Caroline - My perimenopausal skin story

Dry, dull and irritated with the random breakouts thrown in – as if dealing with mood swings and hot flashes weren’t bad enough our skin can really start to suffer around menopause.  In this week’s BLOG our co-founder Caroline talks about her perimenopausal skin struggles and how they sparked the inspiration for Living M and our skincare philosophy.

Living M blog My perimenopausal skin story Caroline Breen

To say I wasn’t prepared for perimenopause when it hit me is an understatement.

As if dealing with disturbed sleep, mood swings, worsening PMS and horrendous migraines wasn’t enough, my skin really decided to play up.  The most upsetting thing for me was the dryness and the dullness - my skin literally seemed to lose its glow over-night.  I felt and looked exhausted.

All my go-to skincare favourites had started to sting and irritate my skin. I never had sensitive skin before perimenopause and fortunately never had suffered from spots since my teenage years, but I also had started getting random breakouts and redness. My skin was confused to say the least.  

I remember going into my favourite retailer and spending an absolute fortune I really couldn’t afford on products out of sheer desperation. None of them worked and quite a few of them made my skin really irritated. I couldn’t find anything that worked for my skin. These skin changes are unique and often conflicting – dry and dull on the one hand but breaking out in random spots on the other.  It was tricky to know how to treat one skin concern without aggravating another.

I also found all of the products targeted at my age group really depressing. Skincare was all about “anti-ageing”, “turning back time”, “regaining my lost youth”.  Eughhh- I actually didn’t and still don’t want to do any of that.  I turn 50 this year and I’m really enjoying this life stage – I have no desire to be a 20 something again and I don’t notice many of my friends sitting around mourning their lost youth either.  Plus all the beauty marketing images were of grey haired ladies – don’t get me wrong I love grey hair it’s just none of my late 40/early 50 something friends actually have it – why were no brands representing us?

On a lockdown zoom catch up with my one of my best friends Siobhan (and now luckily my business partner) I ended up telling her all about my perimenopausal and skincare dramas and all the money I had spent.  We are both skincare obsessed, and it was so interesting to find she was experiencing similar skin issues to me but hadn’t linked them to her changing hormones.

So, we decided to just go for it and create our own skincare line for ourselves and other women like us.

It was so important for us to create something specifically for menopausal skin and to move away from the “anti-ageing” messaging.  What is wrong with getting older?  It’s a privilege – we’re happy getting older we just want our skin to look and be as healthy as it can be. 

We started researching what happens to our skin in menopause and discovered the hormonal fluctuations we experience in menopause actually have a greater impact on our skin than simply ageing.  As oestrogen and progestetrone decline, collagen levels decline and this has a dramatic effect on our skinWe wanted to create a range with these hormonal changes in mind.

Living M – Our Skincare Philosophy

1. A Simplified (But not Simple) Skincare Routine.

From the very beginning we wanted to create a simplified skincare regime that won’t overload your skin using multi-benefit products containing the very best active ingredients to target the effects of hormonal skin changes.  It can be really tempting when you see changes in your skin to try all the latest products and layer lots of different ingredients like I did adding more steps in your skincare regime.  I know from personal experience this is not the best approach in menopause.  Using lots of different products can overload your skin, causing more problems than it solves.  As your hormones change, your skin becomes much weaker and prone to sensitivity, so simplifying your routine is a must.    

2. We Avoid Irritating Skincare Ingredients.

We don’t use any filler ingredients and avoid all known irritants like fragrance, essential oils and drying alcohol.  Because your skin is more prone to sensitivity and dryness as you approach menopause, it’s important to avoid anything that is likely to irritate skin and make it even drier – exactly what you are trying to avoid.  Changing hormone levels cause our skin barrier to weaken, so products that you have been happily using for years can suddenly start to aggravate your skin. Living M Skincare has been formulated without any ingredients that are known to irritate skin such fragrance, essential oils, drying alcohols, and sulphates.  These ingredients are in many skincare products, but they should be avoided in menopause.

3. All our products are multi-benefit for maximum results

Multi-benefit products are designed to target multiple skin concerns at the same time saving you time and money. This is so important to us.  It’s also better for the environment – using less product is more sustainable and means less waste.  Multi-tasking skincare products are ideal for menopausal skin which can have many and often contradictory needs.  Skin can be super dry but breaking out at the same time, flushing and sensitive but in need of powerful actives to combat the effects of accelerated collagen loss.  We have developed products specifically to target the hormonal skin changes caused by the menopause. So Collagen Boost Moisturiser increases collagen production, restores lost hydration, boosts glow and deeply nourishes.  Our Quench and Soothe Serum tackles hormonal breakouts, boosts glow, soothes irritation and intensely hydrates.  Super A Retinol Sleep Cream delivers all the transformative effects of retinol as well as strengthening your skin barrier.  

4. We use the right active ingredients at the right levels.

In menopause you need clinically proven active ingredients that will make a real difference to skin but not cause irritation.  There has been a trend in recent years for high strength single ingredient products.  The truth is you DON’T need to use super high strength percentages to get the best results.  In fact, in menopause, it can be irritating to skin to use super strong actives.  Living M skincare has been developed with the right actives carefully balanced to complement one another at optimum levels for menopausal skin.  So you can be confident you are getting the right level of hyaluronic acid, retinol, niacinamide and peptides to make a real difference to skin in the best possible combination without risking irritation.

Our simplified menopausal skincare routine for maximum results - The Menopause Skin Solution Set targets the visual signs of oestrogen and collagen loss.  Featuring an expertly blended trio of must-have products in an easy to use 3 step routine for morning and night. These three multi-benefit products give your skin everything it needs to save you time and money.