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Embracing change - menopause and your skin

World Menopause Day is on 18th October 2021, and with that in mind we’re devoting today’s post to a discussion of the effects the menopause can have on your skin. The menopause isn’t exactly something any of us can get excited about, but as we’re stuck with it, the best thing we can do to prepare ourselves is to be as informed as possible. 

The good news is that there are things you can do to mitigate its unwelcome effects, and we’d love you to get to the end of this article feeling a sense of hope. But before we look at the specific skin issues and how to tackle them, let’s start with a look at why the menopause affects your skin.

Oestrogen levels and collagen loss: a brief look at the science behind menopausal skin changes

Collagen is the most common protein in your skin, but from your mid-twenties it starts to deplete in your body. By the time we reach 40, our collagen levels are down by 30% - and the decline gets faster for women during and after the menopause. Women typically lose 30% of collagen in the first five years of menopause.

This collagen loss is due to the hormonal changes we experience during the menopause, and in particular the reduction in oestrogen levels. Lower oestrogen levels mean a reduction in Type I (skin strength) and Type III (skin elasticity) collagen, as well as changes in the ratio of Type III to Type I collagen. So what does this mean for your skin? 

Well, according to 2007 research by Stevenson and Thornton, low oestrogen levels mean a decrease in the thickness of your skin and a reduction in its collagen content, including its production, levels and quality. Not only that, but because oestrogen helps to protect your skin from sun damage, a decrease in it makes your skin more vulnerable to the harmful rays of the sun - which also makes your skin age faster.

That thinning of the dermis spells other problems for your skin, too. The result of your skin’s elastic fibres gradually unravelling, the thickness of your skin decreases by an average of around 6.4% per decade. This rate is worse for women, and most pronounced on your face, neck and upper chest. As your skin gets thinner, and levels of moisturising hyaluronic acid decline, it becomes increasingly difficult for your skin to retain water, which is a key component of your skin’s elasticity and resistance to trauma. Without water, your skin becomes dry and dull, losing its youthful vitality and making you appear older than you feel.

The effects of menopausal collagen loss on your skin

You won’t be surprised to learn that there’s more to menopause-related skin changes than we’ve outlined here, but rather than blinding you with the science, let’s now move on to looking at what these changes mean for you in practice (don’t worry, we’ll come onto what you can do about them shortly!). Five of the main skin changes you’re likely to experience are:

1. Fine lines and wrinkles

As the collagen, elastin and fat in your skin decrease, you’ll start to notice the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Unfortunately, these are most pronounced in the thinner skin of your face, neck and upper chest.

2. Sagging skin

Lower collagen and elastin levels also mean the loss of that youthful springiness and plumpness to your skin, which in turn can cause sagging skin. Again, this is most noticeable in the thinner skin on your face, neck and upper chest.

3. Dry or itchy skin

With a lower moisture content due to that inability to retain water we mentioned earlier, you can start to suffer from dry and itchy skin.

4. Slower wound healing

Another result of declining collagen levels is that wounds can be slower to heal. That doesn’t just mean surface wounds such as those caused by injury or surgery; it also means any kind of skin damage, including acne.

5. Cellulite

As oestrogen production declines, another effect is that your blood flow lowers and there’s less oxygen in your skin. Not only that, but fat cells increase in size so that they’re more visible - and that combines with thin, sagging skin to produce the tell-tale dimpled appearance of cellulite.

Getting your skin through the menopause

The menopause may be unavoidable, but the good news is that its effects on your skin can be lessened. With our advanced collagen supplementation and skincare products, we’re here to support you and your skin every step of the way.

The first step is to do something about that loss of collagen by taking daily collagen supplements. These replace what’s been lost, boosting your collagen levels and tricking your brain into producing even more of its own. With all this extra collagen available to support skin renewal, the results are impressive: in clinical trials, our Bioactive Collagen Peptide® VERISOL B® brought about a 15% increase in skin elasticity after 4 weeks of 2500mg or 5000mg doses, and a 20% ​​reduction in wrinkle volume after eight weeks of 2500mg doses.

Sound good? If you’re fed up of fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin, you can enjoy these fantastic benefits by taking our tasty Complete Collagen sachets for an 8000mg daily dose or Pure Collagen capsules supplements for 2500mg. Complete Collagen also contains an array of vitamins and minerals that support good health through the menopause, including 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, which helps support collagen formation. Not only that, but these collagen supplements will also help speed up wound healing, as well as strengthening your hair and nails.

Alongside working on your skin from the inside out, we also have a number of advanced collagen skincare products to help support menopausal skin. If you’re suffering from the dry, itchy skin that often comes with the menopause, treat your skin to our moisturising facial gel and intense hydration night cream, both of which contain plant collagen, hyaluronic acid and other nutrients to nourish your skin. When you’re out and about, using our Intense Protection Day Moisturiser SPF50+ will help provide the sun protection left depleted by declining oestrogen levels. 

Finally, if you’re trying to banish cellulite, have a read of our advice on the best collagen drinks for cellulite. If you’d like even more guidance on the right products for you, refer to our quick guide and discover your own personalised beauty and wellness routine to help your skin through the menopause. With these products by your side, this challenging time of your life is sure to be a little easier.