WHAT IS MENOPAUSE EXACTLY?
Menopause is officially marked as one year after your final period. It generally happens any time between your mid-forties to mid-fifties. The period before menopause is called ‘perimenopause’. This can last for months to years, and may be accompanied by irregular periods, hot flushes, mood swings and significant skin changes. Your skin goes through some gradual but dramatic changes during menopause because of the significant dip in your estrogen, progesterone and even testosterone levels.
HOW DOES IT IMPACT THE SKIN?
Estrogen is very important for the development of collagen – a supporting protein found in the skin – and provides strength and structure to it.
As estrogen levels reduce during the menopause and perimenopause, your skin can become less mobile and thinner.
Scientific studies have demonstrated the following structural changes that happen in your skin after menopause.
- Decrease in skin cell renewal. As the top layer of your skin, called the epidermis, flattens and thins, the skin cells in this layer (called keratinocytes) don’t renew themselves as rapidly. The epidermal cell layer is also drier and holds water less effectively than before menopause. This results in your skin becoming scaly, rough, and dry looking.
- Collagen reduction. The second layer of your skin, called the dermis, loses as much as 30% of your dermal collagen within the first five years after menopause. This is followed by a slower loss of about 2% per year over the next 20 years.
- Water abatement. Also, in the dermis, important water-binding substances, called dermal glycosaminoglycans, (including hyaluronic acid) are decreased.
- Oxidative stress. Oxidative damage in your skin is accelerated after menopause, causing greater damage to skin structures such as cells, collagen, and elastin. This damage is beyond the normal amount that occurs from sun damage and natural aging.
What products/skin care practices and treatments work best to reverse the skin changes of menopause?
- Build collagen in the dermis, the second living skin layer. This is really important. Look for products with medical grade formulations of retinoids, like retinol ( Retinol from SkinCeuticals or Retinol Charisma Delicate from Noon Aesthetics ), glycolic acid products, and vitamin C products ( CE Ferulic from SkinCeuticals)
- Rebuild the living epidermal cell layer of your skin. This can be done by retinoids, which can help strengthen your skin.
- Stimulate your skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid. Look for products with glycolic acid and Hyaluronic acid.
- Rejuvenate the appearance of the outer dead cells in your stratum corneum skin layer.This will brighten your skin and give it a more youthful glow. Products with glycolic acid, retinoids, and BHAs like salicylic acid will do this.
- Slow skin aging. Medical grade antioxidant products (CE Ferulic , Phloretin CF) and broad spectrum sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher (Mineral Radiance UV Defence SPF 50) can help slow the effects of aging.
- Hydrate and avoid drying products so skin stays moist. Look for moisturisers and serums rich in humectants such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides, which bind water into the skin and protect the barrier function (Lacto-Ceramid-15 from Noon Aesthetics or Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2).
Once a targeted skincare regime is in place, a world of in-clinic treatments awaits. There are a number of aesthetic treatments that can help skin texture and tone, in addition to boosting collagen production during menopause.
We recommend fractional and Nd-Yag lasers (Fotona 4D treatment or Fotona deep peel) and Microneedling to help boost the skin’s own natural collagen production, as well as Botulinum toxin (or Botox) to soften deep lines in the upper part of the face, and chemical peels (like Meline) to remove pigmentation.