Some of us may start to experience those dreaded hot flushes, while others put on weight (yes, the muffin top!), have a plummeting libido, suffer with headaches and migraines, or even acne or dry, itchy skin and thinning hair.
The menopause can leave many of us struggling as we try to get to grips with this new – and often tricky – chapter in life. Yet, while hormone replacement therapy is an answer for many, there are plenty of natural, organic remedies that you can try first.
If you are struggling with skin issues during menopause or peri-menopause, then here is our guide to fresher, softer, brighter skin – no hot flushes and no itching necessary! Of course, if you find yourself really suffering with your menopausal symptoms (particularly if it is affecting your mood or overall wellbeing), then always chat things through with your GP first.
How Soy Products help with menopausal symptoms
During the menopause, our ovaries stop making the female hormone, oestrogen. This means that our body’s levels of oestrogen often drop, leaving us with all of those typical signs of menopause – hot flushes, sleep disturbances, mood swings, migraines and the absence of periods. Less oestrogen can also lead to thinning, sagging or wrinkling skin.
While we cannot eat oestrogen itself, there are plant-based phytoestrogens which mimic oestrogen in the body. Because of this, some researchers believe that eating plenty of these phytoestrogens – found in foods such as flax and soy-based products, including tofu, tempeh and edamame beans – can help to ease certain symptoms, including hot flushes. These foods also contain high levels of protein, which helps to feed healthy hormones and improve elasticity and tone of muscles, while tofu is rich in skin-loving vitamin E and calcium.
Want to give it a go? Experts say to aim for around 50 mg of isoflavones – that’s roughly 85g of tempeh or a half cup of miso – a day can help menopausal women reduce their symptoms.
How to treat Dry Skin during the menopause
Along with everything else, you may start to experience dry skin when you reach your menopausal years. In particular, the hormonal rollercoaster can give some of us tight, itchy and dry skin, but this can also be triggered by nutrient and vitamin deficiencies.
First things first, be kind to yourself and treat skin with some TLC. Wherever you can, use natural, gentle products which won’t strip the skin of their natural oils – think extra nourishing serums and night creams that are formulated for sensitive, mature skins (fragrance-free formulas are also ideal), as well as intensive face masks and extra gentle exfoliators which can help to slough off dead skin. It’s also a good idea to invest in a creamy cleanser to wash the skin, instead of a foam or gel cleanser. Facial spritzers or moisturisers applied throughout the day, whenever our skin is craving a top-up, can also work wonders.
A collagen supplement can help to plump up the skin and give that smooth, baby soft face we all desperately crave. Our collagen levels start to drop naturally as we age, but collagen loss is at its most rapid in the early years of menopause. Our award-winning Collagen Shots can help to reawaken your skin, giving you back that youthful, radiant glow. It can also work to plump up the face and ease fine lines and wrinkles.
It’s also worth taking an omega-3 supplement because these wondrous fatty acids play a crucial role in skin health. They can help to reduce inflammation, as well as nourish from the outside, in. Some even believe that they can protect the face from damage from the sun. Our Aliol supplement is vegan-friendly (it comes from the algae that oily fish feed on) and contains plenty of DHA and EPA essential fatty acids to nourish the skin.
Don’t forget that SPF is important
As we age, it’s still crucial that we protect our skin from the sun’s rays because the skin often has less natural protection than when we were younger. Try to use a good quality facial SPF (ideally 50) every day. This will also help to prevent those dreaded age spots!
Eat the Rainbow to reduce menopausal symptoms
As we start to age and our collagen levels start to drop, our skin is often the first to suffer – many of us will lose that glow and will suffer with duller, less vibrant skin. By eating foods with plenty of antioxidants (think a rainbow of fruit and veg – the more colour, the better!) our skin will be nourished from the inside, out.
Foods that are especially good for healthy, happy hormones include lean protein (think fish and chicken, or pulses) and ‘good’ fats, such as avocado, flax or almonds. These foods are the building blocks of flourishing hormones!
What to Avoid…
Unfortunately, there are also plenty of foods and drinks to avoid when we are experiencing menopause! Certain meals – think spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol and high fat (by this, we mean processed fats) and high sugar foods – can send our body temperature soaring, which can trigger hot flashes. These foods are also often inflammatory, which can worsen hormonal symptoms.
Some studies have suggested that the Mediterranean diet is a good choice for the menopausal years, so this may be something to try. The Med diet is full of fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, as well as plenty of fish, nuts and olive oil.
Unfortunately, the menopause can be a stressful time, which can cause our skin to be drier, more sensitive or even spotty. To help reduce stress – and boost sleep! – try soothing yoga, meditation, or even gentle exercise, such as swimming.