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THE BEST SKINCARE ADVICE FOR PERIMENOPAUSAL SKIN

skincare for perimenopausal skin

For someone who's post-menopause, I can safely attest that the whole menopause experience from perimenopause to post was confusing and a bit terrifying.


From my mind, body, and skin, I struggled. Struggled to find out what was happening and how to manage it in the best possible way. It was a lot to take in. Especially as a working mom, you put everything else first and suddenly you have to put some focus on yourself to keep up with the changes and it seemed alien to me at the time.


Twelve years ago, menopause, let alone perimenopause, wasn't so openly discussed as it is now and I applaud those who have managed to break through that barrier and made it something as common as talking about periods, which at one time seemed like a 'no-no' topic to be discussed openly.



For the longest time, I did nothing to manage what was going on with my skin. I spent a ton on expensive skincare products in an effort to minimize the changes in my skin but I wasn't getting to the root of it all, I wasn't trying to understand what was going on. I had a life to live, a demanding career, and a son to raise, I didn't have time for anything else which now I know was a mistake.


Heck, I didn't even realize I was going through perimenopause at the time because I was busy, or rather I didn't want to deal with it, but I knew that my skin was taking a toll from the changes in my body was going through. Hormonal breakouts, hyperpigmentation, dark spots, dry skin, loss of volume, dull skin, sensitivity - it seemed that everything was showing its head all at once.


It's important to take a step back to notice and understand what is happening to your body during perimenopause. Why? Because it eliminates the stress and allows you to take the necessary steps to manage the changes in your skin. It calms you when you understand the underlying reasons behind these changes and you're not beating yourself up for it.


Now, not everybody has the same experience during perimenopause. And even if you have perfect skin during perimenopause this advice would be great for your skin regardless.



Changes That Happen in Perimenopausal Skin

Perimenopause, in general, is a natural phase all women go through. With perimenopause, our bodies go through a series of changes that affect us mentally, physically, and emotionally.


As we go through perimenopause, our estrogen levels decrease. It is well known that this decrease means that our ovaries start to reduce their production of eggs and will eventually stop production when we hit menopause.


The hormone, estrogen, produced mainly in the ovaries, is not only important in its role in our reproduction system but also contributes to the overall health of our brains, heart, muscles, bones as well as skin.


While other symptoms in perimenopause and menopause are now widely spoken about, the effect it has on our skin in general takes a back seat. Maybe because there is a fine line between normal aging factors and the results of perimenopause and menopause on our skin.


With our skin, in particular, estrogen plays a vital part in the production of collagen which greatly contributes to skin elasticity, flexibility, and strength. As estrogen reduces during perimenopause so does our collagen production and the reduced protection against oxidative stress on the skin.


During perimenopause, your skin can be affected in various ways. Some of these may include:-

  1. Dryness

  2. Sensitivity

  3. Thinning of the skin

  4. Hyperpigmentation and age spots

  5. Sagging skin and wrinkles


The changes in our skin as we age can vary greatly from one person to the other so bear that in mind before you start comparing yourself to others.





Skincare Advice For Perimenopausal Skin

Let me preface this by saying that I do not aspire to have the skin of a 20-year-old nor do want a face that shows no signs of aging. Aging is part and parcel of being a human and I'm here to embrace it - in the best and healthiest way possible.


Though I embrace the aging process, perimenopause and menopause included, I do want to look my best at my age. As someone who doesn't wear much makeup except for mascara and a lip stain on occasion, keeping my skin looking healthy is my preferred choice.


If you're going through perimenopause, here are some skincare advice to help you manage the changes in your skin. In actual fact, you don't have to be perimenopausal or menopausal for the advice I am about to share, it'll benefit you in whatever phase of life you are in. My only regret is that I hadn't started earlier!



Hyperpigmentation and Age Spots

All those years in the sun with no protection and then suddenly age spots and hyperpigmentation start appearing out of nowhere - that was my personal experience. Trial and error of many products has taught me that some active ingredients are better than others.


Exfoliation is key in keeping hyperpigmentation manageable.


Ingredients that can help include:-

  1. Glycolic Acid

  2. Alpha Arbutin

  3. Tranexamic Acid

  4. Kojic Acid

  5. Vitamin C

  6. Glutathione


Look for products that have these ingredients high on their inkylist. Some ingredients might work for you better than others so, unfortunately, you'd have to try them out to find what suits your skin. Bear in mind, nothing works overnight so give any product you're trying a good amount of time before you give up on it.





Sunscreen

Apart from that, using sunscreen every day, regardless of whether you're indoors or outdoors is crucial in ensuring you don't develop more hyperpigmentation.


Sunscreen with UVA and UVB also protects your skin from premature aging and burning. UVAs which consist of 95% of UV rays have a long wavelength, meaning they can penetrate deep into the skin which can cause premature aging, while UVBs have short wavelengths which affect the outermost layer of your skin. With that said, UVBs also have higher energy levels than UVAs which is the culprit in causing sunburn.


I only started religiously slapping on sunscreen a few years back and it has been one of the biggest regrets of my life where taking care of myself is concerned. I honestly wished I had started when I was young, because these age spots and hyperpigmentation that have chosen to gracefully appear on my cheeks are a result of all those years frolicking in the sun without a care in the world, and without any sun protection, thinking I was invincible!


Whether it's a mineral or chemical sunscreen, make sure it's a good quality sunscreen that suits your skin. Some sunscreens have caused me to break out, sting my eyes, sting my skin, and give me a white cast. It took me quite some time to try out a few to see what suits my skin.


It's important to know that SPF in your moisturizer or foundation is not enough so double and don't forget to top up during the day!


If you have kids, start them young and make it a normal practice in their lives, as routinely as brushing their teeth or washing their face!



Double Cleansing

Especially at night, to take the day off your face - double cleanse!


Double cleansing has changed my skin for the better. Double cleansing with a balm or oil cleanser will melt away the sunscreen, makeup, and sebum on your skin before you go in with your second cleanse, which will then get rid of all the other stuff from your day like pollutants and junk that your skin collected throughout the day.


Double cleansing at the end of the day for me, has resulted in healthier and clearer skin. Not only that, but it allows for a clean canvas for your follow-up products to be better absorbed, like your serums, treatments, and moisturizers.


Some oil cleansers now are so thin in texture and with a low molecular weight that when done correctly can get rid of sebaceous filaments and blackheads over and above makeup and sunscreen.


I genuinely cannot recommend double cleansing enough. It might take a bit more time, but use those 2 minutes as a self-care moment!





Hormonal Acne

Just when you think that the days of being haunted by acne were way behind you, some of us get visited again by hormonal acne as we go through perimenopause and menopause.


Thanks to the hormonal changes as we go through menopause, hormonal acne might appear in the form of cysts, blackheads, whiteheads, and small pimples which will most likely concentrate around your jawline.


If you are experiencing this, you can add topical acne products to your acne area, just don't go ham with it as these products can be exceptionally drying for the skin.


Including BHA and salicylic acid products in your skincare routine can also help minimize acne flare-ups.


Make sure that you use non-comedogenic products to help your pores stay unclogged.


Also, remember to double cleanse!



Vitamin C

Vitamin C has made its rounds and is well known for combating various skin concerns. It has also been said time and time again that using Vitamin C together with sunscreen boosts its efficacy.


Some of these skin concerns that Vitamin C can help you with include:-

  1. Protecting you against skin damage

  2. Help lighten dark spots

  3. Helps smooth wrinkles

  4. Boosts collagen

  5. Diminish scars


Nowadays there are many versions of vitamin C, but the most potent form is L-ascorbic acid with a concentration between 10% to 20%. You might want to do a bit of research and read the ingredients list to find what is suitable for your skin.




Retinol

For years retinol has been touted as the gold standard for anti-aging. Derived from Vitamin A, retinol is backed up by science and has been known to:-

  1. Improve skin texture

  2. Boost collagen production

  3. Reduce wrinkles

  4. Boost water retention on the skin

  5. Reduce hyperpigmentation

  6. Correct uneven skin tone


As excellent as retinol has been proven for your skin, starting retinol is tricky. Retinol can affect your skin in ways that might make you give up on it right from the get-go, such as flakiness, dryness, and heightened sensitivity.


As much as you want to slap it on like the rest of your skincare products, which is what we are used to, you have to use a pea-sized amount, as suggested by all the professionals.


I also suggest you start with a low percentage and only increase when your skin is ready. Trust me on this because I've been too daring with retinol thinking my skin could handle it but it only left my skin barrier compromised and I was left with raw skin instead.


Start with the lowest percentage a few nights a week and work your way up from there. You must, must, absolutely must wear sunscreen during the day as retinol does increase sensitivity, and not wearing sunscreen might do more harm than good regardless of how well your retinol is working for you.



Hydration

Estrogen helps our bodies retain water and regulate the balance of electrolytes. With the decrease in estrogen during perimenopause and menopause, our bodies are unable to do this at their optimum levels, resulting in dehydration. This probably explains why we're terribly thirsty all the time!


Dehydration shows on our skin as dry skin hence hydration is key, not only for your skin but for your body to function properly.


You can drink more water - yes, but water alone might not be enough. Supplement your water intake with fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrients, minerals, and electrolytes to give your body the boost it needs. Avoid sugary drinks and caffeine as these are known to be dehydrating.


If, like me, you have trouble downing plain water because it makes you gag, you can make your water taste better by flavoring it with fruits and vegetables. It does make a BIG difference!





Good Skincare Doesn't Have To Be Expensive

I always thought good skincare equals expensive skincare. I've been proven wrong. I've tried the most expensive range right down to the drugstore and let me tell you that the expensive ones are not all mind-blowing. On the other side, some mid-range or even drugstore skincare have proven to be better - for me at least. Not only that, they are easier on the pocket and are easier to maintain long term.


Recently, I've got on to the Korean skincare train and I've been pleasantly surprised. The ingredients are really good, products are budget-friendly and provide great results depending on the products you choose and your skin concerns.


With the current technology and research going into skincare, you might want to shop around and see what's best for your skin.


Your skin is unique to you. Some products that might work on one person might not work on another. Do your own research, look at ingredients, and test out products. It's worth it!



Don't Neglect the Rest of Your Body

So much emphasis is placed on our faces and there are millions of products that are produced for our faces and maybe some for your neck, but not much for the concerns you have for your body.


As we go through perimenopause and beyond, the skin on our body changes too and we most definitely want to include our body in our skincare routine. Just because nobody sees it doesn't mean it's not there.


I know sometimes I have body skin woes but because nobody sees it, I choose to ignore the dry flaky skin on my shins by wearing jeans or covering the flare-ups of keratosis pilaris on my arms with a long-sleeved shirt.


But at the end of the day, when I look at myself, bare, in the mirror, it makes me a tiny bit depressed. So instead of feeling that way, take action! Other than washing your body, be religious in exfoliating, moisturizing, sun protection, and treating the concerns you have about the skin on your body, such as acne, dark spots, and dryness. Treat the skin on your body the way you do your face.





Watch What You Eat

I'm a big believer that what you consume shows on your skin.


With the hormonal imbalance that's happening internally from being in perimenopause, it's important to take care of your body from the inside out.


Foods high in antioxidants can help reduce inflammation and promote clearer skin and other hormone-balancing foods can help you during the perimenopause phase.


Your body is already going through a lot of changes during perimenopause so we want to help it as much as possible one thing you can do is try to limit certain foods that can cause inflammation such as:-

  1. Processed food

  2. Sugar

  3. Dairy products

  4. Alcohol

  5. Refined carbs


Your skin will show the results of what you consume so choose wisely!




Lastly,

I'm always fascinated by how complex our bodies are - it is just a spectacular creation! It's just mind-boggling how much our bodies can do and how much it can take.


As much as a pain it is to go through perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause, and all the things that come with it, I hope you embrace it as I have. It's a natural part of life. Understanding what our bodies go through and why, allows us to accept these changes and it lets us manage them properly.


I feel truly blessed that I get to experience these changes, share them, and be able to talk about them!







Sources.

Skin Collagen Through the Lifestages: Importance For Skin Health and Beauty. https://www.oaepublish.com/articles/2347-9264.2020.153

Understanding How Your Skin Changes During Menopause. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/menopause-skin-changes

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