermis, also becomes thinner, reducing its function as a barrier against trans-epidermal water loss, the loss of excessive water through the skin, leading to dehydration. It’s important to look after your skin during menopause and use skincare products that help to strengthen that barrier and promote cell regeneration.
2. Breakouts are more likely
The skin is covered in tiny sebaceous glands that produce an oily substance which lubricates and waterproofs the skin. In a woman’s reproductive years, a chemical called B-Estradiol ensures this substance is more fluid, which has an anti-acne effect. During menopause however, oestrogen levels drop, which not only has its own effects of decreasing cell turnover, but also means testosterone is no longer masked. This can result in a thicker oily substance being produced by these glands, which can sometimes cause breakouts and adult acne.
Emma, Dermalogica therapist, insists exfoliation is key as a way of caring for the skin during this time. “If your skin’s thickened and hard at the top, your natural moisture and oil can’t get out to where it needs to be.” If new skin cells are not quickly regenerated, this oil can get trapped amongst dead skin cells. If you do not exfoliate your skin, spots group underneath your skin’s surface However, Emma is keen to point out we have to listen to our skin, sometimes gentle exfoliation is more effective. Just because we have breakouts, “doesn’t mean we get to go all crazy with it, we can still work with your own natural barrier. We don’t want to irritate the skin, because any level of inflammation will still cause ageing”.
3. Your skin may be dry or dehydrated
As already mentioned, during menopause the upper layer of your skin, the epidermis becomes thinner, which means it doesn’t act as an effective barrier, causing transepidermal water loss. Skin can become flaky, dull and dehydrated during menopause.
Again, Emma, Dermalogica therapist, is keen to explain that this is where exfoliation is key as a part of skincare:
“When your natural exfoliation slows down, your hydration levels can drop as well too and as soon as those hydration levels drop, your skin simply cannot let go of the cells. I’d look at increasing the cell turnover by exfoliation and replenishing the barrier."
4. You may develop a reddening of the skin
Dermalogica therapist Emma explains the chemical reactions behind that - things “may feel 20-30 times worse than what they would do on a normal period of time. Your blood system speeds up and it can even change its direction which is how Rosacea starts and it goes straight to the surface of the skin.” It may be a temporary reddening of the face, or may develop into the skin condition known as rosacea. Emma explains that is why it is important to understand the barrier of the skin is weakened and ensure that you use products that care for and protect the skin from outside influences.
Even in our short chat with therapist Emma, it is clear that we need to be looking after our skin during menopause, and that that may mean changes to our previous skin care, as our skin changes. The key messages from our Dermalogica therapist were two-fold - we need to understand that changes in hormones and the natural process of ageing slows down cell turnover, and as a result the barrier of the epidermis will be weakened. A good skin care routine that includes exfoliation and rehydration of the skin is key to ensuring that cells are regenerated and any excess oil isn’t trapped under the dead skin cells, as this could lead to breakouts.
As your skin changes during menopause, you may need to treat it differently and may find yourself feeling at a loss as to how to best deal with the new remarkable you. At Jersey Beauty Company, we have a handy skin analysis tool, which can give you a complete profile in three minutes, and can provide expert advice for your unique skin.
Find the perfect products for YOUR skin type, by creating your own skin profile.