Hot flashes, night sweats, irritability and weight gain......
.....Without saying a whole lot, you probably already know where this is headed- menopause.
While menopause is complicated and affects every woman differently, there are many symptoms that all women face......
For example, a lot of you asked me to write a blog about managing dehydrated skin during this delicate stage of life.
It seems to be one of the biggest common complaints.
.......It’s certainly one of the less-talked-about struggles we women face as we go through this transition, but it’s one that can be often difficult to manage.
Even though I personally haven’t experienced menopause yet, this blog is based on my conversations with those who have.
So, what does menopause have to do with the skin exactly? A lot, unfortunately. During this time, our body stops making as much collagen, sebum production declines, our elasticity drops and our estrogen levels take a dive. All of these shifts make our precious pores that much more susceptible to dryness and aging (1) (2). So, how should you look after your skin during and after the menopause to keep it looking and feeling its best? With the right care, you can lessen these effects. Here are some of the best ways to do so.
Eat a healthy diet.
Though you may be tempted to reach for cookies and ice cream for comfort, we all know the importance of eating a well-balanced diet. It’s absolutely essential for healthy, glowing skin, and that’s especially true during menopause. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins are all great to incorporate into your menu. Look to foods that are high in antioxidants (blueberries and dark chocolate), essential fatty acids (salmon and walnuts), calcium (legumes and dairy) and naturally occurring estrogen (soy and flax seeds). These will help to moisturize your pores from the inside out and replace lost vitamins and minerals.
Drink plenty of water.
Similarly, drinking plenty of water is critical to skin health as well. It’s really the easiest thing we can do to protect and quench our pores, yet we so often neglect to do it thanks to busy schedules or sheer forgetfulness. Consider investing in a reusable water bottle to take with you everywhere you go, to help hold yourself more accountable. Keep it out on your desk or in plain sight so that it stays at the forefront of your mind. There are even apps available that will send you push notifications with reminders to take H2O breaks throughout the day! If plain water just doesn’t do it for you, infuse it with fresh fruit to make it more appealing or try a sparkling water.
Always wear sunscreen.
Yes, the sun is our friend, but with limitations of course. We’ve talked about the importance of sunscreen in many other blogs here at Papillon, and while it won't replace the moisture in your skin, it will help protect it from the sun’s harmful UV rays and stave off premature aging. Make sure to choose one that’s mineral-based and has an SPF of at least 30 (higher if you have lighter, sensitive skin). You can always pair your sunscreen with a pure oil, such as Papillon’s Pomegranate Oil, to double up on protection. Pomegranate oil also has strong anti-inflammatory properties and can help stimulate cell turn over and collagen production, both of which decline during menopause.
Switch to a mild cleanser
Harsh cleansers or soaps that use parabens and chemicals can be drying. Especially on mature skin. Switch to something a bit gentler, made from natural, plant-based ingredients. The Papillon Facial Oil Cleanser, for example, is made with Camellia and Argan oil, which help to restore moisture in the pores for a soft, supple and more even complexion.
Avoid hot showers and baths.
While it may sound amazing, showering or bathing in hot water won’t do amazing things for your skin. In fact, it will quickly rob it of precious, much-needed oils that work to keep pores supple and hydrated. Instead, it's best to use lukewarm water, and limit your time, too. Take notice of how your fingers and toes wrinkle as a gauge for when it’s time to get out.
Apply moisturizer while skin is still damp.
Applying a moisturizer when you’re fresh out of the shower will help to lock it in. This is because our pores are most open during this time, allowing for deeper penetration. When toweling off, be sure to be gentle with your skin, and pat it dry, rather than rubbing. As we age, our skin also becomes more fragile and sensitive. Further lock in moisture by using a light facial oil! We love Papillon Camellia Oil because it absorbs into the skin quickly and is suitable for all skin types. It also works great to moisturize dry hair and nails, which are also very common during menopause.
Add some moisture back into the air.
During the colder months, there isn’t much humidity in the air. Of course, you may also experience weather-related dryness in the summer, too, depending on your location. In either situation, a humidifier is a great way to add some moisture back into the air. This is especially beneficial to do at night while your skin repairs itself- during your “beauty rest” hours!
Manage your stress levels.
If you really want to go the extra mile to combat dry skin, try relaxing. I know, I know. Easier said than done, right? But stress can wreak havoc on our body’s estrogen levels, contributing to the hormonal imbalance our body is already going through during menopause. So, try to take some time for yourself each day. Whether it’s a walk outside, yoga or meditation (read more about the benefits here), find an activity that helps you to unwind at the end of a long day or whenever necessary.
Cut the tobacco.
Tobacco use also reduces estrogen levels in a woman’s body, so quitting smoking may be another quick fix that can have an immediate positive effect on your skin. If you’ve been looking for a good reason to kick the habit for good, here it is!
Get regular exercise.
While we already know the cardiovascular benefits of exercise, it’s also key to healthy, glowing skin. This is because it promotes healthy circulation and blood flow and is also a great detoxifier (4). As an added bonus, a good sweat session can be a great form of stress-relief, as it pumps up endorphins and improves mood.
We can’t control getting older, but we can control how we choose to deal with it!