Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I take a look at five ways menopause can impact your appearance and what you can do to help yourself.
Change is inevitable in menopause. It's something that we can't avoid. We can't run away from it. We know the usual things like it can affect our mood. It will affect our periods. But a lot of these changes will also impact our appearance. And that can then affect the way we feel about ourselves. It can also impact our confidence and our relationships.
What changes can occur and what can help?
Today, I thought I would look at five different situations that can cause your appearance to change and what you could do to help yourself.
1. Hair changes
Changes to your hair are often one of the first things that seem to be affected when it comes to your appearance.
All the physical changes that are going on in your body as your hormones start to decrease, use up a huge amount of energy and also a huge amount of nutrients, so your body needs more of everything. So, if you find that your hair, and your nails, and your skin start to change or deteriorate, very often, that's just an indication that you're not getting enough of the things that you need.
The major changes that your hair can experience include starting to thin, as well as becoming very brittle and breaking easily. It might grow slowly or you might find that it's falling out a lot more than normal.
The texture of your hair can change too. You might find that your hair gets wirier. Maybe, it just hangs there doing nothing or it just goes all over the place, whereas before, you could keep everything nice and tidy.
What can help?
So, what can you do to help your hair? Your diet is very important. Just check that you're getting enough of everything. Your hair needs a whole range of vitamins, such as vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin D, iron, and magnesium, and lots of protein.
So just check that your diet is rich in these nutrients or maybe look at certain supplements. One of the best ones I find for hair is what's called a colloidal silica supplement, which you can get at the majority of health food shops. This works on your skin, your hair, and your nails. So, it's a nice one if you find that all these areas are being affected.
The other thing too would be to look out if you're still wanting to dye your hair, then make sure that you use natural dye products rather than ones that are full of chemicals. And the same with hair products. Go for natural shampoos, and conditioners, and hair treatment products.
2. Skin changes
Your skin can experience many changes throughout peri-menopause and menopause. Your skin can start to sag. Your chin starts to drop. You can get wrinkles. The skin can thin, which can mean it will get itchier.
You might find that you sunburn a lot more when you go outside in the summer. It can be more sensitive, so creams and other body care products that you used to tolerate well, suddenly, you find that your skin is coming out in rashes, and, of course, the skin dryness, which is a major issue in menopause.
What can help?
For this one, it's important to drink water. Dehydration is a big factor in all of these skin issues so remember to drink lots of plain water every day.
Like the hair, go for organic skin products. These can make a huge difference.
They help to feed your skin but they've got no nasty chemicals in them to irritate or just make your skin feel uncomfortable.
A good supplement for dry skin is Sea Buckthorn Oil. And that can also help dryness in other areas of the menopause, too.
Make sure you're getting enough vitamin E. That's a really important vitamin for the skin and maybe look at either a fish oil supplement or if you're vegetarian or vegan, you can go with flaxseed oil.
Zinc is important for skin healing so again, make sure that you're getting enough zinc-rich foods into your diet. Again, as I mentioned before, for supplements, colloidal silica supplement is a really good one. There are also supplements called hyaluronidase acid. And this can be great too for helping to keep the skin from being dry throughout menopause.
3. Nail changes
Very often, hair, skin, and nail changes and issues all tend to happen around about the same time.
During menopause, you may find that your nails won't grow as well as they did before. They might become more brittle, making them split and break easily. You might also find that they can get very dry or they start getting verticle ridges in them.
What can help?
Again, something like this can indicate that you're just low in several minerals such as B vitamins and calcium. Again, drinking plenty of water is also important and a colloidal silica supplement can also help with nail problems as well. Protein too is really important, so make sure you are including plenty of protein in your diet such as lean meat, eggs, and beans.
4. Body shape changes
This is another horrible one. We can see our shape changing in front of us when we look in the mirror. Very often one of the major areas which change is the belly area, with more fat sitting around the middle.
We can be putting weight on in different areas of the body. Our muscles can also start to shrink. Our breast size and shape can change quite dramatically. And our posture can change too.
What can help?
If you're putting weight on around the middle, very often, this is due to stress. It's due to the flight-or-fight response so it's really important to get anxiety and stress under control here. That can make a great deal of difference.
It's very important to exercise to keep our muscles strong. It's one of these situations, use them, or lose them. Now, I'm not talking, as usual, about really heavy-duty exercise. Even a brisk walk every day, short, sharp, high-intensity sessions, just 10 minutes a day, 3 times a week, can be enough to keep your whole body muscles in good shape. And it's really good for heart health and burning calories, too.
As far as the breasts go, our breast size, and shape, and tissue can change quite dramatically as we go through menopause. So, getting the proper bra is vital. And I've told this story before where a few years ago, I went to get myself measured. And I was horrified because I had been wearing the wrong bra size for practically the whole of my life. We just tend to guess and that's it.
And what a difference it can make. When you get the proper bra size, it can lift you. It can shape you. It can show off your middle that little bit more. So, it is a good idea to get this done. I know at the moment it's impossible, but hopefully, when things change. A lot of the big department stores used to have a free service where you could get yourself measured properly and to get the right bra.
Also, the wrong bra can pull down if it's not supporting you enough. It can give you round shoulders that can affect your posture and that can make a big difference to the way that you feel, too.
5. Body confidence
When all these things start to change, it can hit us hard, including our confidence. We can feel that our looks are going, which can cause us to lose confidence at work and also in our relationships. And that's a really important one. So many women tell me that they now don't want their partner to see them naked because they're ashamed of the way they look. And that will affect their sex life, which can affect their whole relationship and cause relationship issues.
What can help?
So, it's a difficult one. Where do we get this confidence from? You know, we can look at pictures of ourselves when we were younger and think, "Oh, I just want to be that person again." We can look at models in magazines. You know, these are expectations that we can never get to now. But just looking after ourselves the best way we can, and saying simple things like getting new bras can make a great deal of difference.
And it is about acceptance! I think one of the most difficult things to get to in menopause, is realising that we're at a different stage of our life. We are going to look different. We are going to feel different about ourselves. But it needn't be a negative experience, and we can start to embrace who we are. And very often, that's all we need, just to give ourselves such a huge boost confidence-wise.
So, I hope you found this one helpful. Our body shape, size, the way we look can hit us in so many different ways and I know this is one that, I think, probably every single woman going through menopause will struggle with. And I know I have done, too.
If any of you out there have found really good tips that have boosted your self-confidence, have made you feel better about yourself and maybe given you a new lease of life, please share them.
We would love to hear all about them.
Some key takeaways from this blog:
- Your appearance can go through many changes during menopause, including changes to your hair, skin, nails, and body shape.
- There are lots of supplements and simple things you can do like boosting your nutrient intake during menopause, which can help improve your hair, skin, and nails.
- It is important to accept and adapt to your body changes – you're at a different stage of your life now so don't look back to your younger self, embrace your new self and support it as best you can.
So until next week, take care