“You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty,
and irresistible for the rest of your life.”
― Coco Chanel
We completely agree with you, Coco! Beauty is truly ageless.
And as our understanding of skin health and the aging process improves every year, so do the treatments to enhance your beauty at any age.
In this article we look at the changes that happen to women who are perimenopausal, menopausal or post menopausal – and how you can slow down the torrent of time and achieve ageless beauty.
We’re not talking about going under the knife to try and look 20 years younger, we want you to look the best for YOUR age, not someone else’s!
How the menopause changes us
Generally occurring between the ages of 45 and 55, the menopause relates to a period of time when a woman’s reproductive capability diminishes. As women age the number of eggs in their ovaries decreases and, as a result, less oestrogen is produced (the hormone that controls women’s reproductive cycle).
Psychologically this loss of reproductive function can be distressing for women and, in addition to this, there are many uncomfortable physical symptoms related to the menopause, including hot flushes, night sweats, sleeplessness, low mood and vaginal dryness.
During and after the menopause, women also experience changes in their skin which can lead to problems such as:
Wrinkles and sagging skin
The production of collagen and elastin, which keep the skin firm and help it return to a smooth state after you’ve made an expression, is partly controlled by oestrogen. So the lower oestrogen levels experienced post menopause reduces collagen production causing a loss of firmness and permanent wrinkles. In fact about 30% of your collagen will disappear within five years of the menopause. This aging effect can be heightened if you have had excessive sun exposure.
In addition, post menopause, fat is redistributed in the body and it all “goes south”! The layer of fat under your facial skin reduces, causing a sagging effect, and the same happens to your neck, arms and breasts. In a cruel double-whammy, the fat migrates to your stomach and buttocks!
The blood flow within the skin reduces after the menopause meaning that fewer nutrients and less oxygen is delivered to the skin cells. This can cause thinning and drying of the skin. Sun exposure can also increase the rate of thinning.
Due to the drop in oestrogen levels the sebaceous glands in the skin can start to produce more sebum, leading to an oilier appearance and more acne outbreaks.
Again because of the reduction in oestrogen volumes, women can start to experience an increase in facial hair, particularly on the chin and jawline. Don’t shave it – you’ll end up with stubble and being stuck with shaving it every day!
During the menopause the production of melanin (a pigment in the skin) can become erratic, leading to brown ‘age spots’ and larger areas of darker skin appearing on parts of the body which have been regularly exposed to UVA and UVB radiation from the sun.
Initially rosacea presents itself as a flushing feeling with a temporary reddening of the skin. Over time the redness can become permanent and accompanied by other symptoms such as burning sensations and spots. While the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, it does appear that the menopause is one of the triggers for it.
Hormonal changes during the menospausal period can increase your chances of developing thread veins, also known as spider veins. They appear just under the skin (usually on your legs or face) and, while not a serious condition, are often considered unsightly.
Get out what you put in
Keeping yourself fit, well fed and hydrated will improve your body confidence and your complexion, whatever your age.
Find your exercise niche
Not everyone is made to be a gym-bunny, but we strongly believe that there’s an exercise out there to suit everyone. So if you haven’t found yours yet, don’t give up trying new things! If you can find an activity you truly enjoy then it will be so much easier to get into the habit of regular exercise. Here are some suggestions:
You might not fancy going out for a long walk on your own but a little research will reveal walking clubs near to you, or animal charities looking for dog walkers. If you can’t find anything, why not start a club yourself? And when you walk, walk briskly, don’t dawdle!
One of the best all round exercises. But don’t just go for a leisurely few lengths, push yourself with interval training and learning new strokes.
Pilates and yoga
These are excellent all round exercises which are easy on aging joints and great for improving muscle tone and posture. But don’t rely on YouTube or DVD workouts, join a club so you can get personal support and motivation from your instructor and fellow classmates.
Getting out and about on your bike not only improves your fitness but it’s a great way to get a bit of fresh air and see your local area. There are plenty of cycling clubs who cater for all abilities, whether you’re hoping to build up to a competitive level or simply have someone to chat to as you meander along.
Visit your local leisure centre
We’re being very specific here. Don’t look on their website. Don’t email them. Go and see them (or at least phone them), tell them what you’re looking for and what your fitness level is, and ask them for recommendations. You might find yourself going to a class you’d have never thought of and absolutely loving it!
If you don’t have an expansive garden of your own, volunteer for a few hours a week at a local charity or heritage garden for a free workout.
Take a look at the disciplines included in the Olympics for ideas. This doesn’t mean that you need to reach gold medal standards, many local fencing, athletics, martial arts, table tennis, badminton or ice skating clubs are as happy to accommodate bumbling newcomers as they are super-talented experts.
It’s the usual story: eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and reduce your sugar and alcohol intake.
But when you’re fighting against the effects of aging and the menopause, it’s perhaps time to take this advice a little more seriously. Ensuring that your body and skin are well nourished and well hydrated rewards you with a significant improvement in how you look and feel.
Try to eat a ‘rainbow’ of fruit and vegetables as this will help to ensure that your body receives the widest possible range of nutrients.
Slip in a bit of omega-3 essential fatty acids from sources such as oily fish, or take supplements, as omega-3 has been shown to help age-related memory loss.
Keep foods which are high in saturated fats, sugars and salt to a minimum, though we’re not saying you should never treat yourself!
Sleep – the ultimate beauty enhancement
Sleep is an essential part of any beauty regime. Having seven to eight hours sleep a night will give your body plenty of time to regenerate and look its best the following morning. You’ll also feel better thanks to your extra time in bed.
During the menopause a good night’s sleep can be easier said than done. So here are some tips to help you with sleep problems:
- Having a consistent nighttime routine will get you into good sleep habits. Go to bed at the same time every night, don’t use screens too late in the evening and don’t have caffeine after midday.
- Switch your sheets or nightwear to linen, which is cooler than other fabrics.
- Invest in a chilling pillow (also known as a chillow) which you put in the fridge or freezer by day and inside your pillow slip by night.
- Use an eye mask and/or ear plugs to ensure your mind knows you’re in a dark and quiet environment, so it understands that it’s nighttime. This is particularly useful if you have thin curtains or live by a noisy street.
If the serious health risks associated with smoking aren’t enough to deter you, research has shown that smoking can also cause an earlier menopause and trigger hot flushes.
In addition, smoking damages your skin’s collagen and elastin, contributing to premature aging. Aside from aging, smoking is the biggest cause of wrinkles.
Ageless beauty treatments
If you feel that Mother Nature is letting you down a little, then we offer a range of treatments to help you look and feel great at any age.
These are the treatments which specifically counteract the negative effects of the menopause:
Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) helps to manage the hormone imbalances experienced in the run up to the menopause. Unlike conventional HRT it uses hormones which have been ‘tailor-made’ to an identical structure as your naturally occurring hormones, which provides a more natural solution without the reported side effects of conventional HRT.
Laser hair removal
Either targeting individual nuisance hairs or larger areas, laser hair removal can provide a permanent solution to age-induced hair growth. It’s also perfect for thin skin, which might tear or bleed if waxing is used.
Botox and dermal fillers
Used in combination these two treatments can smooth out fine lines and deeper wrinkles across your face. Botox is applied to the forehead, outer eye areas and between the eyes. By reducing the activity of muscles in these areas it smoothes out expression lines. Dermal fillers act by plumping out wrinkles, often targeting areas around the mouth.
CACI non-surgical facelift
This non-invasive treatment stimulates collagen production and increases the blood flow in your skin to produce a rejuvenating effect.
Laser treatment for skin pigmentation and age spots
Using painless laser treatments we can reduce the levels of melanin (a skin pigment) and lighten areas of pigmentation or age spots.
The Fusion Meso Expert device uses electroporation, photon and LED technology to deliver mesotherapy chemicals into the skin which reduce expression lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.
Our lip fillers can be used to reverse the thinning effect of age and return your lips to their former glory.
Laser thread vein removal
Our laser treatment uses light energy to gently break down thread veins until they are reabsorbed back into the body.
Not all skincare products are the same, and you don’t always have to pay a fortune to get one which will work well for your skin.
The right product will soften and smooth your complexion, reducing the appearance of fine lines and firming the skin. And we’re not just talking about your face here – think about the differing needs of your neck, arms, legs, hands, feet and…well…all over!
But research well – not just choosing products which do well in reviews, but which will also be right for your skin type and age.
The right choice of skin care product can also help to reduce the symptoms of age-induced conditions such as rosacea.
We offer a range of skincare products from the Obagi Skin Care Systems and can provide a free consultation over the phone, by Skype or face to face in one of our clinics to advise you on the best choice for your skin type and age.
It’s also important to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB radiation, so ensure that you either use a moisturiser which is at least SPF 30 with a minimum of four star UVA protection, or top up with sunscreen.
Post menopause women produce less melanin (the pigment which gives us some natural sun protection) and therefore boosting your natural defences with sunscreen becomes even more important.
You can find out more about protecting yourself from sun exposure in our ‘How to be sun safe and beautiful this summer’ article.
Talk to an expert
The list of things to do to achieve ageless beauty can seem endless and it can be hard to know which treatments will work best to give you the results you want.
We’re here to help! Book yourself in for a free consultation with one of our skin care experts and we can advise you on the treatments which will help you look and feel great – at any age!