Hot flashes are inner apocalypses, singeing the body and the brain. During my first volcanic night sweat, a chaotic force moved through me. Heat rose, busting through the top of the thermometer, and swept through my body like the special effect I’d once seen on the set of a horror movie. Flames spread through a wire and rose up encircling a cabin. It was horrible, but also exquisite. Finally, I thought, God was going to communicate with me physically. Like a biblical character, I felt overwhelmed, scared, and sublime.
I waited for a voice, a vision, but all I felt was sweaty; heat seemed to be radiating out of my stomach. My bangs stuck to my forehead. I worried. Maybe it wasn’t divinity but a sign I had late-stage brain cancer. Welcome to menopause.
A recent study in Current Biology found that older females lead their pods, particularly in times when salmon, their main food source, is scarce. The elder females hold crucial ecological knowledge, and all whales, even younger males, prefer to follow the older females. The study goes on to speculate that menopause developed in early human hunter-gatherer societies for the same reasons it did in killer-whale pods: Stopping reproduction gave women the freedom they needed — not to care for grandkids, but so they could lead.
For those who had the privilege of entering this special phase of life, you would know that the symptoms extend to the skin. While some may experience the onset of symptoms full on,
If you are unsure if your skin is morphing into what we call ‘menopausal skin’ , here are some signs to look out for and what you can do to combat them effectively.
One of the first signs of menopausal skin is adult acne due to the shift in the balance of estrogen and testosterone. In fact, menopause is associated with outbreaks on the chin and neck. Second childhood? We would like to think so. But that’s no reason for you to abandon all hope and succumb to the full and devastating impact of acneic skin.
Try: menopausal skin does not take well to drying anti-acne regimens as skin is already dry during these years. Try BBL Forever Clear for its gentle yet effective skin clearing benefits sans chemicals, and its added perks of clearing up marks. It uses broadband light to stop zits in its tracks while preventing new ones from forming!
Read More: 5 Things You Should Do When Acne Won’t Clear
Sagging skin and wrinkles
As if we didn’t have enough to worry about as we hit our 50s, menopause throws another spanner into the works. Another sign of menopausal skin? Sagging skin and wrinkles. Oestrogens stimulate fat deposits over the female body. However, those estrogen levels drop during menopause, resulting in a loss of supportive fat below the skin of the face, neck, hands, and arms. This kickstarts a whole process of loss of support, sagging and wrinkling.
Try: Short of going under the knife and leaving your face to the mercy of a plastic surgeon, a wiser approach would be to use radiofrequency to coax your skin to a more supple and elastic state, aka Thermage. No matter what salons say about Thermage being the same as any run-of-the-mill RF device, the truth is that Thermage goes deeper and produces longer-lasting result in one session than any spa grade RF device, simply because the depth of the treatment area is deeper, so it is able to treat the foundational collagen where maximal results can be attained.
Increased transepidermal water loss and dry skin
Dry skin is commonly associated with menopause but do you know why? Oestrogen levels drop and oil glands become less active during menopause, this can trigger skin to be dry. In fact, dry skin can be associated with itch and rashes.
Try: Soap substitutes such as aqueous cream can be used during your shower to ensure you are not stripping your body skin of vital moisture. For your face, use a cream cleanser such as Warm Vanilla to keep your skin barrier intact each time you wash your face. Apply a rich humectant such as Luminizing II combined with an emollient type serum such as Rose Gold serum for optimal skin moistusizing effects. Hydrate while your skin is still damp as this produces better moisturization results!
Hyperpigmentation and age spots
Another sign of menopausal skin? Hyperpigmentation and age spots. If you’ve noticed your skin start to look splotchy and discolored, it could be due to menopause, as oestrogens also temper with melanin production. Even though skin cancer and wrinkling are caused by the amount of sun you got in your 20s, 30s, and 40s, you still need to protect your skin. Why? Skin may have less natural protection than when you were younger. So look for a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher, and wear it every day.
Try: Pico Pigment goes straight to the point to remove stubborn age and sun spots on your skin. Powerful antioxidants such as Astaxanthin also go a long way to protect the skin against UV and free radical damage and may be a useful adjuvant in your menopausal years.
Due to the unmasking of testosterone, some women may develop facial hair, particularly in the chin area. Don’t worry that you are turning into the missing link between ape and man, this is completely normal and can be easily treated.
Try: Instead of plucking these pesky chin hairs away, try a laser hair removal option that promise more permanent results with less fuss.