I remember being 13 and waiting for, and wanting my menstrual cycle to start. I felt embarrassed by the fact that I was what they called a “late bloomer”. What a self -conscious stage in the life of a young girl! When my period finally came, with it came years of struggling with my skin and acne, but that was many years ago and I’ll save that story for another day.
Fast forward to the age of 50 and once again, I found myself waiting. Every month, I would wait to see if I would get my period. I had come full circle and reached another big turning point, the ending of this sacred female rhythm that I had come to honor. How would my skin be affected this time?
Menopause and the Skin
Menopause is the cessation of the menstrual cycle. It is accompanied by a sharp reduction in estrogen production. Reduced estrogen levels are associated with many physiological changes, including those that affect the skin and hair.
As estrogen levels begin to decline during the period known as peri-menopause, increased blemishing and even acne may occur. This is due to an increasing ratio of testosterone over estrogen, which causes sebum (oil) produced by the sebaceous glands, to become “sticky” and may result in clogged pores. The skin’s pH also changes to a more alkaline, bacteria-friendly state, which further promotes blemishing.
Before I continue, I want to say that it is important to remember that women do not typically experience all of these symptoms and some do not experience any. Don’t despair! I just want to cover all of the possibilities.
Many changes in the skin associated with aging are dramatically accelerated during the menopausal years. Most women experience an increase in wrinkles, dryness and loss of elasticity. Sebaceous glands become larger but their number and activity is reduced. The intracellular cement that holds skin cells together diminishes, impairing the ability of the epidermis to hold moisture. Changes in the body’s chemical balance reduce the ability of lymph fluid to remove waste from tissues, leading to puffiness and fluid retention. Blood and nutrient supply to the skin by the capillaries is reduced and the result is thinner, less vital skin.
Women experiencing blemishes and acne later in life are often at a loss because many products are geared toward drying up surface oil. Yet during menopause, the surface of the skin often lacks oil. Anti-microbial ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and acids like Retin-A in acne medications are often harsh and can have negative side-affects for menopausal skin. AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) exfoliate dead skin by degrading its intracellular cement to expose immature skin cells, which are plumper and give a more youthful appearance. However, because the skin typically thins as estrogen levels drop, the barrier function of the skin may suffer with regular, long term use of acids that compound this effect.
There are many ways to address the myriad of symptoms that menopause may bring including lifestyle and diet changes to homeopathy, acupuncture and other holistic options.
Today, I am focusing on natural skin care products that I have been working with for close to 20 years. Dr. Hauschka Skin Care is a line of certified natural skin care products, including Face Care, Body Care and Make-up that are formulated to support the skin and its natural processes. These products nurture, soothe and support skin cell renewal without irritating or synthetic ingredients. These compositions contain nourishing oils and plant waxes that support rather than degrade the barrier function of the skin. Cleansers without harsh, alkaline soaps or detergents are ideal. Healing plant extracts encourage cell renewal without damaging the epidermis.
- Anthyllis, found in the Dr.Hauschka facial cleansers and toners, regulates cell renewal, improves the tone of the skin and encourages balance and health.
- Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex, found in Dr.Hauschka Revitalizing Mask and Translucent Bronzing Tint, addresses several effects associated with hormonal imbalance. It strengthens collagen and elastin and normalizes pigmentation, promoting vitality in pale, lackluster skin.
- Calendula, found in the Dr.Hauschka Clarifying Day Oil, normalizes oil production, soothes inflammation and promotes regeneration.
- The Dr.Hauschka Regenerating line of products is made specifically to nourish, smooth and revitalize mature skin. These include Regenerating Serum, Regenerating Day Cream, Regenerating Neck and Decollete Cream, Regenerating Eye Cream and Regenerating Body Moisturizer.
- And last but not least, being a Certified Dr.Hauschka Esthetician, I recommend receiving the nourishing Dr.Hauschka Classic Treatment every 4-6 weeks, to encourage healthy circulation, reduce stress and support the skin during this time of transition.
Are you curious about my skin now? Well I am 3 years post menopause and I am happy to report that thanks to a healthy lifestyle, diet and my beloved Dr. Hauschka products, my skin is looking better than ever!
Saralee Hofrichter, Holistic Skin Care Specialist, Certified Dr. Hauschka Esthetician & Retailer, Healing Energy Worker. Amherst, MA. To find out more, please go to www.innerhealingouterglow.com or contact her at [email protected].
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