5 Skincare Ingredients to Avoid In Midlife

You might have noticed your skin becoming much more sensitive in midlife.  Maybe you've  never had sensitive skin before or if you have you might suddenly find it's becoming even more sensitive. It might surprise you to learn that there are certain ingredients that are used in a lot of skincare products that are known to cause irritation.  It pays to know what they are and why you need to avoid them in menopause.


5 Skincare Ingredients to Avoid In Midlife

You might have noticed your skin becoming more sensitive in midlife.  Many women who have never had sensitive skin before start to experience irritation for the first time around menopause and women who have always had sensitive skin find it can get a whole lot worse.  It might surprise you to learn that this can be triggered by certain ingredients that are used in a lot of skincare products.   It pays to know what these ingredients are as they can be a recipe for dryness and inflammation.

At Living M, we don’t use any filler ingredients and avoid all known skin irritants in our products. We only use the highest quality ingredients, focussing on proven actives that benefit skin health and condition. So, you can rest assured you are getting maximum results without the risk of irritation.

Why Does Skin Become More Sensitive In Midlife?

Even if you have never experienced skin sensitivity before chances are in midlife your skin will start to show signs of inflammation. Many women find that products they have been happily using for years with no issues can suddenly start to irritate. In menopause, it’s important to avoid harsh and irritating ingredients that can further weaken your skin barrier.

Fluctuating hormones in midlife can have a dramatic effect on the condition of our skin. In the first 5 years of menopause, 30% of collagen is lost due to declining levels of oestrogen. As a result, our skin barrier starts to weaken leaving skin prone to increased irritation and inflammation. The skin barrier is the outermost layer of the skin's surface. Often compared with a brick wall, it is a protective structure essential for healthy skin.  Essential nutrients like fatty acids, cholesterol and ceramides collectively called "skin's natural moisturising factor" help make up the skin barrier. The skin barrier essentially keeps the good stuff in and the bad stuff out, locking in moisture and protecting against environmental stressors. As the skin barrier weakens in menopause, external stressors can get into the skin causing irritation and redness. Lacking in natural moisturisers, menopausal skin becomes more sensitive, reactive and prone to irritation.

What Are The Skincare Ingredients to Avoid Around Menopause?

1. Fragrance

Fragrance is used in so many skincare products, but it has absolutely no benefit for the condition of your skin and is added to products simply to make them smell more appealing. It is, however, the number one cause of skin irritation in facial skincare. It can cause irritation in two different ways. Firstly, fragrance can trigger irritant contact dermatitis which is caused by fragrance irritating the outer layer of your skin. This can disrupt your skin barrier and cause inflammation. If your skin barrier is already weaker, as it is in menopause, the risk of sensitivity is even greater. 

Signs of skin barrier damage include dryness, redness, stinging and breakouts. The second way fragrance can affect your skin is allergic contact dermatitis in which your skin triggers and allergic immune response to fragrance – identifying it as a foreign body. This can cause dryness, redness and flaking making skin even drier than it already is due to collagen loss. In menopause choosing fragrance free products is a must.  

2. Essential Oils

We love the scent of an essential oil but they really have no place on your face. They have the potential to aggravate skin and it’s best to steer clear of them entirely from the neck up in menopause. Essential oils can be extracted from flowers, bark, sleaves, stem and roots. They add fragrance to products but the risk of irritation to skin is high, especially in menopause, when your skin barrier is weakened. Natural doesn’t mean better and most of the components in oils have the potential to cause damage and irritation when applied to the face. Stick to essential oils below the neck in menopause – it’s not worth the risk to your complexion. 

3. Drying Alcohol

Drying ethyl alcohol or “alcohol denat” is used in a lot of skincare products but it can be very problematic for skin. It dries out skin and causes inflammation by depleting vital substances needed for healthy skin. Drying alcohols can destroy your skin’s natural barrier and should be avoided in facial skincare. 
Not all alcohols are bad in skincare – fatty alcohols are great ingredients for dry skin – cetyl, stearyl and cetearyl are all skin-friendly. You need to avoid anything containing ethyl “alcohol” or “alcohol denat” – check the ingredients list of your products and if it contains drying alcohol don’t risk using it. 

4. Sulphates

All our products are sulphate-free. Sulphates are a frequent cause of irritation for those with sensitive skin as they are a major cause of contact dermatitis. They can also clog pores and cause acne. It’s best to avoid them entirely in midlife.

5. Silicones

Silicones are widely used in skincare, but they don’t contribute to the health and condition of your skin. Whilst they aren’t as irritating as fragrance or essential oils their benefit is purely superficial. They are added to products simply to make them feel better on application – that slippery feel you sometimes get from a moisturiser is the silicone at work.

At Living M, we are passionate about setting the highest standards for skincare specifically designed for hormonal skin changes experienced in menopause. What we left out of our formulations was just as important to us as what we included. Our range has been specifically created for hormonal skin changes in midlife with proven active ingredients that target the visual signs of oestrogen and collagen loss without the risk of irritation.

Our range is also vegan, cruelty free and proudly made in the UK.