By Julie Keller Callaghan
Today’s blog is reprinted from welldefined.com and is their most popular article of the week. Julie Keller Callaghan, Co-founder of WellDefined.com and former Editor in Chief of American Spa. Read on and found out why!
For many women, menopause—and the hormonal changes that come with it before, during, and after—can bring with it some pretty significant changes to the skin, including dryness, acne, sensitivity, thinning, laxity, wrinkles, and more. According to the North American Menopause Society, more than a billion women worldwide will be experiencing menopause in 2025. With numbers like that, you would think the market for menopausal skincare would be exploding. You would be mistaken. In fact, the number of products available to treat the skin of women in various stages of menopause is surprisingly scarce in a world obsessed with youth. But there are some trendsetting brands that are determined to flip the script by offering solutions that address the needs of this massive potential market.
“It cannot be denied that there’s a huge stigma associated with growing older, and that has had a direct negative impact on creating product for women over 40 and 50,” says Celeste Lee, co-founder of Caire Beauty, a science-based line of products for women experiencing the impact of age-related hormonal changes to their skin. “We live in a massively youth-obsessed society, and there’s this notion that the young have all the disposable income and, therefore, that’s who we should create product for. But the truth is so the opposite. The largest growing age group is women between 40 and 50. There are 42 million women between 40 and 60 alone. And 7,000 women slide into perimenopause every day, even though they may not even be aware of what that is. So, we might be one of the first to create science-strong, age-positive skincare, but I know we won’t be the last. Women deserve better, and today’s grownup woman is smart and is looking for modern answers.”
Menopause is, technically, a single day—exactly one year after the day of a woman’s last period. But the hormonal changes associated with menopause begin well before and continue well after. Pre-menopause, which is called perimenopause, normally starts for women in their 40s and can last 4 to 10 years, and the years following menopause are called post-menopause.
For most women, hormonal decline can start as early as 30, according to Lee. “At first, it’s just a little loss each year, but in the perimenopausal phase, it doubles and causes a two percent loss in skin cell production per year, and of course, this loss is cumulative over time—this is when the fine lines, creases, and bags are more visible,” she says. “Then, and this is the really hard information to take in, in the immediate three years after your period ends, meaning your first three post-menopausal years, hormone levels dramatically drop, and we lose 30 percent of all skin cell production in that period. After that, skin cell production continues to contract but at a slower rate of decline.”
The founders of i-On Skincare believe that a buildup of iron and the free radicals that it attracts is one of the main causes of many skincare problems, and at the onset of perimenopause, iron levels spike significantly. “While iron is crucial for healthy physiological functions, in excess, it is extremely damaging,” explains company founder and president Xi Huang, Ph.D., a longtime researcher of the correlation between iron levels and health.
According to Huang, our bodies naturally eliminate excess iron through menstruation and skin exfoliation, but as women enter perimenopause, and as menstruation ends, more iron begins pumping through skin—up to 40 percent higher levels are found during the 10-year transition period from pre-menopause to post-menopause. “Because of this iron accumulation and overload in the skin as we get older, menopausal skin is more sensitive to environmental factors, leading to an increase in wrinkles, discoloration, loss of elasticity, and other signs of aging,” he says. “Much like rust on metal, iron’s reaction with oxygen causes oxidative stress to the skin.”
To address this issue, i-On Skincare products have been formulated with a proprietary technology that stops the oxidation process from occurring, preventing skin-aging free radicals from forming in the first place and, thus, disrupting the skin-aging process by allowing skin to focus on repairing and rebuilding, something that is achieved with a thoughtful blend of hyaluronic acid and peptides that repair and rebuild collagen and improve clarity, elasticity, tone, skin health, and appearance.
Indeed, hyaluronic acid and collagen-building, antioxidant-rich ingredients are important aspects of Womaness, a head-to-toe high-performance collection of clean, modern menopause products. Some of the main ingredients in the skincare and bodycare products include HYACLEAR 7, an advanced form of HA; bakuchiol, a natural retinol alternative that encourages cell turnover and stimulates collagen; emblica, an antioxidant-rich fruit extract that protects against oxidative stress, brightens, and promotes even skintone; and niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 that supports cellular processes and help minimize redness, acne, and discoloration. “We stand behind our ingredients in that these are the right ingredients for women at this stage of their lives—we consider the line products with purpose—but perhaps more importantly, we’re having a conversation with our customer that no one else is having,” says co-founder Michelle Jacobs.
Deeply penetrating and ultra-low-weight hyaluronic acid is also a vital ingredient for Caire, as are peptides. Some other ingredients Lee says are ideal for menopausal skin include brightening vitamin C and ceramides, exfoliating fruit enzymes, face oils, and more frequent serums layered with richer moisturizers to support hydration. She also says that acne needs to be handled quite differently than with traditional teen blemish treatments that are made with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which can cause inflammation in adult skin. “Use an enzymatic powder or gel cleanser, toner, and masks; anti-inflammatory, soothing serums; and gentle spot treatments,” she says. “Skin is thinning, don’t damage it even more.”
From innovative ingredients and solutions to a more open and honest discussion about the needs of women as they age, the co-founders think it is an exciting—and long overdue—time to address the hormonal and menopausal needs of women. “Women 50-plus have more than $15 trillion in purchasing power, and they are the healthiest, wealthiest, and most active generation in history, yet most marketers write off consumers at age 49,” says Womaness co-founder Sally Mueller. “Youth has always been highly valued and considered a commodity in society, but with age comes wisdom, and health, and confidence…the list goes on and on. We always say women at this stage of life are the coolest, smartest, most interesting women we know. They deserve modern and innovative products, essential information, and unlimited inspiration.”
After all, as Lee says, this is a time for self-confidence and solutions. “A lot of women in their later thirties and forties have a bit of a mental freak out just hearing the word ‘menopause,’” she says. “I’d like to suggest to please not get anxious but just take some time to educate yourself, because the sooner and the more you know, the better you can manage it. And being in control of a situation is always key to keeping your confidence and sense of self-worth up.”
Are you—or your clients—ready for products targeted to the specific needs associated with hormonal and menopausal changes to the skin? Here are some excellent options to consider.
Celeste Lee, CoFounder, Caire Beauty
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