The no-BS skincare expert and author shares her 10 best products and skincare ranges for menopausal skin to tackle rashes, dry skin, itching and breakouts

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As the ultimate straight-talking HRT-taking beauty expert – who's racked up a cool 200 million views on her  blog  – it's no wonder  Caroline Hirons , 52, has become the industry authority for all things  menopausal skin. 

The skincare guru has publicly talked about her own journey with hormone replacement therapy (HRT), revealing she suffered problems such as weight gain, brain fog, mood swings and bloating when she became perimenopausal ten years ago.

Now, in  Skincare: The New Edit by Caroline Hirons  – a  new and revised 2021 edition  of her best-selling book – Caroline has shared her ultimate need-to-know guide for tackling rashes, itching, dry skin, breakouts and all the other complexion changes that can strike during the menopause.

Part of a chapter titled 'When Life Happens,' in which Caroline also covers puberty,  pregnancy  and  chemotherapy , she explains: "Hormones are potentially the biggest skin disruptor of all... [but] there are things you can do to help tackle the effects they have on the skin. It just takes a few tweaks to your kit."

Here, she explains how.

Menopause (ah my people!)

What happens

The signs of ageing are accelerated and exaggerated, while the skin’s ability to regenerate slows right down. Oestrogen is depleted, which has a huge knock-on effect on your body, your entire system, and your skin. Consequently, ceramide, collagen and hyaluronic acid levels drop dramatically, and your skin is slower to heal.

What does it look like on the skin

This massive depletion of hormones leads to your skin losing tone, elasticity, and its ability to retain moisture. The skin’s built-in moisturising system needs oestrogen to work properly, so the absence of it can lead to dry, rough, flaky, or itchy skin. Meanwhile, collagen fibres decrease in number, stiffen, and break apart, resulting in deepened lines. In short: menopausal skin can sometimes look dull, flat, sagging (sorry), dry, wrinkled and like it’s lost its glow.

What can you do to help it?

Worry ye not. There is a multitude of things that you can do to offset any signs of ageing that you do not want to see on your face.

Image: Christopher Oakman

CLEANSERS: milks and creams work well on an older skin. They don’t aggravate the barrier when you’re trying to remove it like a heavy-duty cleansing balm can sometimes do, and they are gentle enough to cause no further harm. If your skin is redder than usual during this period, it may be worth avoiding fragranced products.

Image: Christopher Oakman

SERUMS: this depends on what your skin can handle. On the one hand, there is an argument for upping the ante with things like retinoids/vitamin A, and on the other, there is not exactly a lot of ‘collagen’ waiting around in your skin for your products to ‘stimulate’, a claim the industry tends to frequently throw around with abandon. Listen to your skin. If you are experiencing redness, sensitivity and the odd red, sore breakout that won’t heal, try limiting your skincare to cleansing, maybe misting (for light hydration and for the cooling effect), moisturising and SPF for daytime. Repeat, minus the SPF, for the evening. Look for products that use terms such as ‘barrier repair’ and that contain ingredients such as ceramides and amino acids.

Image: Christopher Oakman

MOISTURISERS: we as an industry tend to push older women to thicker, richer, more emollient creams, and this is not always what they need. If your skin feels as dry as a desert, even itchy, try a thicker cream than you might have used in your 20s and 30s. If it feels like it needs a little more ‘juice’, use lighter moisturisers that have a higher water content as opposed to oil. These are easy to spot and test in store. They feel lighter on your skin and penetrate very quickly.

Try these…