Midlife can make you feel positively teenager-ish. There are the mood swings, body changes, the feeling you have nothing to wear, developing strange crushes/hatreds towards anything or anyone that crosses your path.
And then there’s skin. The hormonal upheaval that we experienced during puberty is mirrored in midlife, during the peri/menopause. We may notice our complexions becoming drier, more prone to breakouts and with more lines and wrinkles. It can go beyond this however, for some women, as midlife can give rise to skin conditions such as adult acne, rosacea and dermatitis.
If you think you may have one of these skin conditions, here’s an overview of each:
Acne is characterised by spots (of all kinds, from blackheads to raised spots and cysts) and redness. These are the kind of spots that we associate with teenagers, but acne is very common in women over 40, too. Most commonly found on the face and back.
The simple definition of rosacea is of skin redness, usually across the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin, sometimes with bumps and spots. It comes and goes to begin with, but can become more permanent, with an accompanying burning and stinging feeling. It can be aggravated by alcohol, spicy food, stress, hot temperatures and exercise.
This is basically inflammation of the skin and can appear in many guises. It is sometimes caused by the skin reacting to products and the skin’s barrier becoming compromised. Skin may feel sore and/or itchy and may be blistered, dry, thickened, cracked.
To find out more about why our skin changes so much in midlife, we spoke to Aesthetic Doctor Dr Sophie Shotter.
The science bit
“When we hit perimenopause, our skin goes through probably its biggest ‘ageing spurt’ as a woman,” explains Dr Shotter. “We lose around 30% of our collagen within the first 5 years of perimenopause. This means that the products you once used and which always worked well may no longer work as efficiently.
The big reason for this is that our fibroblasts (cells which produce collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid) need oestrogen to fuel them; they have receptors on their surface to which oestrogen binds, allowing them to work better. Without oestrogen binding to them, these cells become very sluggish and skin becomes thinner, duller and less hydrated.”
Skin conditions can occur even in people who’ve never had them before
“As your hormones lose their balance, it’s very common for skin conditions to be triggered. It’s important to get the right advice from a skin expert who understands hormones.”
“Every woman’s menopause journey is different. Hormones don’t always decline at the same rate as one another, and so the relatively higher level of one hormone and lower level of another can cause problems. Just as some women get intolerable hot flashes and others get bad anxiety for example, it’s the same with skin problems – everyone’s experience is different.”
What you can do to help your skin
“Hormone balancing will definitely help to bring some skin conditions under control. I would always recommend seeing an expert when hormones are involved. A few guidelines for acne: introduce some salicylic acid, but not too much as it can dry the skin out; keep moisturisers lightweight and non-comedogenic; avoid wearing heavy foundations. Another tip for acne: rule out it being Acne Rosacea, which needs different management.
For rosacea, pare back your regime and focus on gentle but effective ingredients like PHAs.”
Our Willowberry philosophy
At Willowberry we don’t claim to be able to cure serious skin conditions. What we do offer is nutritious natural skincare for grown-ups that protects the skin’s natural barrier function, with gentle, effective ingredients to nurture, hydrate, protect and care for skin. While we advise that you consult a doctor or dermatologist with any ongoing, worrying skin conditions, we pride ourselves on our skincare which meets the daily needs of midlife and beyond: nourishing, reviving and promoting healthy skin.
Willowberry is nutritious natural skincare for grown-ups, for your best skin.
A favourite with top make-up artists, Willowberry's luxurious award-winning products protect skin’s natural barrier function, to nourish and revive grown-up skin without telling women to be 'anti-ageing'.
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