It is safe to say that every woman knows what menopause is. It is the natural process that signals the end of your menstrual cycle and leads to many hormonal changes. (Hello hot flashes!) But what about the delicate step that precedes it?
If you didn’t know, there is a transition period called perimenopause which can occur when a woman’s estrogen levels start to drop. According to Anna Cabeca, DO, OBGYN, FACOG and best-selling author of The Hormone Fix, perimenopause is the collection of symptomatic ups and downs that precede menopause. “It is a natural aging process and a decrease in our hormonal production. It can be exacerbated or precipitated by stress, birth control pills, [or] hormonal disruption.
Among other things – like insomnia, brain fog, and mood swings – the hormonal stage can also wreak havoc on your skin. Below, we’ve asked Cabeco and esthetician Amy L. Meier to share with us how perimenopause can affect the skin as well as the products they suggest using to combat symptoms.
How does perimenopause affect the skin?
In 25 years of facials and training other beauticians, Meier has met thousands of women. Most have no idea that perimenopause could be the cause of the extreme skin changes they start to experience in their early 30s. “Perimenopause is a fluctuation and changes in our hormone levels as we age,” Meier explains. “A lot of women don’t know it can start in their early to mid-30s. I wish someone had told me this and told me about everything that can happen! “
According to Cabeca, as our skin produces less collagen and becomes thinner, we can start to develop wrinkles. “Perimenopause really begins with the decline of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), which is one of our adrenal hormones associated with longevity, strong bones, breast health, memory / brain health, and integrity of our skin and collagen production. “
The hormonal imbalance that accompanies perimenopause also causes acne. “As a skin practitioner, [I] tendency to see rashes around the jawline and cleavage. They tend to be cystic and take longer to heal, ”Meier explains. She also says the healing process becomes more difficult as we age, which can include more scarring and post-inflammatory spots.
Skin care to use during the perimenopause phase
When it comes to cleansing and restoring skin during perimenopause, Meier first looks at ingredients before product lines. “Products that contain [vitamins] C and E, ferulic [acid]niacinamide [and] arbutin can all aid in post-inflammatory healing, ”she explains.
Meier also recommends using an antioxidant serum during the day and a pigment regulator at night to promote skin cell renewal. “If we think of our skin pigment cells as ‘little squids’, when they are over-stimulated, like an octopus or a squid, they ink when they are afraid. We want to give them sunglasses during the day (antioxidants) and a cooling pill. at night (pigment regulators). This will protect against further damage and help repair past damage. “
Of course, just as there are topical treatments that help the skin during menopause, there are also topical treatments that help with skin conditions associated with perimenopause. Below, you’ll find 11 of Meier’s favorite products that contain key ingredients to help heal the skin.
SkinCeuticals Retinol Refining Night Cream
Meier swears by nighttime retinol treatments because they speed up cell turnover. In other words, they help remove dead skin that can clog the pores. This makes room for new, healthier skin. Meier loves SkinCeuticals Retinol Refining Night Cream, and she’s not alone. The majority of reviews on Dermstore have given this product a five star rating.
Obagi Medical Facial Moisturizer
Meier also suggests using an overnight moisturizer from Obagi Medcial, the celebrity-beloved Japanese skincare brand. This Obagi Medical moisturizer is packed with skin loving ingredients like hydromanil, shea butter, and avocado, which lock in moisture so your skin won’t dry out overnight. On Amazon, it has nearly a perfect five-star average rating of over 2,000 reviews.
Garnier SkinActive Cleansing Micellar Water
When asked which cleanser is best for most perimenopausal skin types, Meier doesn’t hesitate. “I always recommend the micellar cleansing water, which is gentle on the skin, removes make-up and doubles as a tonic.” Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, one of Shop TODAY’s favorite affordable drugstore products, has a very impressive rating on Amazon from nearly 40,000 reviews.
Cliganic premium cotton rings
Of course, you can buy makeup remover wipes, but Meier prefers to buy a large bottle of micellar water and cotton pads to make his own. It’s easy and it’s much cheaper. Cliganic Premium Round Cottons are Amazon’s # 1 bestseller in cotton pads and rounds and an almost perfect five-star average rating on over 28,000 reviews.
TruSkin Vitamin C Facial Serum
For skin that’s already inflamed, Meier says to rely on vitamin C. It’s an antioxidant that helps get rid of unwanted extras like free radicals that can exacerbate inflammation. It is also helpful in increasing the production of collagen. This TruSkin Vitamin C Serum is Amazon’s # 1 bestseller in facial serums and has been tried and loved by Shop TODAY contributors.
RejuveNaturals 100% Pure & Natural Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E is another post-inflammatory ingredient recommended by Meier. Like vitamin C, it is a powerful antioxidant. However, it has a thicker consistency and is more effective at fighting signs of aging and sun damage.
“As we age, our skin doesn’t heal as easily and without scarring,” Meier notes. “This means there may be more post-inflammatory spots that can make it look worse than it actually is.” This particular vitamin E oil claims to be the most potent on Amazon. It works to hydrate the skin and reduce the appearance of scars.
Timeless Skin Care Serum 20% Vitamin C + E with ferulic acid
This product contains vitamins as well as another key ingredient that Meier uses to help heal damaged skin: ferulic acid. Another antioxidant, it acts as a catalyst that makes vitamin C and vitamin E work even harder and faster. In other words, the results are more visible.
Naturium Niacinamide Serum 12% Plus Zinc 2%
Vogue calls it the powerful new ingredient in skin care. Meier calls this a must. This is because niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, contributes to the appearance of large pores. It also helps create a stronger skin lipid barrier, so any moisturizers you apply get stuck and last longer. For maximum hydration, stock up on Naturium’s Niacinamide Serum, which also contains hyaluronic acid.
Naturium Alpha Arbutine Serum 2%
If your goal is to make sun spots disappear as quickly as possible, Meier recommends choosing a product that contains arbutin. Arbutin is an extract from the bearberry plant and can help lighten the skin. This Alpha Arbutin serum has a safe level of 2% arbutin (too much arbutin can be dangerous), and almost 70% of Amazon users gave it a perfect five-star rating.
Ambi Skincare Bleaching Cream
For many women, perimenopause and hyperpigmentation go hand in hand. Meier recommends Ambi Skincare Fade Cream, which can help reduce the appearance of discoloration. The formula also includes alpha hydroxy acids and vitamin E to help hydrate and rejuvenate the skin.
Image Skincare MD Repair Cream with Retinol
For effective retinol, Meier recommends Image Skincare ® Restoring Retinol Cream. It was actually formulated by a plastic surgeon, who understood the importance of using sustained release retinol to prevent fine lines and wrinkles. As a bonus, it also helps to even out skin tone.
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