Today, here at A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be talking about how your beauty routine is impacting on your menopause symptoms. Now, the last few weeks, I've been talking about different aspects of skin, including surprising skin conditions and all the other issues that can occur with our skin during menopause.
However, this time I thought I would look at the beauty side of it, because there are a number of things you may be doing or using that could be impacting on your symptoms. Sometimes, having a bit more information can make a great deal of difference to how you handle things and also look after your skin.
How your beauty routine can impact your menopause symptoms?
So, why can your beauty products have an impact? What can happen?
Your skin changes and I've talked about this before. It can become much more sensitive. It can become a lot thinner. This means you may find that those beauty products that you've been using for years, without any problem at all, suddenly start to irritate your skin or could even cause rashes.
No longer suitable for your changing skin
Your skin products may not be suitable for you now because we know that skin colour and tone can change as well. Especially if you're wearing things like foundation and blusher, you might find the ones you've been using for a long time give your skin a completely different glow as compared to normal, and sometimes, it can look unhealthy.
We also know, and this is a really important one here, is that conventional beauty products contain lots of chemicals. Now, these chemicals, they are deemed to be safe for that product, but what can happen if you're using 7 or 8 different products a day?
If you think about it, this can easily happen: you’ve got things like your shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, face cream, toner, eye shadow, lipstick – you could end up wearing 10 different body products, and each of those will have very similar chemicals in them.
And nobody knows what these chemical levels are going to do to our bodies. They do get absorbed through the skin and one of the things that can happen is that some of them are known to be hormone disruptors.
When I first found this out, I was absolutely horrified.
Check the chemicals in your products
If you want to check the products that you're using, there is a website called the Environmental Working Group or EWG for short. So, if you just Google EWG, you can go on there. You should be able to find the makeup and skin care products that you use.
And they will give you a list of what the chemicals are in them and what they're likely to do for you. So, even that on its own is a really good reason for going for more organic and natural skin care products.
Try going organic and natural
Now, I know a lot of you will be sitting there thinking, "But they're so expensive." Yes, some of them are expensive. A lot of them are in the mid-price range, so you would be paying the same for natural organic skin care products as you would for your normal beauty products. And also, there are some really nice, more economical ranges that, to be honest, that are actually just as good.
Beauty routine tips & my favourite products
What I thought I would do now is basically look at my favorite products, the ones that I tend to use, although I do chop and change. I don't always stick with the same companies the whole time. I do like to experiment that little bit. If you want to invest in some really good, organic, or natural skin care products, I would suggest that you just go down to your local health food shop.
Most of them have a great range of products that will suit everybody's purse. There is nearly always somebody there who will be experienced in using the products. They can give you advice on which ones would be good for your particular skin type and if any other issues are cropping up on your skin as well. So, let's have a look at some of the skin care products and the ones that you can look at and my favourite ones as well.
We're looking at face creams first of all. One of the things to look at here is, if our skin's dry, we automatically tend to think of oil. Very often, that's the worst thing that you can do for slightly older skin, so just be aware of the fact that you're probably better with a low oil or oil-free skin products, especially if your skin is very, very sensitive.
You can look at a company called Green People or, the one that I like at the moment is a New Zealand company called Antipodes. They offer a very rich cream but it goes an awful long way, so that's favorite one at the minute.
You can also look at Superdrug. Now, here in the UK, one of the ladies who was watching one of my last skin videos, very kindly said that she got her vegan products from Superdrug. It turns out that one of our ladies in the office has been using it, and she absolutely loves it.
So, as you can see already, you can get all sorts of different price ranges for products that will possibly work just as well as the other.
We're looking at body lotion. Now, I always use body lotion every single day after my shower because, otherwise, my skin gets really quite dry. I find using a body lotion helps to keep your skin moisturised and, as you get older, this is helpful as your elbows and knees can get really dry.
I know, for me, it tends to be the backs of my arms as well and the backs of my legs. Putting body lotion on is actually a good excuse to give yourself a quick massage in the morning. That is going to help with your circulation, and it's also going to help with lymph drainage as well.
So it's a nice little pampering thing that you can do for yourself that's only going to take you a couple of minutes after you've had your shower. My favourite body products would, again, have to be Green People and the Antipodes range as well as Superdrug.
The problem here is that we use so many products in the shower already – shower gels, shampoos, conditioners and face wash. You are, essentially, standing in an enclosed space that’s very hot and steamy so you could be breathing in a number of the chemical that are coming off your products.
That’s why, for me, being in the shower, I try to keep things as simple as possible.
I use a very pure soap. Go to your local health food shop. They have loads and loads of lovely, organic, natural, very, very simple soaps. I love the ones that have olive oil in them because they're really nice and moisturising. They often use essential oils too! So, I just use soap and then, obviously, my shampoo and my conditioner.
If you do prefer things like shower gels, then Faith in Nature has a really lovely range of products that you can choose from.
Shampoo and conditioner
So if you're looking at shampoo and conditioner, again, our hair changes in the menopause.
I have very fine hair, which is now getting even finer. This means you might find that you have to change the type of shampoo that you use, so you might need something like a volumiser or you might need one because your hair's getting that little bit drier now. So, again, things like Green People and Faith in Nature.
If you have an itchy scalp then we do a super Neem Shampoo that can be very, very soothing for that, so that's something that you could certainly look at as well.
Next in line is deodorant. This, surprisingly enough, can be a big factor in your hot flushes and night sweats. Very, very simply, under our arms is one of the major areas where our body uses its temperature control. We sweat, or the body sweats here, because our internal core is too hot.
But it's not socially acceptable, so what we do is we end up using anti-perspirants which block all the pores under the arms so that we don't sweat and we don't smell. The problem here is, "Where on earth does the body sweat instead?"
And, if you're going through the menopause, your temperature control goes all over the place – you get hot flushes and you get night sweats because the body is desperate to regulate its temperature which has gone completely wonky.
So, if you are using anti-perspirants during the menopause and you're getting hot flushes and night sweats, then one of the reasons could just be because you're using these anti-perspirants. Also, if you're using these 24-hour ones and you don't wash it off before you go to bed, then again, during the night, your body is not going to perspire under the arms if you get too hot in bed, and that's possibly going to give you night sweats.
If you can't sweat under the arms, very often, you'll get the flushes in the face and the neck and, some women find that they end up getting very, very sweaty feet instead. So, what you're looking at here is using a deodorant, a natural deodorant, that is going to allow your body to sweat, but is going to take care of any potential B.O. problems.
We have a super range of what's called Crystal Spring deodorants. So these, basically, are crystals that are ground up. They create a barrier on the skin that traps any bacteria that might cause horrible smells, but it allows your arms to breathe. One of the things you will find, very often, is that once you start this whole process, you don't sweat as much as you would do normally.
So, it's certainly something worth trying. And we've had a number of ladies come back to us saying that their flushes and night sweats have decreased because they've just changed over to a deodorant instead of using an anti-perspirant.
Makeup – again, we use so many different ones. I've got eye shadow on, mascara, I've got a bit of blusher, a bit of concealer, and a bit of matte foundation, and, of course, lipstick.
That's five or six different types of makeup I have on my face at the moment. It's on there all day. I put it on in the morning. When I'm filming, I really touch it up, and then, I don't take it off till I go to bed. So there are all these chemicals that are sitting on our face for a good part of the day.
Also, our skin, especially around the eyes, can get very, very sensitive. Many women tell me that they can't wear their usual mascara, or eyeliner, or eye shadows, because it either irritates the eyes or it just makes their eyes water. I think, as far as makeup goes, this is the one area where it really is worth investing in natural products.
There's loads of great ranges out there as well. There's a brand called Pacifica, there is Inika, there's PHB Beauty, and there's Benecos as well. So I tend to use a combination of these ones, just depending on what I fancy.
Last but not least, is hair dyes. Again, all the conventional hair dyes have loads of chemicals in them. Unless you go for henna, which doesn't always give you the colour you want, then any hair dye has the potential for irritating your scalp. Yes, I do tint my hair because I'm not ready to go totally grey just now, but I use a natural one.
There are a couple of companies that do really good hair dyes. There's Naturtint and there's Herbatint. Naturtint also do a lovely anti-aging cream. I find this is great because you wash your hair, you put the conditioner on, and then you put this on just before you dry your hair, and it protects your hair, giving it a lovely little bit of a shiny sheen, so it's something that's worth investing in as well.
So, as you can see, our day-to-day beauty routine is very complex in the menopause. I hope you've found it helpful. I know a lot of you out there are really into simple products and that’s absolutely fabulous. If you have any thoughts on this, or if you have any tips to share, please let us know.