The vast hormonal changes that women experience during menopause directly affect the skin.
Speaking in light of World Menopause Day (18 October), Toni Carroll, CEO and founder of luxury nutricosmetic brand, My Beauty Luv, explains that as collagen levels decrease, the skin loses firmness and begins to sag, while wrinkles and fine lines start to form and hair becomes more brittle. “It’s no surprise then that the beauty industry bombards menopausal women with an array of skincare solutions to fight the signs of ageing. While some products do have their merits, there are those which merely perpetuate the myths that have come about due to menopause symptoms not being spoken about.”
She points out that, unless women have an understanding of how menopause leads to skin changes, they will keep falling for empty promises. Below, Carroll busts some of the menopausal skincare myths many women still believe, and shares solutions to these that are grounded in science:
Myth #1: Menopause affects everyone’s skin the same way.
It’s easy for those who haven’t gone through menopause yet to assume that they’ll have similar skin problems to other women. While the most common complaint is dry skin, some might struggle with oily skin that can lead to teenage-like acne. Genetics and medical history mean that every woman does not experience menopause in the same way, so your skincare needs will vary too.
However, this should start with putting collagen back into the body using supplements, especially fish collagen which has been proven to improve the skin’s moisture retention, provide increased suppleness and prevent deep wrinkle formation.
Myth #2: The right shampoo can fix menopausal hair loss
Menopausal hair loss reportedly occurs in more than 40% of cases due to changing hormone levels. Although some shampoos might leave your hair feeling thicker, this is only because they contain ingredients which temporarily swell the hair shaft. Unfortunately, most shampoos aren’t formulated to revive your hair follicles or to regrow your hair.
In addition to seeing a dermatologist who can advise you on the best course of action, taking supplements that contain hydrolysed gelatin can also be beneficial for increasing hair growth.
Myth #3: There’s nothing I can do about pigmentation
During menopause, hormonal fluctuations can cause the skin to go darker in some places, which is referred to as melasma (pigmentation). It can gradually worsen over time, spreading across or darkening the skin. Treating pigmentation includes consistent sun protection, using topical serums with a high concentration of vitamin C and ingesting supplements that contain ingredients such as Sakura Flower Extract which has been scientifically shown to reduce pigmentation and lighten skin tone.
Myth 4: Menopausal sleep problems have nothing to do with skin
On average, around 12% of women experience sleep complaints but as they enter their late 40s and early 50s, that number increases dramatically to 40%, with women reporting the most sleep problems during perimenopause to post-menopause[iii].
These are usually caused by hot flashes, sleep disorders that may develop during menopause such as restless legs syndrome and even mood. Sleep deprivation may affect the production of collagen as a good night’s sleep is also essential for brain function and chemistry, which in turn would help one mentally cope with these changes that are starting.
There are a number of ways to go about getting sufficient sleep like taking natural supplements to alleviate some of these symptoms, avoiding caffeine in the late afternoon and early evening, as well as developing a bedtime routine that cools and calms you.
Myth 5: Menopausal skincare products are only useful for menopausal skin
As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure and the same applies to using menopausal products when you’re younger. This is especially true when it comes to collagen supplementation, seeing that our collagen levels decline by 1% every year from the time we’re in our 20s[iv].
“Menopause is often dubbed ‘The Change of Life’ because there are just so many changes affecting women’s bodies, not to mention their lives. Today’s women need to be better supported in managing these so they can not only age better, but beautifully too,” concludes Carroll.
[i] https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/anti-aging/skin-care-during-menopause#:~:text=Studies%20show%20that%20women's%20skin,firmness%20and%20begins%20to%20sag. [ii] https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/anti-aging/skin-care-during-menopause#:~:text=Studies%20show%20that%20women's%20skin,firmness%20and%20begins%20to%20sag. [iii] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/women-sleep/menopause-and-sleep [iv] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-skin-wrinkle-wit/