Many women find the time around menopause to be stressful. Our hormones are in flux and this often coincides with a time of life that can especially pressured. Throw Christmas and all it entails into the mix and it isn’t surprising a lot of us can start to feel overwhelmed.
When we are under stress our skin is often one of the first places to suffer. So, what is the link between stress and menopause, how does it impact skin and what can we do to help ourselves?
Changes in hormone levels can impact our mental as well as our physical wellbeing and increased anxiety and stress are common symptoms of the perimenopause. Declining levels of oestrogen and progesterone can lead to mood changes, anxiety, low self-esteem, and sleep problems all of which can leave us feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope. Stress levels often rise during perimenopause when our hormones can fluctuate wildly.
It can happen earlier or later, but the majority of women will enter perimenopause in their mid-40s. The perimenopause refers to the year’s leading up to your last menstrual period (at this point you are officially in menopause). This phase lasts on average 4 years but it can last up to 10. During this time, women have a lot on their plates both physically and emotionally - dealing with ageing parents, teenagers, relationships, work pressures - life can be challenging. Throw in a dose of menopause and stress levels can rocket.
CHRISTMAS – THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR? OR THE MOST STRESSFUL
Christmas is an especially busy time for mid-life women. With all the organising, present buying and socialising the festive season brings it isn’t surprising that many women report it to be one of the most stressful times of the year. It can also be a time when our healthy eating and drinking habits can go out of the window. Drinking more alcohol, sleeping less and eating festive food pies can trigger menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and make symptoms like low mood, hot flashes, anxiety and poor sleep worse.
HOW DOES STRESS IMPACT SKIN?
Stress and anxiety can manifest physically on your skin and have a profound effect on your complexion. When stress becomes chronic, our cortisol levels increase significantly. This can accelerate the collagen loss we already experience in menopause – leading to loss of elasticity and radiance. Increased cortisol can also worsen acne breakouts by increasing sebum production so the hormonal breakouts we are prone to in menopause can get much worse. Stress also causes us to release adrenalin as we enter fight or flight mode. This can activate inflammatory markers and cause increased skin sensitivity, redness, inflammation and make conditions like rosacea and eczema worse. Tell tale signs of stress on skin include;
- Increased dryness
- Itchy skin
- Bags under eyes
- Loss of radiance
- Feeling of tightness
WHAT CAN HELP STRESSED SKIN?
What is going on with your skin is symptomatic of your overall wellbeing and mental health so it’s important to pay attention and take action. Look for ways to minimise stress – easier said than done we know! Taking regular exercise, eating a healthy balanced diet and making sure you are properly hydrated can all help control stress levels. Easier said than done during the festive season but making sure you are taking time to exercise, drinking enough water and taking time to relax is so important to control stress levels.
When it comes to taking care of your skin, look for a balance of nurturing good for you ingredients and scientifically proven actives that will tackle your skin concerns without risking further sensitivity. Living M skincare has been especially formulated for the hormonal skin changes caused by menopause and perimenopause.
SIMPLIFY YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE
For stressed out perimenopausal and menopausal skin, simplifying your routine is a must. Scale it back to avoid irritation and focus on multi-benefit products that will give your skin everything it needs. Using lots of different products is not what your skin needs and can be a recipe for increased dryness, inflammation and breakouts. Living M is a highly effective skincare system specifically designed for the unique needs of perimenopausal and menopausal skin.
AVOID KNOWN IRRITANTS AND LOOK TO SOOTHE STRESSED OUT SKIN
As stressed-out skin is more prone to inflammation it’s important to avoid anything that is likely to irritate 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 are best avoided in menopause. Look for ingredients that will soothe, hydrate and calm – Living M Quench & Soothe Serum is ideal for overwhelmed perimenopausal skin.
PROTECT YOUR COLLAGEN
Protect against collagen loss with scientifically proven ingredients that will actively stimulate collagen production in your skin. Signal peptides are an intelligent skincare ingredient that send messages to your skin to produce more collagen. Use a great antioxidant that will give protection to your skin and restore that much needed glow and luminosity. Living M Collagen Boost Moisturiser is a multi-benefit moisturiser formulated with signal peptides, nourishing natural butters and resveratrol. Found in the skin of red grapes, resveratrol is a super effective anti-oxidant that also acts as a phytoestrogen to mimic the effects of oestrogen on the skin. Use daily and nightly for plumper, glowing, firmer skin.
GET YOUR GLOW BACK WITH REJUVENATING RETINOL
Retinol is the gold standard skincare ingredient for getting your glow back and ageing well. A well formulated retinol is a must in menopause to rejuvenate and revive tired looking skin. If your skin is stressed you need the right retinol formulation to get the results and glowy look you want without the irritation that retinol can sometimes cause. Living M Super A Retinol Sleep Cream combines the transformative effects of 0.5% encapsulated time-released retinol with an ultra-nourishing blend of skin strengthening ceramides and hyaluronic acid to work with your nightly regenerative cycle to renew and nourish skin.
Control breakouts with ingredients like niacinamide that has a whole host of benefits for menopausal skin. A true multi-tasking superstar, it acts to brighten skin tone, boost radiance, and strengthen a weakened skin barrier. It can help prevent hormonal breakouts when used regularly over time. It’s such an effective ingredient we have used niacinamide in both Collagen Boost Moisturiser and Quench & Soothe Serum.
Your skin really does reflect what is going on in your body and mind. The menopause can take its toll on our physical and mental health and this time of year can be particularly busy and stressful for many of us. If you are seeing any of the tell-tale signs of stress on your skin, take action by making changes in your skincare routine and your lifestyle. Stress can’t always be avoided we know, but there are things we can implement to reduce its impact on our wellbeing and our skin. Shop the Living M skincare range here