It's a bright sunny Saturday in September and I'm at Skansen with the entire family. I've been visited by my parents from Gothenburg to be with us. We're sitting there with our faces turned towards the warm sun, enjoying a moment together with coffee and hot chocolate from the thermos we've brought with us. I shut my eyes and let the sun's rays warm my (already) winter-pale skin and listen to the conversation when my mom suddenly says: "Fanny, I can't believe it - you don't have a single wrinkle and you're 50 years old!". But that's not entirely true. In fairness, I'm actually "only" 49 years and 9 months old. And I also have a lot of laugh lines, and my smile lines can make me look like a sad bulldog when I'm serious. But to my mom, who has a different perspective, I barely have a single wrinkle. Because that's how it is, right? Is it only when we get older that we gain perspective on aging? When I was 10 years old, I thought laugh lines, or crow's feet as some people call them, the wrinkles on the latteral parts of your eyes, were the most beautiful thing ever. Then one day I got them myself. The perspective on ageing has changed over time. Aging in itself is not really what bothers me, but what challenges me is the small change in how I see myself. That I don't quite keep up. However, I have decided to embrace the small changes in my skin as life's sign of experience and wisdom ❤
SKIN DURING MENOPAUSE
During menopause, most women notice that it also affects their skin. What exactly happens to the skin during menopause? Well, let's take it from the beginning. Firstly, our beloved estrogen hormones start to pack their bags and take a break. The hormone that used to keep our skin moisturized and radiant is basically "retiring". So what does this mean for the skin, and what affects the skin during menopause?
🌸Reduced estrogen levels
Among the most noticeable hormonal changes during menopause are reduced levels of estrogen, a female sex hormone that has a major impact on the skin. Studies have shown that estrogen is important for maintaining skin health, including the following:
- Promotes collagen production: Estrogen helps maintain skin elasticity by promoting the production of collagen, which keeps skin firm and youthful.
- Maintains moisture balance: Estrogen helps the skin retain moisture, preventing dryness and dehydration.
- Regulates sebum production: Estrogen plays a role in regulating sebum production, which can affect oily skin and acne.
🌸Dryness and reduced elasticity
As a result of reduced estrogen levels, many menopausal women find that their skin becomes drier and less elastic. There is evidence from studies that this dryness may be a result of reduced moisture retention in the skin, meaning that the skin has a harder time retaining and binding moisture, as well as reduced sebum production.
🌸Increased sensitivity and irritation
Decreased estrogen levels can also make the skin more sensitive or prone to irritation. It has been shown in research that menopausal women may experience increased sensitivity to skincare products and potential allergens. Your skin also acts as a barrier that protects the body from harmful external factors. Reduced estrogen levels can reduce the skin's ability to retain moisture and protect itself. This can make the skin more vulnerable to environmental influences.
🌸Increased risk of pigmentation changes
Some studies have also linked reduced estrogen levels to an increased risk of pigmentation, particularly in women with fair skin.
WOMEN ARE AFFECTED DIFFERENTLY
Why do some women seem to have better skin than others? It's simply because women are affected differently during menopause, as is their skin, due to a combination of several factors, including genetics, lifestyle and hormonal variations.
Genetics play an important role in how our skin ages and is affected by menopause. Certain people naturally have a better skin barrier function, with more collagen and elastin in the skin and a greater ability to retain moisture.
Collagen is one of the most important proteins found in the body and is a fundamental component of many tissues. The main component of the dermis, the deeper layer of the skin, is collagen. Collagen gives the skin structure and support and helps to maintain a firm and youthful appearance. Collagen is also found in hair and nails, where it contributes to structure and strength. With age, the production of collagen in the body decreases, which can cause the skin to lose its elasticity and form wrinkles.
Elastin is an important protein found naturally in the skin and other body tissues. The protein is an important component of the skin's connective tissue and helps to give the skin its elasticity and ability to return to its original shape after being stretched or compressed. Along with collagen, elastin gives the skin structure and support. Elastin makes the skin resistant to damage and breakage when subjected to pressure or stretching. When the skin ages, elastin can break down, causing the skin to lose its elasticity and develop wrinkles and sagging skin.
While reduced estrogen levels are common during menopause, exactly how quickly and to what extent these changes occur can vary from person to person. A gradual reduction in estrogen may be experienced by some women over several years, while others may experience more sudden and dramatic changes. This hormonal variation can affect how quickly and noticeably the skin ages.
Lifestyle factors will also naturally have a significant impact on skin health during menopause. Those who eat a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption tend to have better skin health. Exercising regularly and managing stress can also help maintain skin vitality.
🌸The hormonal lottery
Certain women are lucky enough to have a genetically high level of collagen and elastin in their skin, which gives it a youthful texture and firmness. However, for women who are not genetically predisposed to skin problems, menopause may have less of an impact on the appearance of their skin than for those who have a hereditary tendency to develop skin problems. In other words, genetics may play a role in how much menopause affects the appearance of the skin.
THE SKIN IN THE VAGINA
The skin of the vagina can also be affected by menopause. Alterations in the vaginal mucosa are common and can be a source of discomfort during menopause. Here's what happens based on research and studies:
🌸Thinning of the vaginal mucosa
During menopause, the production of estrogen decreases dramatically. Estrogen is in charge of maintaining the thickness and moisture of the vaginal mucosa. When estrogen levels drop, the mucous membrane becomes thinner and less elastic. This may lead to vulnerability and increased sensitivity, which can cause discomfort during sexual activity.
Reduced estrogen production can also lead to vaginal dryness. This dryness can be bothersome and sometimes painful. Studies have shown that up to 50% of menopausal women experience vaginal dryness.
But don't worry, there are solutions to this problem too! One of them is VagiVital AktivGel, which helps to moisturize and strengthen the skin in the vagina. It's like a moisturizing rain shower in your private garden ❤
Read the blog about understanding and managing dry mucous membranes here!
🌸Increased risk of infections
The thinning and drying of the vaginal mucosa can also increase the risk of vaginal infections, such as fungal infections and bacterial vaginosis. This is because of changes in the natural balance between bacteria and fungi in the vagina.
Changes in the skin and muscles of the vagina can also affect bladder function. During menopause, many women experience incontinence problems, including stress incontinence (leakage when coughing, sneezing or straining) and urge incontinence (a feeling of having to urinate frequently).
TAKING CARE OF YOUR SKIN DURING MENOPAUSE - 7 SCIENCE-BASED TIPS
Menopause is a journey that most women go through in different ways. It's a time of change, both physically and emotionally. Based on scientific research, here are some effective ways to take care of your skin during this phase of life
1. Adopt a gentle skincare routine.
Research has shown that it is important to use skincare products that are gentle during menopause. Opt for a gentle cleanser that doesn't dry out the skin. Sensitivity can also increase during this time, so avoid products that can be irritating. Products containing hyaluronic acid and glycerine have been shown to be effective in retaining skin moisture.
2. Sun protection
Research has clearly shown that UV radiation from the sun can damage the skin and lead to premature ageing, including wrinkles and age spots. You should therefore use a daily sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. This also reduces the risk of skin cancer.
3. Anti-ageing products for the skin
There are numerous anti-ageing products on the market. Studies have shown that ingredients such as retinol, antioxidants (such as vitamin C) and peptides can help reduce wrinkles and improve skin elasticity.
4. Healthy lifestyle
Your diet affects your skin more than you might think. Studies have shown that a balanced diet rich in antioxidant-rich foods such as fruit and vegetables can help fight free radicals and promote healthy skin. You should also drink enough water to keep your skin well hydrated. Steer clear of excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, as these factors can accelerate skin ageing.
Most of us already know that regular exercise has many health benefits, but not everyone is aware that it can also have a positive effect on your skin. Exercise promotes good blood circulation, which can lead to a healthier skin tone and texture. So go for a walk, do yoga or any form of exercise you enjoy.
6. Vaginal moisture
Menopause can also affect skin sensitivity in the vagina, and a vagina as dry as the Sahara desert can be a strain. VagiVital AktivGel has undergone clinical trials and is designed to moisturize even the driest vaginal mucosa. AktivGel is a hormone-free active gel that relieves and cures intimate symptoms such as dryness, irritation or itching in the intimate area, discomfort during intercourse or pain during urination. In the clinical studies we have conducted with VagiVital AktivGel, we see very good results after 30 days (4 weeks). These results are further improved at the 12-week follow-up. For this reason, we normally recommend daily use for 12 weeks (3 tubes) and then transition to use as needed. In user surveys, most people respond that they use the product daily for 30 days. After that, it is most common to switch to using it every two or three days.
VagiVital AktivGel can be found here!
7. Regular skin check-ups
Skin cancer is of course serious, but if detected early, it can often be treated successfully. For this reason, you should have regular skin checks to detect any changes or signs of skin cancer at an early stage. If you notice anything unusual, you should see a dermatologist immediately.
8. Managing stress
Going through the menopause can be a stressful time with many physical and emotional changes. Research has shown that high stress levels can have a negative impact on your skin. Consider relaxation exercises such as meditation or yoga to manage stress and promote healthy skin. Plus, there are many meditation apps available today that can help you manage stress.
Menopause is a process that all women go through in their own way, and it affects us not only emotionally but also physically, including our skin. The skin that has been there since we were born. It has protected and embraced us. Your skin is an important part of your body, and it deserves to be cared for and loved throughout your life, no matter your age. So embrace the small changes as signs of experience and wisdom. And honestly, I still think smile lines around the eyes are one of the most beautiful things in the world ❤
Take good care of yourself and Stay Pussytive!
Diagnoses - Treats - Prevents