Review

Menopausal skincare: a new beauty category

February 28th 2018 / Ayesha Muttucumaru Google+ Ayesha Muttucumaru / 0 comment

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Ranges designed to soothe, strengthen, de-stress and help skin tackle everything from hot flushes to extreme dryness are springing up everywhere. Here’s our round-up of the latest and greatest

Changing our skincare routine to suit seasonal changes is difficult, but changing it to suit hormonal ones? Even more so - 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, therefore making a consistent daily skincare regime especially tricky to nail down. “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.”

In addition, skin 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 on behalf of The Harley Medical Group. "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 help tackle these concerns and brands are looking to meet it thanks to a range of launches designed to both 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.

Olay Vitality, £19.99

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Best for: Fast-absorbing hydration

Created specifically to meet the needs of 50+ women, this brand new 3-product collection aims to soothe and strengthen skin’s defences and make it better equipped to deal with the changes that the various stages of menopause can cause. Its vitamin-rich formula is central to this - niacinamide (vitamin B3) works to increase skin barrier’s resiliency by increasing ceramide production, panthenol (vitamin B5) works to hydrate and antioxidant vitamin E helps offer protection against environmental aggressors (further bolstered by the inclusion of green tea).

With two options for the day - its Face & Décolletage Cream SPF 15, £19.99, and Radiance Cream SPF 15, £19.99 - and one for night (the Renewing Night Mask, £19.99 - our favourite), they’re lightweight, fast-absorbing and effective, leaving skin soothed, smoother and rehydrated.

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Phytomone, from £68

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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).

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Superdrug B. Nourished Phase 4, from £8.99

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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.

There’s also a Night Cream, £12.49, Eye Cream, £12.49, and Day Cream too, £12.49. The drugstore’s currently running a half price sale on all things B. at the moment to make your money stretch even further.

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Stratum C Menopause, from £15 to £80

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Best for: The breakout-prone

Menopausal-related breakouts are common and finding products to help tackle them without drying skin out can be particularly tricky. However, this range provides a solution thanks to its selection of gentle yet effective serums, creams and specialist treatments designed to target spots, redness and inflammation and increase collagen production too.

Particular highlights include its Menopause Protect Cream, £49, which contains collagen-boosting matrixyl and hydration heavyweights hyaluronic acid and squalane, its fast-absorbing Repair Serum, £38.30, (which contains moisturising Irish Moss Seaweed Extract and hyaluron) for more intensive relief, and Spot Relief, £25, an overnight treatment containing salicylic acid, sulphur and zinc oxide - ideal for times when something more potent is required.

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Vichy Neovadiol

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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, Rose Platinum, £19.25, a strengthening moisturiser that leaves a radiant rosy tint to skin.

Its 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 to prevent water loss 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.

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Nurture Replenish

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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.

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