Our celebrity guest blogger and mature skin expert Dr Ginni Mansberg reveals the best ingredients to improve your skin at menopause.
What happens to your skin at menopause?
Two things happen as you hit middle age. Getting older with more accumulated sun damage causes skin thinning, pigmentation and other signs of aging. And then for us women, there’s menopause. What happens to your skin around menopause?
- Loss of collagen. In menopause, skin quickly loses collagen, weakening its structure and thinning the skin. It all happens pretty quickly. In fact, studies show that women’s skin loses about 30% of its collagen within the first 5 years of menopause. And after that, we continue to lose a further 2% of our collagen every year for the next 20 years. The result? The skin thins out, loses it firmness and starts to sag. Fine lines and wrinkles develop and deepen, your pores get bigger which makes your skin look and feel rougher and less even.
- Chemistry changes. The pH rises, which dramatically alters the microbiome of the skin. This can make you more prone to inflammation, sensitivity and itch.
So, what can you do to improve your skin at menopause?
Avoid sun damage
Sun damages your skin directly and makes the effects of menopause worse. You’ve heard of UVB rays. They’re responsible for burning and most skin cancers. They’re strongest in the middle of the day from 10 or 11 am to 2-3pm. Especially in the summer. They can’t pass through glass! Your SPF in a sun screen is all about UVB. The number represents the multiple of time you can spend in the sun before burning. Eg An SPF 30 allows you to spend 30 times as long in the sun before burning. If you don’t sweat off your SPF or rub it off your skin first. Too few of us focus on UVA rays. These are the aging rays and they are there from sun up to sun down 365 days a year. They penetrate glass. And a high SPF sunscreen can have very little UVA protection. You need a broad-spectrum sunscreen for UVA protection.
Bin the soap
Soap dries out the skin, raising the pH of the skin. Look for a soap free cleanser containing surfactants like lauryl glucoside.
Add blockbuster ingredients to your skincare:
- Vitamin A makes your skin thicker, more elastic with fewer wrinkles, fine lines, roughness and pigmentation. Best evidence is either for Retinoic Acid (the prescription form at between 0.05% and 0.1%) or Retinal (sold over the counter- between 0.06% and 0.1%). Use at night only!
- Niacinamide AKA Vitamin B3 (look for between 2.5 and 5%)- is anti-inflammatory, improves skin barrier function, reduces water loss from the skin, wrinkling and fine lines.
- Ascorbic Acid AKA Vitamin C (10%) reverses pigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines and skin roughness and protects from UV radiation. The UV protection is why most experts suggest using it in the morning.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) such as Glycolic acid, Lactic acid, Mandelic Acid, Malic Acid and Citric Acid increase collagen, reduce wrinkles and decrease pigmentation. And make vitamin A work better. You can do this in clinic as a peel or at home as a leave in serum.
- Beta Hydroxy Acids AKA Salicylic Acid. These are not only good exfoliators, they’re also anti-inflammatory and also help combat perimenopausal acne breakout, and pigmentation.
That’s a huge amount of information. For lots of info about menopause and you skin, head to www.ESKcare.com for evidence based skin tips!
DR GINNI MANSBERG: Aside from her Practice in Sydney’s Sans Souci, and supervisory role in the Discipline of General Practice at the University of Notre Dame Sydney medical school, Ginni has worked extensively as a presenter, medical journalist and columnist. Ginni is an experienced TV presenter as the “Sunrise GP” on Channel 7 and as the host of “Medicine or Myth” on SBS and “Embarrassing Bodies Down Under” on Channel 9. She is also a much-loved pod caster as co-creator and host of Things You Can’t Talk About on TV as well as the host of Drivetime Medical, an educational podcast for primary care physicians; She is the author of “The New Teen Age,” “The M Word,” “How to Get Your Mojo Back” and “How to Handle Your Hormones.” She holds a Graduate Diploma of Journalism and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Ginni is an authority on everything from sleep to beating stress, wellness, life balance and a range of general health and medical related topics, always packaged with a dose of reality, practical and helpful tips and delivered with her customary sense of humour. Ginni is a Non Executive Director, runs a consulting practice and is cofounder and Medical Director of cosmeceutical skincare company, ESK.
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