May 20th 2018
Menopausal skincare: our pick of the best
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Not simply an anti-ageing cream – it's all about soothing, hydrating and plumping skin, prone to sensitivity, hot flushes, extreme dryness and myriad other menopausal issues. Here’s what to look for
Transforming our skincare routine for seasonal changes is something we get used to, but changing it to suit our hormones? It can be a challenge- particularly if you’re going through perimenopause or menopause.
Hot flushes, chills and increased sensitivity can be a regular occurrence - needs can change from day to day and month to month. A consistent daily skincare regime can be complicated. “In our research, we have specifically studied how skin changes from one decade of life to the next – all the way from the teens to the eighties, and while there are a couple of tipping points in your 30s and 40s, we observed the biggest changes during women’s menopause - usually in their 50s and 60s,” says Dr Frauke Neuser, Olay Principal Scientist. “Skin regeneration and repair slow down significantly, while ageing processes are accelerated.”
Skin also becomes thinner because of decreases in oestrogen levels. "There is a significant loss of collagen in our skin at the time of menopause. Hyaluronic acid levels also drop (a very important humectant)," says dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall. "As a result, skin loses its glow and elasticity." We're also more redness-prone too during these years. "The ceramides that act as cement in the skin barrier also reduce with time and skin becomes drier and therefore often more irritated."
There’s a growing demand for products that can tackle these concerns and brands are beginning to meet it. A range of launches is designed to help slow down the ageing process and also relieve the physical discomfort that menopausal symptoms can cause.
From high street and high end, here’s a run-down of some of the latest and greatest.
Phytomone, from £68
Best for: ‘Cosmetic HRT’
The brand’s award-winning Pause Hydracreme, £128, uses plant-based bioidentical hormones called phytoestrogens to help prevent decreasing oestrogen levels from negatively affecting skin density. Derived from soya, they work by binding to facial oestrogen receptors, causing the skin to act as if the hormone was still present (by activating collagen synthesis). Dubbed ‘the world's first cosmetic HRT face cream,’ it boasts some interesting skincare tech and even comes with a fan for sudden flushes.
Fragrance-free and richer than the others in our edit, it’s a good match for those who have both dry and sensitised skin. It leaves lines softened and skin extremely well hydrated and when used with its Sleepless Nights Calming Face Oil, £68, (which also contains plant hormones), its effects are that much more enhanced (which you’d fully expect for their eye-wateringly expensive prices).
Look Fabulous Forever, from £42
Best For: Hydration and Plumping
Tricia Cusden is the training consultant turned superstar beauty vlogger, a 70-year-old grandmother with sensational skin who knows what hormonal skin needs, after quitting retirement to start a makeup business Look Fabulous Forever for older women.
We love the Hydration Hold Face Serum, a moisture-boosting silky serum formulated with a high concentration of active ingredients for an intensely hydrating treatment that will make skin feel and look comfortable and full of health. Hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid restores water balance in the skin to help maintain firmness, while provitamin B5 enhances skin barrier repair. The serum is one of three products in this fragrance-free range that all sensitive skins will love. Our non-menopausal tester raved about them all.
Superdrug B. Nourished Phase 4, from £8.99
Best for: A budget option
On the other end of the spending spectrum lies this budget-friendly line-up from Superdrug.
Developed with the needs of 50 to 60-year-olds in mind, products include a £14.49 serum which contains barrier-boosting niacinamide and retinol-like botanical Spanish Needle to increase cell turnover, and a hot flush fixing £8.99 Cooling and Soothing Face Mask to calm angry skin, minimise redness and blotchiness and control shine.
Best for: Dry skin
The products in the range are divided into two sub-categories - Compensating Complex for menopausal skin and Magistral for post-menopausal skin. Furthermore, there’s also a Lip & Eye Contour Cream, £18.70, and its latest addition, Phytosculpt, £30 a face and neck cream boasting key ingredient wild fern extract phytosterol to improve elasticity and an active complex, Pro-Xylane to mimic the benefits of DHEA, the most commonly occurring steroid hormone in the skin which naturally declines in menopausal skin. The result? Smoother, firmer and plumper looking skin.
Vichy's overnight and intensive treatments are of particular note thanks to their hydrating ingredients. Its Compensating Complex Night Cream, £20.25, contains a conditioning combo of hyaluronic acid, Pro-Xylane and humectant glycerin to boost both firmness and elasticity - benefits are further enhanced when combined with the line’s gel-cream Replenishing Concentrate, £22.50. From its Magistral line, its Elixir, £22.50, is a firm favourite thanks to its non-greasy mixture of rice bran oil, shea butter and safflower oils rich in omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids to leave skin softer, suppler and smoother.
Best for: Signs of fatigue
Designed for use during and after menopause, this far-reaching range covers everything from skincare to haircare and bodycare. The use of phytoestrogens, plant-derived bioidentical hormones to help replenish dwindling oestrogen stores and boost skin strength, lies at their core, in addition to other ingredients that aim to slow down the ageing process.
From its skincare offering, the Replenish Neck and Décolletage Cream, £16.95, is a particular favourite of ours thanks its use of energising caffeine and retinol to help skin appear smoother and tighter. For puffy eyes, its Eye Serum, £12.95, is great for tackling the signs of tiredness - especially welcome after a restless night’s sleep.