A.Vogel Talks Menopause: Menopause and your skin


Eileen Durward
@EileenDurward


11 April 2016

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I’m going to be talking about skin. Now we all want beautiful skin, don’t we? But for us menopausal women today, there’s a huge pressure on us to look good all the time, and that can be very hard to achieve, especially as a lot of the hormonal changes and other things that go on in the menopause can actually affect our skin quite badly. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to have a look at things that can affect our skin in the menopause, and things that you can actually do to help yourself. So let’s take a look.

Stress

Stress can be a big issue. And remember, that all the hormonal changes that are going on in the body can create stress chemicals. Never mind when we have to actually deal with external stress as well. And these chemicals can really irritate the skin. We can end up with rashes and itchiness, blotchy skin, and feeling just really, really uncomfortable all the time.

Hormones

We know, as well, that falling hormones can affect the immune system, and that can actually make you much more sensitive to all the things that you put on your skin.

You may find that you’ve got a lovely cashmere sweater that you’ve been wearing for years, and you find now that you can’t actually tolerate it. It’s really making the skin very, very itchy. You might find that the body creams, your face creams, your makeup, your lipstick, or even your perfume are starting to irritate the skin, whereas before, it wasn’t a problem at all.

We also know that falling hormones can affect the thickness of the skin. It can make the skin a lot thinner. And it affects something called connective tissue. And connective tissue is what keeps everything nice and firm. And over time, if the connective tissue weakens, that can then cause things like wrinkles, and lines, and it can actually affect the shape of the skin and the texture of the skin as well.

Liver

And the other thing that we need to look at is the liver. Our liver can really affect the skin. Now, the liver can get very stressed during the menopause, again just by all the hormonal changes going on. We know that the falling hormones can actually affect the digestion which can stress the liver as well. And what you put on your skin can actually lead to liver overload as well. And when your liver gets stressed, that can cause skin problems such as eczema. A lot of women find they get old skin conditions back, and some women going through the menopause actually find they end up getting acne, which maybe they haven’t had since they were a teenager.

What you're putting on your skin

So let’s have a little look at the sorts of things that you can actually put on your skin on a daily basis. Now, you get out of bed, and you jump into the shower, so you’re using shower gels, you’re using shampoos, you’re using conditioners. All these things are touching the skin. Once you get out of the shower, and dry, you put body cream on, you then put deodorants on, face cream, makeup, hairspray, and a dab of perfume. All these things contain a whole raft of chemicals. And some of these chemicals are actually known as hormone disrupters. So these can actually affect your hormones as well.

Now a lot of these companies will say all these chemicals are absolutely fine. But if you’re putting that amount of chemicals on your body before you’ve left the house, then you’re actually creating a chemical overload. This can affect the skin, it can cause the itchiness. But some of these chemicals are known to actually be absorbed into the skin. We don’t know what combination is being absorbed. We don’t know how our own individual bodies will actually deal with these combinations of chemicals. But these chemicals end up having to be dealt with by the liver as well. And that can affect your skin, and that can also affect your hormone balance which can give rise to other symptoms as well.

A real-life story

And I had to really interesting story a little while ago. A lady had emailed in to say that she had decided to start making her own natural body and face creams. And after about four or five weeks, she suddenly realized that her hot flushes had stopped. And she had actually wondered if just changing over to natural skin care products had had this kind of effect. And it can. So it’s actually worth looking at what you’re putting on your skin as well. And natural products can sometimes make the skin feel so much better as well.

What can you do?

What to do, though, is don’t suddenly panic. Don’t go into your makeup drawer and into your bathroom, and start throwing everything out. Have a look at the chemicals that are actually in the products that you’re using, and just see how bad they’re actually supposed to be. Now there is a fabulous website called The Environmental Working Group or EWG, and they will give you a list of all the chemicals that are used in everyday skincare products, and then you can see exactly what you’re actually doing on the skin. What to do then is just slowly start to change over to more natural products, if you can. Now I know a lot of you are probably saying, “Oh, I’ve looked these organic skincare products, and they’re very, very expensive.” And some of them are very, very expensive. But you don’t actually need to splash out if you don’t want to. And we’re very lucky, because we actually have a small range of skincare products that are natural and a lot of women find them very, very helpful.

Comfrey Cream

The herb comfrey is actually known as a strengthener, it’s a skin strengthener. Its old-fashioned name is called knitbone because it was actually used in the olden days to help with fractures. So we use this particular cream. And it’s really good as a night cream for fine wrinkles, and just for helping to plump up the skin a little bit. I actually use it as a hand and nail cream, because unfortunately, one of the areas of the body that can get affected quite quickly in the menopause is the skin on the back of your hands. It can get very dry, and it can get thin very, very quickly, so that’s what I use the Comfrey Cream for.

Echinacea Cream

Echinacea is known as an anti-inflammatory, it’s known as a soother. So we use Echinacea Cream for irritated skin, itchy skin, sensitive skin.

Bioforce Cream

And the Bioforce Cream is a very moisturising cream. It’s really good for those areas of very, very dry skin. And here in the UK, we’re just kind of gearing up for a late spring and early summer, and that’s when everybody starts thinking of their summer holidays. And one of the areas that gets really affected during the winter is our heels. The skin can get really dry, and thick, and cracked, and using a very moisturising cream like the Bioforce cream can help to get those nice ankles back again.

Diet can help

Now, the other things that you can do to help are diet. This is really, really important, because what we put in our bodies will reflect through the skin. And unfortunately, during the menopause, our nutritional needs can actually go sky-high.

All this internal turmoil that’s going on needs lots and lots of nutrition. And you may actually find that your hair, and your nails, and your skin are starting to change. Your nails are getting more brittle, we’re having all those problems with the skin, and you might find your hair is getting very dry as well.

Now the body is actually very sensitive, and very sensitive. And it will use all the nutrients it gets to actually help to keep you alive. And your hair, and your skin, and your nails are not necessary for life. So if you find that these are starting to change, that may be an indication that your nutritional needs are not being fully met.

So have a good look at your diet, have lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Have your nuts and your seeds, and things like yoghurts as well, because these can all help with nutrition for the skin as well. Remember the water, really, really important. Get that one and a half litres of water in a day. And remember too that coffee, tea, your alcohol, your fizzy juices, they are dehydrating, so they’re not really good for the skin at all, as well.

Supplements to help

Sea Buckthorn Oil

You might find you want to take some supplements for the skin. And one of the loveliest remedies for menopause skin is called sea buckthorn oil. This is really good for helping to keep the skin nice and moist and plump. And sea buckthorn oil is also known to be really good for vaginal dryness, for mouth and eye dryness as well, and these are other common symptoms in the menopause as well.

Zinc

And the one mineral that’s really important for the skin is zinc. Zinc is needed for healing. So if you find that any scratches, or blemishes, or rashes don’t heal particularly well, it may be an indication that you’re just a little bit low in zinc as well.

Fats

Now the other thing that’s really important for the skin is fats. And I know a lot of people go, “I want to stay on a low-fat diet.” One of the worse things you can do during the menopause is actually go on a low-fat diet, because good fats are needed for so many, many things. Your fats are needed for joint health and mobility, your good fats are needed for brain function and for memory. They’re also needed for the skin. So make sure that on a daily basis, you’re having a combination of good healthy fats such as, olive oil, coconut oil, your fish oils. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you could actually look at things like flax seed oil as well to actually help with the skin.

And finally, don't forget to exercise

The other thing that’s really important for the skin is exercise. You need good healthy circulation for good skin. Your skin needs feeding. It needs those nutrients. It needs oxygen to help keep your skin looking good. So daily exercise of some kind is really important to keep your circulation going well. It doesn’t have to be anything too extreme. Extreme exercise sometimes isn’t very good in the menopause anyway. Even a brisk 10-minute walk around the block at lunch time can actually help to get that circulation going. So hope to see you next week on A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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Did you know?

You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.

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