There comes a time in every woman’s life, when she faces the challenge of ageing, of growing older – with all its aspects: physical, mental and emotional.

Menopause - that's the pemanent end to menstruation, that occurs after a woman has no period for a year.

The time of transition from fertility to another phase of life, facing up to the fact that you can’t any longer get pregnant and give birth, and that your body – and your skin appearance – change.

It’s a very individual process that differs from woman to woman.

What’s going on in your body?

You feel the transition from one well known stage in life to another, a completely unknown one. And even though you have gained a lot of life experience, it can be scary to be on shaky ground, feeling as if you’re losing control over your body, your mind and your emotions.

It’s all because of your hormonal production. Mostly you are affected by the falling estrogen levels in your body. Estrogen is called “the woman’s hormone”, even though both men and women have it.

For some women it’s a true relief to stop menstruating. For others it’s more complicated. Statistically, on an average the menopause is about to happen when you turn 51. But getting into this period of life doesn’t occur overnight. It’s a longer process, called perimenopause that starts around 40-45, sometimes even earlier, when the main hormone, estrogen, starts diving down.

How do lower estrogen levels show on skin?

Let’s take a look at what’s happening on the “skin level”.

Estrogen is responsible for women’s younger appearance and “femininity”.

Estrogen keeps the fibroblasts in your skin active, and the production of collagen and elastin high.

Less estrogen means:

- less active fibroblasts and less production of collagen and elastin - the two most important proteins, that keep our skin matrix intact. Less of these proteins means that the skin struggles to repair the damaged skin cells.

- slower renewal of the keratinocytes in epidermis (the outer skin layer), slower migration to the skin surface, which leads to thinner skin.

- less sebum production in the skin makes the skin barrier more vulnerable to outside influences.

- skin barrier has an impaired ability to retain vital moisture in the skin. It’s the water - the moisture in the skin - that makes it reflects the light and appear younger. Dehydrated skin looks grey and unhappy, with visible wrinkles and imperfections.

- the number of melanocytes - the cells responsible for the pigment in your skin - is getting lower and this worsen the skin’s ability to protect you from the UV sun rays. Damage from the sun occurs more easily, so extra protection is needed. Unregulated melanocytes can negatively affect the pigment production and lead to hyperpigmentation.

- the fat deposits in the skin are redistributed and the thinnest skin in the face - usually around the lower part of the face, the jawline and the décolletage - is getting saggy.

The same happens in the body skin too.

- less estrogen can make testosterone - “the man’s hormone” – increase, and higher levels lead to oily skin, enlarged pores and in some cases to grown-up acne.

Sounds quite desperate, doesn’t it?

Mental, emotional and physical transitions

Emotional highs, followed by unexpected lows, losing one’s temper, high sensitivity, impatience, poor concentration, bursting into tears for no reason, moody and depressive conditions. The list of emotional tides is long and sometimes it doesn’t make sense analyzing it.

There is a hormonal dance, though I’d rather call it a storm, going on in your body and your brain is in menopause mode.

The estrogen production in the ovaries is depleted and although they’re keeping up maintaining it, the brain hormonal receptors register the changes in this biochemical chain, thus affecting other chemicals in the brain - the mood regulators, plus serotonin and endorphin hormones.

Other common symptoms during this phase of life are hot flashes and night sweats. Low estrogen levels, registered by the hypothalamus in the brain, (where the body temperature is regulated), are the cause. Night sweats disturb the night sleep, which is essential for skin regeneration and the regeneration of all the human organs.

Since we have receptors for both estrogen and progesterone in our whole body, the decline in their production is registered in all “body systems” – bones, digestion, cardio-vascular system, etc.

I’m so fascinated by this chemical life-shaping connection in our body and brain, and by the possibilities to influence it. For instance, eating certain hormone-loving foods and supplements can reduce the unpleasant symptoms. This is very individual. What worked for your sister might not work for you, so listening to your body and trying out by yourself is the best you can do.

The hormonal dance in the menopaused body can also be controlled to some extend by relaxation activities, meditation, breathing, yoga and ensuring sufficient sleep. It is important to distinguish the challenges created in this transitional stage of a woman’s life from the real problems that may occur in life, in order to navigate through it easily. Understanding and support from one’s partner and family, and honest discussions about this subject are necessary for most of women during the menopause. A feeling of losing control over one’s body and reinventing oneself in a completely new lifestyle can be quite overwhelming and energy-sapping.

Back to your skin’s multiple demands – and can they be covered just by skincare?

What is happening deep in the skin, what are its demands and how it appears on the skin surface?

Repair challenges

The skin is struggling to repair itself due to lower levels of collagen and elastin. Topically applied collagen will not really be of any help for this protein synthesys, but will only partially moisturize the skin. The best support is taking collagen supplements or eating bone broth, so you can provide this protein from within. Collagen supplement should be combined with vitamin C for better body absorbtion. Topical support, such as creams, balms and oils, high in oleic acids, is great for keeping the skin barrier intact and preventing TEWL (moisture evaporation).

Look for a cream with healthy ageing supporting ingredients, such as Q10, vit.A, vit.C, niacinamide and high-end oils and butters, such as cocoa, Amazonian butters, pomegranate, rice bran, marula, maracuja, sea buckthorn, carrot, rosehip, green coffee and peptides.

THE VELVET CREAM is the perfect choice here. I designed it with the healthy ageing woman in mind and with the wish to allow women like me go through this challenging period in life with glowing and radiant skin. Check out this Age Defying Radiance Butter Cream with youth-preserving amber extract. The cream is high in oleic acids and is the perfect protector of the skin barrier.

A lighter, but still a wonderful protective solution, is THE ROSE SERUM, rich in squalene and regenerating rose oil.

Pigmentation challenges

To combat hyperpigmentation a proper and regular exfoliation is needed. The challenge here is to maintain balance between helping the skin get rid of dead skincells, without overexfoliating it, because the skin is getting thinner during the menopause. Soft and gentle exfoliant, rich in enzymes will be a good choice. The TOURMALINE EXFOLIATOR has got you covered here! It uses enzymes from honey and pineapple to loosen the dead skin cells and ultra-soft cupuacu tree seeds, and to remove them gently from the surface of your skin. I’ve also added the beauty mineral MSM, contributing to clear and bright skin tone and antioxidant rich raw cocoa.

Protection challenges

As the number of the skin pigment cells – melanocytes – decreases, an extra protection from UV rays is necessary to avoid skin damages and hyperpigmentation. Avoiding exposing your face skin to direct sun is the best, but a healthy balance is needed here. The vit. D protects the skin from sun damages and deplete with ageing. You need the sun for synthesizing D vitamin via the skin, but too much sun will damage it. Wearing a UV factor reduces vit.D synthesis, but at the same time protects.

So what should we do?

My best advice is – DO always protect your face skin against the sun, but make sure to get 15-30 min. unprotected (arms and legs) sun exposure daily, avoiding the sun between 11-16. Geographic location and pollution are also factors on which depend your D vit. synthesis and thus further skin protection – from within and topically.

Testosterone challenges

While the estrogen is going down, the testosterone may increase, which leads to more sebum production, enlarged pores, breakouts or even adult acne. In case of that condition, a careful approach is needed. Regular cleansing of the skin with gentle non-striping the lipid barrier product is recommendable. THE FOAM is a great option, combined with the TOURMALINE EXFOLIATOR, THE ROSE and the THE Ag SERUM, containing pure silver to combat inflammation.

Hot flashes challenges

Experiencing hot flashes can lead to excess redness and warmth in the skin – most vulnerable are the cheeks as well as the neck and the décolleté skin. The excess heat in the skin can wreak havoc in the tiny blood vessels. This results in broken capillaries, that due to thinner skin can become visible. Gradual relocation of the fat deposits leads to saggy skin, especially around the jawline and the eyelids. Thank goodness for ingredients such as Renovage, proven to help against redness, saggy skin, enlarged pores, wrinkles and other imperfections occurring with ageing. You can find it in L’AZUL skin refining serum, wonderful on its own or in combination with other favourite products.

How to support the skin from within?

Your skin, body and mind are challenged enough, don’t you agree? So despite the topical support, it is necessary to get some hormone-loving nutrients and liquids for inner balance and support.

Supplements, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and marine collagen are absolutely a must. Get creative and use them in smoothies, smoothie bowls, shakes, snacks etc., adding seeds and nuts to them. And include Omega 3, coconut butter and extra virgin Olive oil as well to lubricate the skin from whithin.

Eat your water!

What I mean is drink plenty of water and eat plenty of water-rich fruits and veggies, such as peaches, cherries, strawberries (and other berries), oranges, plums, lemons, cucumbers, tomatoes and squashes. These can keep the moisture in the skin for longer.

Remember that moisturized skin reflects the light better and looks younger.

And even though, I suppose, you wouldn’t wish to be in your uncertain 20’s now, you wouldn’t mind looking younger, with happy and radiant skin, toned body and an energetic mind for as long as possible!

I wouldn’t mind!