Women’s bodies are complicated, right? We don’t need a scientist or doctor to tell us that. Mention of hormones, in particular, is known to provoke an eye roll and a wince. The truth is, our hormones are both amazing and a proper pain in the backside. They’re there to keep chemical balance in response to what the brain may anticipate might occur or assumes has occurred. The problem often is, we live in the modern world and our chemical responses have not quite caught up. This is why watching an email from our boss fly into our inbox, can trigger the same level of danger and fear as when our ancestors spotted a tiger headed towards them. Yet hormones still play a very necessary role, particularly in the lives of women.
There’s something divine in seeing, or being, a woman going through pregnancy. How her body changes, adapts and protects itself and the baby. Then, after birth, your body floods itself with oxytocin, known as the ‘bonding hormone’, which heightens the desire to nurture and also puts us on high alert to potential risks. Although for many it’s a taboo subject, the truth is there’s also something magical about menstruation. There’s even a relationship between women’s menstrual cycles and the moon. It’s insane! And yet, menopause is still sometimes considered more a cause for commiseration rather than celebration. Perhaps because perimenopause is our chemical balance readjusting once again. Meaning we are babysitters to our unpredictable hormones once more as they run around, wear us out and force us to care for and tidy up after them until they’re ready to settle back down.
During this time perimenopause can affect sleep, your energy, your weight, your emotional balance and yes, perimenopause can affect your skin.
What is Perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the period of time that leads up to menopause. It's the body’s transition into the ending of reproductive years through gradually reducing estrogen levels. Perimenopause lasts an average of 4 years and usually begins in our 40s but can start earlier or later.
In the past, menopause would have been a sign of ageing but our lives were a lot shorter back then and we were less healthy in our 40s. Nowadays, menopause is barely a sign of middle-age so it needn’t be something to fear. Simply another stage our miraculous bodies move through as we enter another glorious stage of our lives.
However, that’s not to say that perimenopause is smooth sailing for all. What may seem just a lowering of a hormone and the end of menstruation (yay) can often spark some real chaos whilst our bodies adjust.
Did you know - that a 22-week old female fetus will already have a whole lifetimes supply of eggs in her ovaries? Around 6 million in fact! That's how early our bodies start preparing for reproduction. So the reversal process of this is sure to have some impact.
Does Perimenopause Affect Your skin?
Not everyone going through perimenopause experiences changes in their skin, but some do. It’s only natural. After all, perimenopause reduces estrogen and this has a big part to play in the appearance and texture of our skin.
Perimenopause can cause our skin to be highly sensitive which can inflame rosacea, dry out the skin and trigger acne.
The good news? There’s so much you can do to care for, nourish and pamper your skin during perimenopause and this TLC can make a real difference.
The even better news? It doesn’t last forever and if you care for your skin well, there shouldn’t be any lasting effects. Remember, perimenopause is a transition, not a permanent state. Here are some things you should know about how perimenopause may affect your skin and what you can do to care for your skin during perimenopause.
Estrogen and Collagen Loss During Perimenopause
During perimenopause, your estrogen levels decrease as the body prepares to retire menstruation. Loss of estrogen affects how much collagen we produce and collagen provides our skin with that firm, elasticity so associated with a youthful appearance. The fall of collagen is why our skin thins as we age and why it can also dry out.
All-Natural Skincare During Perimenopause
In terms of skincare, when estrogen is preparing to leave the party it’s a good time to invest in a rich moisturiser that’s going to properly nourish your thirsty skin. During, and after, perimenopause, reward your skin with a moisturiser packed with delicious, rich nutrients and natural fatty qualities.
Like anything else in our body, our skin needs a little more attention as we age which means our skincare products should pack a bit more punch. However, this does not mean resorting to harsh chemicals. In fact, if there's any time to avoid harmful ingredients, perimenopause is it. Your skin is already responding to the hormone changes it's undergoing and, as a result, can be highly sensitive which is why I strongly advise sticking to all-natural skincare during perimenopause.
Many mother-earth provided ingredients can help restore the firmness and elasticity the skin loses as a result of perimenopause. My Pro-Ageing Skin Face Cream, containing almond oil, turmeric and shea butter, is handmade to brighten and firm your skin, resulting in increased vibrancy and rejuvenated plumpness.
Rosacea During Menopause
Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition that can flare up during perimenopause, whether or not you have suffered from rosacea before. Hormones can certainly be blamed for this one, however, rosacea can also be triggered by another common symptom of perimenopause - hot flashes. Sudden rises in the surface temperature of the skin awaken the blood vessels and can result in us appearing rosy-cheeked more often.
There are many lifestyle tweaks you can make to prevent triggering or exacerbating rosacea. These include regulating your temperature as much as possible, avoiding spicy foods and decreasing your alcohol consumption (especially red wine).
A Word On Soap During Perimenopause - Soap is known to dry out our skin. Although there are some amazing all-natural soaps available, as we age it can be a good idea to replace hard soap with a face cleanser. Preferably an all-natural cleanser that won’t foam. Cleansers can be gentler on the skin than soaps and so help the skin to stay hydrated.
A Word On Sleep And Skincare During Perimenopause - Taking a holistic approach to health, which is always wise, we know that we can’t only look after our skin using products on the surface. Beauty comes from within in more ways than one. Symptoms of perimenopause can include hot flashes, fatigue, mood imbalance and night sweats, to name a few. Experiencing these can affect our sleep at a time when we most need our rest. Our skin needs sleep to allow it to repair and revive itself to face the weather every day. So show yourself some love with earlier nights and maybe a bit of an evening pamper to get your body ready for rest. Cosy up, put a few drops of lavender oil in a diffuser and massage some cream (infused with calming oils) into your lushious skin. Especially since, during perimenopause, sleep may not come so easy.
A Word On Other Ways To Care For Your Skin During Perimenopause - As always, what you put in your body has a massive effect on how it looks on the outside. As your body’s largest organ, and the only one we actually see, the skin acts as a canvas for what’s happening inside. Treat your body like the temple it is by feeding it with good food and plenty of water. During perimenopause, you’ll be struggling to hold onto natural oils as changes in hormones can lower our production, so seek out high-in-natural-fats (non-saturated) foods such as nuts, avocados, fish and chia seeds. You may also struggle to retain moisture, so quench your skin’s thirst by drinking plenty of water, though not too close to bedtime, as this may affect your much-needed rest.
Want to hear more skincare tips from Olive & Joyce? Follow us on Instagram.