What Is The Menopause?
The menopause is a hugely significant phase of a woman’s life, one in which she moves from a time of fertility to a totally new experience of herself.
It generally begins with the peri-menopause when a woman is somewhere in her early 40s and can take up to 10 years until the process is fully over.
Menopause occurs when the levels of estrogen and progesterone (the female hormones) begin to fall and the ovaries stop producing eggs.
For some women entering the menopause can be a relief, for others the changes to the body are overwhelming and upsetting.
Skin changes are one of the biggest problems that face women at this time. Much has been written about the mood swings and hot flashes associated with the menopause but the skin changes that can occur at this time are less well known.
Falling levels of the hormone estrogen cause menopausal skin problems. Estrogen facilitates the production of collagen and the skins natural oils, as it diminishes the skin can become dry and itchy.
Women experiencing the early symptoms of the peri-menopause may notice overly dry elbows, drier, flaky skin around the T-Zone of the face and may also notice that their nails are becoming more brittle and splitting more easily.
The Menopause And Dry Skin
One of the earliest signs that a woman is entering the peri-menopause is the drying out of the skin. And this can occur all over the body including the face, chest, back, knees, elbows, legs and even the genitals.
7 Tips To Help Combat Dry And Itchy Skin During The Menopause
1. Include Healthy Fats In The Diet
Healthy fats contain what are known as essential fatty acids or EFAs.
Sometimes referred to as Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils – the best sources of EFAs are found in oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, linseeds, some of the healthier oils such as sunflower, sesame, walnut and soya, dark green vegetables and fortified eggs.
A diet lacking in these good fats will leave you with dry, itchy skin.
This is because EFAs facilitate the production of the skin’s natural oil barrier. This barrier is vital for the skin if we want to keep it hydrated, moist and smooth looking.
2. Avoid Hot Baths And Showers
Very hot baths and showers may be a great way to unwind at the end of the day but they can take their toll on menopausal skin.
Very hot water is too harsh for your skin as you age and will strip it of its’ natural oils.
The solution is to avoid bathing in very hot water – take baths and showers in tepid water and also decrease the amount of time spent in the bath or shower.
3. Go Easy On The Soap
Soap is also very harsh on the skin and may exacerbate the problem of dry skin.
Save the soap for the areas where you may really need it such as the feet and the underarms. You can simply wash the rest of your body with water or with a product specially formulated for very dry skin if you prefer.
Avoid soaps or cleansing products that are anti-bacterial or strongly perfumed however as these will also contain harsh chemicals that strip the skin of its’ natural moisture levels.
4. Slap On The Moisturizer
Don’t forget after bathing or washing to moisturize your entire body – not just your face.
There are many simple and inexpensive moisturizers in the shops that won’t cost you a fortune and will do the job just as well as the pricier beauty products.
Don’t skimp on this part of your beauty routine as your skin will dry out and may become itchy if adequate moisture levels are not maintained.
The menopause and itchy skin can go hand in hand and moisturizing your skin is a good way to prevent the annoyance of skin that feels irritated and itchy.
5. Exfoliate Before Moisturizing
Using exfoliating products is a good way to prime the skin before applying moisturizer.
Exfoliators help to slough away dead skin cells and leave the skin feeling smooth. What’s more your moisturizer will be better able to penetrate the skin once any excess dead skin is removed.
Again it is important to choose a gentle exfoliator and not one that contains too many harsh chemicals.
Many people choose to make their own with ingredients such as sea salt, honey, a drop of cosmetic olive oil and a drop of a favorite fragrant aromatherapy/essential oil.
These simple, homemade beauty products can work just as well as shop bought exfoliators and you are safe in the knowledge that they are 100% natural too!
6. Drink Enough Water
It’s that good advice that you just keep on hearing. Water is essential for healthy skin – what’s more it’s good for your whole body too.
Making sure that you are adequately hydrated from the inside will help to keep your skin looking good on the outside and also help to prevent dry, itchy skin.
Water also helps to flush out impurities, which in turn can keep your skin free from blemishes. What’s more water helps to plump up your skin and keep it smooth looking – a person who is dehydrated may have a pinched, dry or sallow looking complexion.
So make sure you’re getting enough water to prevent dry skin and premature aging. Six to eight glasses per day is the usual recommended amount for adults.
7. Get Enough Exercise
Exercise is important during the menopause for the health of your heart and bones however it also helps to keep your skin healthy too.
When you exercise higher levels of nutrients and oxygen are delivered to the skin and this increases the production of collagen, which is vital if we want to maintain a youthful looking complexion.
People who exercise also generally tend to have brighter more vibrant looking complexions than those who don’t.
Beautiful Skin As You Age
The experience of dry skin during the menopause can come as a shock to some women, particularly if they have been used to the problems of oily skin in their younger years.
However by following the simple tips and advice given here there is a lot that you can do for yourself to care for your skin and keep it looking healthy and beautiful as you age.
The Naturally Skinsational eBook is an extensive skincare resource that is filled with ideas for making your own 100% natural and safe beauty products.
Natural products are an excellent choice for anyone suffering from dry, itchy skin as they can be created to suit your needs and won’t be packed full of harsh, artificial ingredients.