Menopause and skin

Over the last couple of weeks I have been getting more and more women telling me the same story. They are all around 50 (ranging from about 46-55), and have noticed their skin change dramatically, quickly and most definitely for the worst in a very short period of time.

These changes seem to be going alongside other symptoms that are most definitely menopausal. Dry hair, sleep issues, changes in periods, and issues with libido, stress, anxiety and depression, and hot flushes.

So, what happens to the skin during menopause and perimenopause?

After the age of around 21 years old, we lose approximately 1% of our collagen per year. Everyone obviously differs, but this is a good guide to go by. When we hit menopause, our collagen production falls off a cliff, with a reduction of 30% in just 5 years! And this is very much the time that these women have been noticing drastic changes in their skin. After that first huge drop, the skin then goes back to losing around 2% of it’s remaining collagen thereafter.

Other problems also start to occur around this time, as oestrogen levels start to drop. The skin and hair often feel drier and thinner, with the body losing its ability to hold water in the skin, so skin feels thinner, papery, and more prone to irritation. Rosacea often starts to get worse as does adult acne, and a lot of this is down to a change int eh barrier function of the skin. Dryness, dehydration and hormonal changes all contribute to this, as well as sometimes a sudden sensitivity to perfumes and other ingredients in skin products and household chemicals. Pigmentation starts to appear, revealing years of sun damage and age spots, and the emergence of a range of different skin lesions and even skin cancers, with basal cell carcinomas or ‘rodent ulcers’ becoming more common. (remember the old days of tanning to within an inch of our lives? Sunbathing with baby oil?! Getting every last scrap of sun on every last inch of our skin?!)

Our body starts to lose volume in the face, fat pads reduce, meaning we lose our structure and contouring of our face – clearly the fat decides to shift to far less desirable places and becomes stubbornly impossible to shift!! This loss of fat in the face leads to a downward journey for our skin – the fat is the ‘coat hanger’ if you will! Increasingly saggy jowls and jawlines, baggy chins and wrinkly eyes all make us feel old and lacking in confidence.

It feels a pretty bleak picture.

However, all is not lost!

There are several things you can do – and I can help you with all of the!

Firstly, and most importantly, we need to get your skin working as well as it can all by itself! Many over the counter skin care products don’t help your skin function as well as possible, often putting a sticking plaster over concerns, and leaving you dependent on certain products and barrier creams. Barrier function is ALWAYS my number one priority, which includes sunscreen, the right cleanser, and Hyaluronic Acid.

Once the basics are in place, we can start adding the really active stuff – things like Alumier’s amazing Retinol serums, peptide-based serums, moisturisers, pigment serums, acids (yes, really!), vitamin C serums (Alumier’s award winning Everactive C&E is the BEST!), exfoliation – usually chemical, not physical – we don’t want you scrubbing apricot kernels into your delicate skin!! AHA serum or Bright and Clear Solution works amazingly, and more importantly, gently! And our powerful eye products.

These are all crucial, and a robust, active homecare routine is always 50% of your overall result if you have treatments as well – and on their own can take your skin a very long way. If it’s a choice between homecare and in-clinic treatments, then go homecare every time.

Then we can look at the quick-fixes and this is where injectable cosmetics come in! Stubborn lines on the forehead, and crows’ feet around the eyes, thinning lips, lack of volume in the cheeks and deep folds from nose to mouth (nasolabial folds) and the corners of the mouth (marionette lines) can all be helped dramatically with anti-wrinkle treatments and dermal and lip fillers. Dermal fillers are made from ‘cross-linked’ hyaluronic acid *(that really important ingredient that hangs on to water in the skin!), which plump up, add volume and smooth out all those unwanted problems. (see my last blog for more info about how fabulous these really are and how they work!)

These quick fixes are the most sought after and performed treatments in the aesthetics industry, and make up around 80% of most clinics treatments. They are safe, when done properly, always make sure you use a qualified, insured and experienced medical practitioner, and they last for several months. Wrinkle treatments tend to need re-doing around every 3 months, fillers can last from 6-18 months, depending on the area treated, the type of filler used, and the person themselves -some people will metabolise (break down) fillers more quickly than others.

One way to make these brilliant treatments last longer, is to be kind to your skin, use the products recommended by your practitioner, and have regular skin treatments. 

My favourite skin treatments for actively treating these skin concerns are:

Wow! Fusion – this amazing skin treatment is performed using the award-winning device containing a personalised boost of mesotherapy ingredients, tailored to the client. The tiny needles deliver the active ingredients into the surface of the skin giving great results for ageing, pigmentation, rosace, open pores and oily skin, rosacea and redness, fine lines and wrinkles. It hydrates skin and gives a gorgeous glow! We usually start with a course of 3, at two-weekly intervals, then monthly. Watch out for an amazing Christmas offer… (Prices start from £160 for a single Wow, £260 for an advanced treatment, and an offer price of £400 for the first 3 treatments)

Chemical Peels – we use the highest quality chemical peels from AlumierMD, focussing on all the signs of ageing, helping with barrier function and treating adult-onset acne. These are lovely to treat the skin as a one-off or a longer-term skin plan, and they are very often alternated with other treatments, such as Wow! Fusion over a long-term skin treatment pathway. They vary in depth, strength and function, starting with the beautiful but gentle Enzyme Peel, the Detox peel for acne, Radiant peels for superficial, efficient treatments for hydration, pigmentation, acne and general anti-ageing, and the amazing Glow Peel – the holy grail of peels! Prices start from £99 for a peel, to £135 for a glow peel – includes aftercare products and full support.

Skin treatment pathways

These vary and can be off-the-shelf (add link to subscription packages) or can be more bespoke and include a range of treatments including topical and injectable. Homecare products are always arranged separately, however if you embark on an injectable-only subscription, you will never buy a sunscreen again! (As long as you are part of the subscription package – t&C’s apply)

What we aim to achieve:

  • Collagen induction – we need to get the skin producing as much as possible for as long as possible!
  • Skin cell turnover – this drops off quickly after our 20’s
  • Hydration lost to oestrogen reduction
  • Barrier function stability – to give us glowing, hydrated skin, and so we can make full use of a range of active ingredients.
  • Reduction of lines and wrinkles, to plump the skin and smooth the contours
  • Replace volume lost as we age.

And yes, we can really help with all of those things here at Sally Wagstaff Aesthetics! Book now for your skin care journey to begin!