Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be talking about three things that can happen to our skin during the menopause. Now, over the last few months, I've spent a lot of time talking about the physical and emotional aspects of menopause. But, there's also the beauty side of the menopause which can be a big issue for a lot of women.
What happens to skin during menopause?
Now, what happens here in the menopause as far as our skin goes? Oestrogen has a lot to do with it, but there can also be lifestyle factors as well. We know that falling oestrogen can have a big impact on our skin and that will affect our confidence. It will affect our self-belief and it can have huge ramifications right down the line as far as how we feel about ourselves.
Falling oestrogen can also have a big impact on the hydration of our skin. There seems to be a link between falling oestrogen and our body's ability to hold on to water, so that in itself is a very, very important one to keep on back of your mind.
We know, too, that falling oestrogen can affect the thickness of the skin, so the skin gets thinner. This can cause a lot of issues as well as the connective tissues can become weaker. Think of the connective tissues as strengthening rods in your skin; if these starts to decline, your skin will become more vulnerable.
We also know that diet has a huge impact on the menopause, both in terms of what we are eating and what our body needs. Our nutritional needs go sky-high because of all the emotional, mental and physical changes that are going on.
The body sees the skin, hair, and nails as not particularly important. As far nutrition goes, they’re way down your body’s list of priorities and that means that, very often, if we start to see changes in these areas, the body is struggling in some way.
So, it's really important to keep that at the back of your mind as well.
1. Your skin can become itchy and dry
What are the three things that can happen to our skin? For a start, our skin can get dry and itchy, so remember to drink plenty of water. If our hydration is decreasing, our skin is going to start to get drier and that dryness can then cause itchiness.
Itchy skin is probably in the top five or six menopause symptoms that women experience. What can happen here is that our skin is a lot drier, therefore, it gets more irritated. But, because of everything that's going on, so many of us suffer from anxiety or stress and that means extra histamine is already in our system. That histamine will trigger itchy skin and will also stimulate rashes and spots as well.
What can help?
So, we need to look at a number of issues. Remember to drink water; this is absolutely vital! You know, I can say to you, "What's the difference between a prune and a lovely juicy plum?" and the only difference is water. Remember, to help to stop you from getting wrinkles, drink loads of water on a daily basis.
You can look at nettle. The herb nettle is a wonderful antihistamine, especially for those of you that find that your skin is so sensitive that you end up with things like prickly heat in the summer. If you go away on holiday, then nettle tincture or even a couple of cups of nettle tea a day can very often work wonders as well.
Look at sea buckthorn oil, this is a lovely one for menopause dryness. It helps the skin and it's great for vaginal dryness. If your eyes are dry, your mouth is dry, you're getting a bit of wheeziness or if your digestion is a little bit sluggish, remember the sea buckthorn oil.
The other thing that can happen here, especially if you're getting that itchy skin, is that your liver, very often, gets under a little bit of pressure during the menopause as well. This will then affect its ability to deal with histamine, so you might find that going on to Milk Thistle Complex for a couple of months will just help to sort that one out.
You can look at Neem Cream too. This is a lovely soothing cream for itchy, irritated, or inflamed skin, so it's worth trying here. You can also look at hyaluronic acid. You can get these in capsules at your local health food shop and I know some of my colleagues swear by this one for the dry skin.
2. Your skin can become thinner
So, there are quite a number of things that you can do just for dry and itchy skin. On the other hand, if you find that your skin starts to get thinner or that you’re able to see the blood vessels here a little bit more, it might be time to address this problem.
What can help?
With this one, you need to feed the skin so again you've got things like hyaluronic acid. Have a really good look at your diet too. Make sure you're getting enough protein. Your protein intake needs to go up quite a bit during the menopause just because of all the cellular changes that are going on.
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, then it might be an idea to add in a plant-based protein powder on a daily basis. This is great, especially if you find that your hair's being affected as well. Protein powders could be a solution even for those of you that are not vegetarian or vegan – perhaps you just don't like the thought of eating too much meat or too much fish.
There's another supplement called colloidal silica. This is a great one for your hair, your nails, and your skin. This is one that I've used for a number of years.
3. Your skin can start to sag (skin elasticity)
Now, for the third one: the sagging of the skin. We're talking about wrinkles here!
What can help?
So, again, for this, if you find that your skin's getting really thin (some people find that their knees and elbows start to get a little bit wrinkly as well) you're looking at silica for strengthening the skin.
You're looking at protein as well. Make sure you're getting enough protein, too, and just look at investing in a general skin supplement. Your local health food shop will probably have some really good hair, nail, and skin supplements, so go down and ask their advice.
What else can you do to support your skin?
So, as you can see, there are a number of things that you can do to help your skin. You can remember to drink plenty of water – honestly, this is absolutely vital and, for those of you that have just joined, I will talk about water every single week because it's needed for absolutely everything. So, if there's only one thing you take away today, that's just remember to drink plenty of plain water on a daily basis.
Look at your skin care regime. This is something a lot of women find; you may have been using a lovely skin moisturiser for years and years, and suddenly, it just doesn't seem to be working anymore. Your skin needs change. It also helps to remember, too, that a lot of the main high-street skin creams and toners contain a lot of chemicals.
If your skin has already started to thin a little bit and is a slightly more sensitive than usual, then these creams that you put on your skin are going to have an effect. Just think of all the products you put on your skin on a daily basis from the minute you wash until you step out the door. The chances are that it’s a huge combination of chemicals that your poor old skin has to deal with.
So, going more natural and looking at organic skincare ranges is a really good idea for your skin. I know a lot of you are saying that the organic ones are quite expensive, but they're not all. Some of them are actually cheaper than the mainstream ones that you can get or maybe have been using for a number of years.
Again, go down to your local health food shop. Have a chat with somebody there and they'll be able to point you in the right direction of some really good skin care products. Remember your diet: remember your protein, vitamins and minerals as well.
Zinc is also really important for the skin. Our body needs more of that during the menopause, so you may find taking an extra zinc supplement can be really helpful. Vitamin C is needed for the connective tissue, so make sure that you're getting plenty of vitamin C on a daily basis. With vitamin C, if you're taking it for a specific reason, then little and often is better than one high dose a day. You can even get zinc and vitamin C lozenges which is something you can just take on a daily basis.
So, there are loads you can do for your skin. If any of you have any tips, we'd love you to share your ideas. If you found a cream or something that's worked wonders for your skin that really, really helps you, please share with it us.