Updated: Jan 9
Introducing the new skincare series from ARK OF BEAUTY! Each week I'll take you through an in-depth journey of discovery of different skin concerns and how different health issues can effect the skin.
I wanted to start off with Menopause because perimenopause and the menopause results in the biggest change in the skin. During this time the regeneration process slows right down and levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid deplete. I also feel that there isn't much information out there about how it effects the skin and how you can help to improve the skin, not only using skincare products by with diet too.
We will go through symptoms and how these affect the skin as well as well other skin concerns that can flare up due to menopause.
"You need to know your skin, your body and your state of mind inside out to truly see results" - Caroline Hirons
What is Menopause and what are the symptoms?
The menopause is when a woman stops having periods and is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. Menopause is a natural part of ageing that usually occurs between the age of 45-55 as a woman's oestrogen levels decline.
Symptoms can include the following:
Hot Flushes / Night Sweats
Bone Health (bone health can be decreased and can cause Osteoporosis)
*If testosterone levels are high enough.
So let's move on to the effect the menopause has on the skin. Remember when you were a teenager and you were told once you had gone through puberty your skin would clear up? How wrong they were! I'll take you through the 7 most common effects of menopause on the skin, then we will look at how to resolve them and keep your skin in its best condition.
Collagen is formed in fibroblasts and is made up of molecules consisting of 3 polypeptide chains wrapped around each other as a triple helix which provides rigidity to the molecule, preventing it from stretching, and maintaining the tone and structure of the skin.
When going through the menopause we suffer collagen loss due to lower levels of oestrogen. You'll notice this in areas such as your upper lip and around your eye area.
Reduction in Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs)
Glycosaminoglycans are part of the ground structure of the skin. The ground structure is the extra-cellular packing material, also known as 'the matrix', that collagen and elastin are suspended in. The matrix consists mainly of water and glycosaminoglycans (of which hyaluronic acid is a component).
Glycosaminoglycans serve to:
Maintain water balance in the dermis
Add support for other dermal components
Act as a matrix for cell migration, metabolism and growth
Hyaluronic Acid serves to:
Promote inter cellular hydration
Low oestrogen reduces glycosaminoglycans, you'll find your skin will lose it plumpness and water holding ability. Your skin may also become flakey and dehydrated.
Glycation looks extremely similar to collagen loss. You can see in the picture to the right that the skin has criss-cross lines. Glycation is caused by excess gluocose. This creates a reaction that causes sugar molecules to adhere to the collagen and elastin proteins. This is where AGEs (Advanced Glycation End-Products) are formed. In time these end-products make the collagen rigid which means that is loses its ability to keep skin firm. Ovaries can also make Glycation AGEs.
Imbalances of oestrogen and progesterone through the menopause can cause an increase of tyrosinase activity within the skin cells. Tyrosinase is very important for the regulation of melanin production. If your Tyrosinase levels increase, the production of Melanin increases meaning you will have more classic pigmentation on your skin such as melasma.
Melasma is a common skin concern, the condition causes dark and discoloured patches on the skin. It is also known as the "mask of pregnancy", as it can occur in pregnant women. The condition is much more common in women, though men can get it too.
Poikiloderma of Civatte (see picture above)
Poikiloderma of Civatte is a benign, common and chronic condition which belongs to the group of melanodermas (pigmented skin disorders).
The term 'Poikiloderma' refers to skin change with atrophy where hypopigmentation/hyperpigmentation changes and dilation of the fine blood vessel can be seen in the affected skin.
The condition was first described in 1923 by a French dermatologist named Civatte.
During the menopause Poikiloderma of Civatte is exacerbated by hot flushes. This skin condition can also be caused by sun damage.
If you are suffering with Hormonal Acne during in the menopause this is like due the a drop in oestrogen levels or a increase in androgen hormones like testosterone.
Acne caused by a increase in Androgen hormones will appear in the jaw line/chin/neck area. You may also find that you start to see some darker and possibly some thicker hair in these area due to the level of testosterone.
You can still experience hormonal acne even if you are using HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy).
Excessive Oiliness & Dehydration
Fluctuations in oestrogen and androgens can also cause extreme oiliness while going through the menopause. However after the menopause you can find your skin could do a complete U-turn and be dehydrated.
While rosacea is one of the more common effects of menopause on the skin, it is actually classed as a form of acne. Even though its far from what you may have experienced in your teens you will still find some similarity's between the two.
Rosacea is an inflammatory skin disease (I know it sounds much worse than it actually is!) Everyone has cytokines and chemokine in their bodies which are proteins that affect inflammation. If someone has too many of either of these then Rosacea and other skin conditions are more likely to occur. Cytokines and chemokine cause redness, swollen blood vessels, and the little pus filled bumps that look like acne.
How does the menopause affect Rosacea?
Hot flushes may be enough to trigger rosacea in the skin. If your skin has an impaired barrier function you're more likely to experience Rosacea.
You can also experience anxiety-induced Rosacea.
Don't worry if you're concerned about what you've just read. There are plenty of things you can change or add in to your daily skincare routine to help prevent/treat these effects!
If you dont already have a skincare routine, I would highly recommend starting your skincare journey with a starter kit. An ideal starter skit should include all the products you will need to get started with instructions on how (& when) to use each product. For menopausal skin I would recommended 2 of the Nimue Skin Technology starter kits, Interactive & Environmentally Damaged (let's compare the two ranges below).
The Interactive Range includes products suitable for skins that manifest temporary sensations due to ill health, medication, skin resurfacing procedures, generally stressed skin and skin with severe environmental damage due to pollution and the effects of global warming. The primary focus of the Interactive Range is for skin that manifests typical symptoms of hypersensitivity or sensitisation. What are difference between sensitive and sensitised skin?
Genetically born with it
Atopic Triad (asthma, hay fever and eczema)
Normally light coloured skin
Not genetically determined; due to internal and external factors
Not always prone to allergies
Any skin colour
An environmentally damaged skin can be classified as a skin that presents with clinical signs of premature ageing, photo ageing or different skin types, conditions and prototypes, in varying degrees, resulting from a history of exposure to environmental factors. The effects of environmental exposure are cumulative.
Nimue Skin Technology Starter Kits are £55.00
Nimue's Age Intelligent range is a prestigious, high performance range with smart, state of the art technology that improves hydration, skin firmness, elasticity and reduces wrinkle depth.
Intelligent age mechanisms are used which target skin cells to reactive the youth of the skin and influence skin health positively.
New scientific information and technologies have assisted Nimue to better understand how the skin works and in turn, support with the development of products that are age appropriate and formulated with intelligent active ingredients.
The advanced formulations improve the effects of ageing and influence skin health positively. The unique hybrid delivery system used in the Nimue Age Intelligent range allows for penetration within the deeper layers of the skin to improve hydration, skin firmness, elasticity and wrinkle depth.
Nimue Age Intelligent Range starts from £85.00
Nimue offers a wide range of booster treatments. The Corrective Serum uses Seboregulating Complex which has 5 modes of action to regulate sebum production, which in turn purifies and clarifies the skin and controls breakouts. It also promotes healing and calms acne related inflammation.
Corrective Serum £70.00
Fader Serum (another Nimue Booster)
A concentrated serum for the enhanced treatment of hyperpigmentation and uneven skin complexion. In clinical trials 71% of subjects experienced a significant skin lightening effect with 64% experiencing a more even skin tone.
Fader Serum £79.00
Nimue Element Barrier provides protection against environmental elements, extreme temperatures, and wind. This clever formulation works by moisturising the stratum corneum using a complex of botanical Phytoceramides and reduces sensitivity to UV radiation, infa-red and inflammation using a protection complex formed of a mix of organic and inorganic ingredients.
Element Barrier 100ml £50.00
Element Barrier 20ml (travel size) £14.95
Hyaluronic Ultra Filler Serum
A powerful, lightweight serum for dehydrated skin with a triple action approach, providing intense hydration in all the layers of the skin. This unique serum offers anti-ageing, anti-pollution and anti-oxidant benefits in addition to hydration. Suitable for all skin classifications and ideal for use during seasonal changes.
Hyaluronic Ultra Filler Serum £79.00
A new generation, and first to market, oil soluble Hyaluronic Acid, infused in a blend of oils for both intense hydration and moisture. This dual offering provides water and oil replacement in the skin simultaneously for softer, smoother and more elastic skin, resulting in ultimate skin comfort. Ideal for dry and cold climates.
Hyaluronic Oil £45.00
I hope you've found ARK's first Skincare Spotlight insightful. You'll find a new blog post here each week about all things beauty related. Next month our skincare spotlight will be based on Acne, so if you have any questions you'd like answered comment below!
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