Menopause and Skin Changes
Menopause is an incredibly complicated process that all women endure as they reach middle age. For some, symptoms appear to be a mere end to the monthly cycle. For others, it is a difficult process that can last for a few years and cause a variety of changes. As we already discussed earlier, menopause not only affects the internal body, but it affects the skin as well.
The hormonal changes that occur during and after menopause tend to change the skin’s physiology. We know that the decline of B-Estradiol during menopause is one of the culprits in the accelerated aging of the skin. We also know that menopause is mostly caused by age-related changes in the ovaries, and the number of follicles remaining in the ovaries of menopausal women is significantly reduced. In addition, the follicles, that remain, become less sensitive to stimulation by pituitary hormones, even though their levels are elevated, resulting in fewer mature follicles and a reduction in the production of corpora lutea. This results in lowered estrogen and progesterone production, which in turn leads to changes in the skin.
Sagging Skin and Wrinkles
Estrogens stimulate fat deposits over the female body; as estrogen levels drop during menopause, fat deposits tend to become redistributed and often concentrated over the abdomen and/or on the thighs and buttocks. The result is a loss of supportive fat below the skin of the face, neck, hands and arms; this allows sagging wrinkles to appear, and the skin over these areas is less easily compressed, as it loses its mobility. Also, fat deposits are reduced in the breasts, resulting in loss of turgor, which causes the breasts to begin to sag and flatten.
While wrinkles on skin are a natural part of the aging process, certain areas tend to be more prone to these changes. Skin around the eyes, lips and on the neck seems to be more sensitive to the ravages of time. Other causes of wrinkles include overexposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun, stress, rapid weight loss, Vitamin E deficiency and smoking.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 1.6 million botulinum toxin (commonly referred to as Botox) procedures were performed in 2002, making it the most popular nonsurgical procedure. By temporarily paralyzing the muscles that cause wrinkles, Botox has been shown to dramatically reduce the appearance of moderate to severe frown lines, or furrows, between the eyebrows. In fact, women with frown lines and crows' feet are gathering in living rooms across the nation to get the shots that smooth facial wrinkles as Botox parties become the Tupperware parties of new millennium.
What to Do?
Before getting appointment to the plastic surgeon, review what the alternative approaches are to improve your skin conditions and remove / reduce much hated wrinkles on your face.
1. Collagen Stimulation
As said, levels of collagen, the key protein in your skin, drop because of the decrease in estrogen, making skin more prone to wrinkling during and after menopause. Almost a third of your collagen is lost within the first five years of menopause (though the decline slows considerably after that). Consider skin care for wrinkles, which includes topical retinoids — prescription-strength lotions, gels, or creams derived from vitamin A — because they can stimulate collagen in the skin and improve smoothness. He also notes that wrinkles are the result of fat loss in the face brought on by aging, so fat transfers or fillers like Juvéderm, Restylane, and Perlane may help counteract any sagginess. And resurfacing lasers can improve skin texture, stimulate collagen, and reduce fine lines.
2. Apply Lemon Juice
Apply lemon juice to your face twice each day. Lemon juice works as a natural astringent to tone skin and reduce wrinkles. Leave lemon juice on your face for about 10 minutes before rinsing off. Olive oil is another option, particularly for diminishing the appearance of laugh lines and crow's feet. The Vitamin E in olive oil is a powerful antioxidant that works to fade age spots.
3. Apply Milk to your Skin
Improve skin texture and tone by applying milk to your skin each night after washing or bathing. The lactic acid in milk helps get rid of dead skin cells and stimulates collagen production. Soak a clean, cotton cloth in milk and then place on the skin in problem areas.
4. Apply Coconut Milk
Squeeze the milk out of grated, raw coconut. Put on your face for a rejuvenating, glowing effect.
5. Add Avocado to your Diet or use as a Mask
Add avocados to your diet, or apply the pulp directly to your face. Avocado is a common home remedy for wrinkles that gives skin more elasticity by replenishing moisture. The fats in the oil work to smooth and plump the skin. Another anti-aging treatment option is to puree the flesh of the fruit and use it as a facial mask. Leave the mask on for 10 minutes before rinsing off.
6. Apply Honey Mask to your Skin
Mix ½ tbsp. honey with 2 tbsp. rose water. Rub over your face and neck. Leave on for 20 minutes before rinsing off with tepid water. The honey works to moisturize dry skin. Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, M.D., F.A.A.D., a dermatologist and member of the American Academy of Dermatology, advises that if you suffer from exceptionally dry skin, you should cleanse your face only at night to keep from stripping it of its natural oils. Rinse your face in the morning with cool water.
7. Sun Damage Protection
Although wrinkles have a genetic component, sun exposure is perhaps the biggest contributor to this unwanted skin damage. According to the North American Menopause Society, aging skin is even more vulnerable to the harmful effects of the sun. Therefore, one of the most important skin care tools is sunscreen. Note that it is important to use the sunscreen with the higher protection grade, apply a moisturizer with a sunscreen on daily basis, and do not forget to switch to a waterproof sunscreen while going swimming.
8. Quit Smoking
If you have not quit smoking yet after you start reading this blog, here’s yet another reason to put down the cigarettes. Smoking can age skin prematurely, as the nicotine in cigarettes constricts blood vessels, causing blood flow impairment, reducing oxygen and nutrients supply to the skin. Many of the toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke also damage collagen and elastin in the skin, resulting in sagging and wrinkles.
9. Rehydrate Dry Skin
Dry skin is a common menopause symptom. Sun damage and the thinning of skin due to decreased hormone production contribute to this problem. Avoid drying deodorant soaps, and instead choose superfatted soaps like Dove or Cetaphil . Also skip long showers and soaks in hot water, both of which can dry out your skin. And be generous with moisturizer after bathing.
10. Apply Gentle Daily Massage
Massage your face gently each evening to increase blood flow to the area. Using both hands, start at the neck and massage upward to the forehead. This can make existing wrinkles appear less noticeable. Massage tightens muscles, which can give you a younger look.
11. Add Berries to your Diet
Blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, and raspberries are all loaded with antioxidants, which save cells from premature aging.
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