No7 carried out consumer research with women going through perimenopause to discover the main skin concerns during this transitional time. We discovered that a lack of radiance, dryness, sensitivity, redness, lack of firmness, and lines and wrinkles were the most common.
Dr Eleanor Bradley, Science Credentialing Manager at No7 Beauty Company shares her expert advice to explain how menopause affects the skin, and how to improve the complexion with the right skincare ingredients and regime.
Q1: What does perimenopause do to your skin?
Perimenopause is a time of hormonal fluctuation and a time when estrogen levels start to decline, impacting the skin in several ways. As estrogen levels drop, collagen levels start to decline more quickly, and the skin can start to feel less firm. This decline in collagen can also contribute to wrinkles that appear deeper, and a duller complexion (as collagen impacts how light interacts with the skin).
However, the biggest changes during this period of hormonal change will arguably be to the top layers of the skin; impacting skin’s resilience and how healthy the skin looks and feels. We know declining estrogen levels impact the skin barrier – for example, with a reduction in ceramides (lipids) that play a role in creating a strong, protective skin barrier, for supple and nourished skin.
Q2: Does menopause age your face?
Estrogen levels decline during the menopause transition, impacting how the skin ages. Estrogen plays a role in many skin processes, including collagen production, skin turnover and ceramide (lipid) production. Our new published research has also shown that the living skin layers become thinner, with the skin barrier becoming less ceramide-rich and less elastic too.
It’s also important to remember that long-term sun exposure is still the main cause of accelerated skin aging, so wearing an SPF daily as part of your regime is still as essential post-menopause as it was before.
Q3: How can I tighten my skin after menopause?
After menopause, collagen levels decline more quickly than they did before (although collagen levels do not drop of a cliff like it is sometimes claimed!). Collagen is the main structural protein in the skin that gives the skin its strength, meaning the face and neck can start to feel less firm and sag more.
Products formulated with ingredients like collagen peptides and soy isoflavones, help to support skin’s natural collagen production and therefore help make the skin feel firmer. Also look out for products that are proven to make the skin feel and look firmer on the packaging.
Q4: How can I improve my skin elasticity after menopause?
Skin becomes less elastic during the menopause transition, and our recent research with the University of Manchester in the UK has shown that these changes are linked to changes on the skin surface. This is in addition to elasticity changes that happen deeper down in the skin due to sun exposure and aging; due to a loss of fibrillin elastic springs.
To help improve elasticity of the skin surface it’s important to hydrate and nourish the surface layers of the skin with ingredients such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. To help improve deeper down elasticity, opt for ingredients such as peptides that can support fibrillin springs in the skin.
Q5:What skincare is best for menopausal skin?
For menopausal skin, I recommend using skincare products that focus on both skin health as well as aging. The menopause transition is a time when age-related concerns such as lines and wrinkles, uneven pigmentation and a lack of firmness are emphasized. Alongside this, healthy skin concerns such as a lack of radiance, sensitivity and dryness are also frequently experienced.
There are now more skincare products on the market that have been specifically formulated for menopausal skin to help target these skin concerns, so these would be ideal products to try.
Q6: How can I improve my skin during menopause?
It’s important to support your skin’s barrier to help its resilience, and replenish and nourish the skin, while supporting natural collagen levels.
Ingredients such as ceramides, niacinamide and Japanese lily turf are great for replenishing and supporting the skin barrier. Ceramides can help replace lost lipids in the skin, and niacinamide is a great all-round ingredient known to support the skin’s moisture barrier, and even out the skin tone.
Japanese lily turf can also boost natural moisturising factors, helping to lock moisture in the skin, while ingredients like soy isoflavones and collagen peptides can help support skin’s collagen.
In terms of a regime, I would recommend using a gentle cleanser that won’t damage the skin barrier, then using a menopause serum that helps to target dullness as well as other menopausal skin concerns you have. Then follow with a hydrating SPF menopause day cream every morning, and a nourishing night cream in the evening to help support the skin barrier and moisturise the skin.