WHAT ARE THE CHANGES TO EXPECT AFTER MENOPAUSE?
Menopause is an unavoidable change that every woman will experience during their mid 40s or beyond, and a lot of changes occur during this transition period. It is always helpful to know what to expect, so you can better deal with it.
Most people are aware of the symptoms such as irregular menses, hot flushes, breast tenderness, vaginal dryness, increased stress and mood swings. What’s often ignored are the changes to the skin that continue even after the transition period. Did you know that at menopause, your skin starts to get oily, wrinkles, sags, or you can even develop more facial hair?
COULD YOU ELABORATE ON THE LINK BETWEEN MENOPAUSE AND OUR SKIN?
Let me put it this way. During menopause, oestrogen levels decrease and testosterone is no longer masked in the woman’s body. Due to the decrease in oestrogen levels, the production and repair of collagen and elastic fibres drops, accelerating wrinkling and sagging, as collagen is the supportive protein structure of the skin, and elastic fibres provide the ability for the skin to bounce back. Testosterone stimulates the sebaceous glands, which secretes a substance called sebum that gives the appearance of oily skin. Also due to the unmasking of testosterone, some women may develop facial hair, particularly on the chin.
ARE THERE WAYS TO SLOW THE PROCESS?
I’d recommend that when you’re approaching menopause you should pay special attention to your skin to keep it healthy and young. To do so, boost your intake of vitamins and minerals, as adequate levels of nutrients through a well-balanced diet and multi-vitamins or supplements may just give your skin the boost it needs to get back on track.
Quit smoking and relax more, as tobacco and stress can reduce oestrogen levels. Remind yourself to sip water throughout the day to keep your body and skin hydrated. Skin products may also be subtly helpful.
Products containing vitamins A and C can improve skin due to their antioxidant effects, while creams with collagen may help keep skin youthful-looking. For severely dry skin, try moisturisers with lactic acid or urea.
WHAT THERAPIES DO WOMEN THIS AGE NORMALLY USE?
For many years oestrogen replacement, also known as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), after menopause has been widely used and this was also helpful for the skin. Oestrogen’s effects on skin are largely believed to result from the hormone’s ability to increase collagen production and water content, two factors that influence skin’s elasticity and moisture. However, considering that no two women are alike, and everyone suffers from similar yet different issues, compound pharmacy is now considered a much more effective way to deal with menopause.
WHAT IS COMPOUND PHARMACY?
Put simply, it is a customised hormone replacement therapy, in which hormones can be made in a wide variety of dosage forms and strengths to fit a woman’s individual needs. Delivery systems include capsules, creams, gels, suppositories, sublingual lozenges and drops. This comes from the belief that not all women are the same, and commercially-manufactured products do not always account for the differences. For instance, some may respond well to the medication, but could be allergic to one of the ingredients in it. So with the help of a doctor a woman can start and maintain HRT that is suited to her condition and closely mimics what her body has been doing naturally for years.
HOW DOES THIS IMPROVE SKIN TEXTURE?
Since every person’s skin is unique, a compounding pharmacist can customise a therapy especially for your needs, which can help your skin appear younger and healthier. Custom-prepared creams moisturise and soothe and diminish the appearance of irritation, rashes, redness and inflammation. They also may be used to treat blemishes and problem areas. The highlight, however, is to protect your skin from the harmful, external forces of ageing.