Great skin after age 40?
As we enter the meno years, along with the mood swings and hot flushes can come massive changes in your skin.
The drop in estrogen that is a hallmark of the perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause leads to a dryer, thinner skin. Indeed, wrinkles emerge on a complexion that was once smooth and plump.
What’s more, this happens all over your body, not just your face. This is because estrogen controls how thick our skin is, its moisture content (estrogen’s our juice!) and how well our blood flows to the skin.
Other changes that may occur are the onset of adult acne and the odd whisker or three. ☹️
Higher levels of androgens (often thought of as male hormones) can lead to the acne you thought you’d left behind in your teens! And the whiskers are produced because our lower estrogen levels mean we have a little more testosterone (an androgen) circulating.
Diminishing estrogen can also reduce the levels of the skin’s natural hydrators like hyaluronic acid and the lipid (oil) barrier.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) aka hyaluronan is not actually an acid but a lubricating, moisturising substance the body produces naturally in the skin. As a result, it helps keep the levels of collagen and elastin up which produces plumper, more elastic skin. And as estrogen contributes to the production of collagen and elastin it’s important. (More on that a little later.)
This is why it’s also used as one of the gold standard moisturising ingredients in skincare. It’s usually used in a form made in a petri dish in the lab and is also often used as an injectable filler for lips and lines.
Studies have shown HA can hold up to 1000 x its own weight in moisture. In addition, it reduces the appearance of wrinkles and sagging within four to six weeks of regular use.
Put down your paper bag & wallet for fabulous skin after age 40
While you might want to rush off to find the nearest paper bag or spend thousands of dollars on HA, don’t. First, let me share with you some easy – and natural – tricks you can do to help minimise the signs of ageing. I do have one caveat though. There is no magic potion, ageing, like menopause, is part of life and there’s nothing wrong with it. There is a beauty in ageing (listen to The Beauty Of Ageing here).Before you rush off to find the nearest paper bag or spend thousands of dollars on HA, let me share with you some other easy – and natural – tricks you can do to help minimise the signs of ageing. Click To Tweet
Now, onto your ‘skin after age 40’ health lesson.
Firstly, as you may have heard before, the skin is our largest organ. Therefore, any physical changes in our bodies impact it. The physiology of skin is complex and it has several layers. However, what we want to talk about mostly here are the proteins collagen and elastin.
Collagen & elastin
Collagen is responsible for the ‘plumping’ and thickness of skin and elastin the ‘elasticity’ and firmness. Age and environmental issues such as excessive sun exposure, lifestyle factors, smoking, and the aforementioned lessening of hyaluronic acid all disrupt this. Indeed, the protein bands become cross-linked leading to wrinkling and sagging. It happens naturally by one percent a year from our 20s onwards, but as we hit menopause this speeds up.
What can you do for fabulous skin after age 40?
A lot. 😀😀😀
Take Omega-3 oil supplements. Fish oil is effective or if you’re a vegetarian, flaxseed. Evening Primrose Oil always has a good effect on my complexion. The double bonus here is that these are good hormone balancers also.
2. A spoonful of oil
I like to take a spoonful of coconut or olive oil a day. This is not just for skin purposes but I feel like it lubricates my joints and digestive process too. That is purely anecdotal and not based on any clinical studies!
Choose skin moisturisers with gold standard hydrators such as hyaluronic acid and/or glycerine. They should be high up on the ingredients list.
4. Skin rejuvenation
One of the best ingredients for adult skin is a good quality vitamin A aka retinol or retinoid. Used in the right percentages, vitamin A is proven to strengthen skin and stimulate collagen. I like Osmosis and Environ as they are based on fantastic science. If you want a less expensive version a dermatologist did tell me in my beauty editor days that he found Neutrogena retinol products very effective.
Personally, I feel the very best skincare to use at this time should be as natural as can be. So it should be void of any xenoestrogens or endocrine disrupters in order not to muck with our already chaotic hormones.
Get your beauty sleep. I know this can be a challenge from perimenopause onwards but seriously it hasn’t earned the moniker of ‘beauty sleep’ for no reason. Sleep-time is a time when your body rejuvenates and also works with your hormone and stress levels as well as your metabolism. Make sure it’s dark, wear a mask if you have to. You can get our free Sleep Hygiene Sheet here.
6. Body love
The skin on the body shows the passing of time just as much as your face. Subsequently, the decline of estrogen in midlife becomes very apparent here. I like to use the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and embrace daily dry body brushing and oiling. Use a long-handled natural bristle body brush or exfoliating gloves (K-Mart have them at very reasonable prices) and, starting at your feet brush upwards. Follow with fractionated coconut, sesame (not the cooking kind) or olive oil and step into the shower to rinse off. Pat dry. Your skin and circulation will love you for it.
7. Eat the rainbow
Nutrition is not only the cornerstone of great health but it’s also one of the building blocks of great skin. Eat the rainbow to get all the power of antioxidants for skin strength.
8. Eat bitter greens
As someone once said to me, (I’ve forgotten who it was) ‘we are human beings living in a modern world’. So true, and with that comes lots of substances to weigh down our liver – our main detox organ. Ingesting bitter greens like rocket, kale and watercress help to detox our liver, which will definitely manifest on your skin.
9. Salivate for soy
Soy is controversial but when it comes to this life stage it’s a good thing. Soy is rich in isoflavones, which are plant-based compounds that act – weakly – in a similar fashion to estrogen in the body. The hormone that’s reducing during menopause. Tempeh, tofu and edamame beans are good sources.
10. Ditch the sugar
I can’t say it enough sugar is not our friend. However, when it comes to the skin it’s definitely a foe. Refined sugar causes insulin to spike creating inflammation, which in the skin breaks down collagen and elastin resulting in sagging and wrinkles. Convinced yet? Read our sugar series here. Sugar, Hormones & Weight Gain, 10 Ways Your Life Will Improve Without Sugar, 10 Changes Sugar Can Cause In Your Body.
A word on whiskers
As estrogen levels drop during menopause, the levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can increase. (It’s not just men who have testosterone, it’s just more dominant in males.) Because this is the hormone that oversees facial hair, it’s why we can sprout whiskers, particularly around the chin area.
I advise plucking for a temporary measure or electrolysis/laser for a more permanent solution.
It’s a weird thing. Although you think you’ve waved acne goodbye long ago for some women, pesky zits rear their head again in midlife. This is because the production of androgen hormones, which drive the oil-producing glands, can surge during the menopausal years.
This will settle down, but you can try natural remedies like a baking soda paste (made with water) and/or tea tree oil.
Of course, it goes without saying that ditching smoking is key. Alcohol too can dehydrate the skin plus the sun can damage it.
Finally, don’t discount using high quality natural skincare and making regular appointments with your beauty therapist can make a huge difference as well.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me here. 💙