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By Celeste Lee, As featured on Lisa Health
Lisa Health is a digital health site for women going into menopause. They personalize the most current knowledge in small, doable steps for each woman and are supported by the Mayo Clinic and the National Science Foundation. Caire Beauty is Lisa Health’s preferred skincare - having road-tested our effectiveness as seriously as they test thyroid, bone, insomnia or hot flashes solutions.
The below article is featured on Lisa Health and Celeste will be the Guest in a skincare ingredient webinar Friday, Nov 5 at 3pm EST. Register on Lisa Health.com at https://tinyurl.com/57zxc5kt
The menopause journey can be described as reverse puberty. Common concerns include insomnia, hot flashes, and ubiquitous to nearly all women: dramatically changing skin appearance.
The beauty universe offers hundreds of products and dozens of regimens, but the vast majority of anti-aging products are designed to address what is known as external aging. This is the aging that starts the day we’re born and encompasses UV radiation, pollution, and the oxidative stress it causes.
Estrogen (and progesterone) hormone decline, which begins at age 30 for both men and women, is an entirely separate yet major cause of skin aging. Some doctors refer to hormone decline as ‘internal aging’. A woman’s hormone production further slows in her late 30s/early 40s and is double that of a man of the same age. Hair and skin cell production, whether collagen, elastin, keratin, or hyaluronic acid and their multivarious supporting cells, is driven by estrogen. Less estrogen means fewer skin cells are being made. This is when dry patches, larger pores, sags, under eye circles, thinning hair and the dreaded crow’s feet and other lines appear. Still, when we laugh and make faces, skin is mostly able to ‘bounce’ back into place.
Then the other shoe drops! Menopause is defined scientifically as the day a woman hasn’t had a period for 12 consecutive months, which occurs around age 51 for most women. The immediate 3-year period right after meno-day creates more havoc. Women lose about 30% of their cell production because estradiol, one of our key estrogens, stops being produced entirely, resulting in skin volume, firmness, hydration, and elasticity loss. Fewer cells and less turnover mean those expression lines that used to bounce right back become what is known as ‘etched’. A wrinkle is born.
Women frequently ask us at Caire Beauty what ingredients to look for in skincare. For hormone related aging, we encourage specialized approaches that focus on the skin’s dermis – the health and hydration inside of the skin. Your skincare should replace and reactivate skin to generate more collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. More hyaluronic acid, whether through increased production or direct infusion (think Caire’s 15 minute Triple Lift Molecule Mask, for example), is going to hydrate and build stronger, more supple skin from within. Yielding smoother, supple, glowing skin on the outside.
Using products with these ingredients goes hand in hand with defending skin from external aggressors. A huge amount of DNA damage is caused over time from harmful UV rays so good mineral suncare, wearing hats, and staying out of the sun between 11am and 3pm is a must-do.
As your skin changes on your pre and post menopause journey, here are some ingredients to look for and why:
Fruit enzymes help to gently exfoliate the skin.
Peptides are amino acid chains, with superpowers! Signaling capability is a key one. A good signaling peptide at the right strength is designed to trigger your skin into turning on more collagen or hyaluronic acid creation – thereby replacing lost estrogenic action. Remember, more new cells equals smoother, more supple skin. By the way, peptides are hard to get past the skin barrier, find a formulation (like Caire’s Theorem Serum which uses biofermentation to power their peptide) that is designed to move past the surface to get to where it can do its thing. This is called bioavailability. A nice textured good peptide-based moisturizer to consider is Tata Harper’s Crème Riche Peptide Night Cream.
As we get older, skin layers are getting thinner (the result of contracting cell production over time). While exfoliation and increasing cellular turnover is good, we want to do it gently. Fruit enzymes, like those found in papaya or pineapple, are wonderful in cleansers, toners, masks as a way to gently remove old skin cells, encourage cellular turnover, and reveal fresh radiance. An excellent choice is the Human race Lotus Enzyme Exfoliator which includes 2% fruit AHAs and Papaya, Pineapple & Pomegranate fruit enzymes to effectively reveal fresh skin.
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is not an acid at all, it’s an anti-inflammatory miracle ‘goo’ molecule that is the primary component of Caire’s ECM - extracellular matrix. It’s gooey because it holds 1000x its weight in water and is what keeps all your skin cells in place. Imagine HA as the mortar between the collagen and elastin bricks of skin. However, not all HA is equal. HA in skincare is typically made of long-chain (also known as ‘high weight) molecules. Higher weight HA stays on the surface of your face where it provides excellent hydration and is sufficient by itself when you’re 30. But, ahem, later in your F Years (the forties and fifties) and S Years (the sixties and seventies), we should look for low-weight molecules that are tiny enough to move down into the dermis where it can hydrate – read plump - skin from within. As it does this, it is also restructuring the firmness of your skin as it gives critical support to collagen and elastin fibrils. Caire Skincare all feature a full spectrum of HA weights including the tiniest HA on the market, as does Dr. Sturm’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum.
High tech and active natural ingredients can help a lot, but a healthy lifestyle is important too. Sleep, exercise, healthy eating & stress reducing activities all contribute to the health of your skin.
Oxidation is what makes an apple slice turn brown. In skin, oxidation is inflammatory, breaking down collagen and disrupting normal cellular repair. It’s caused by free radicals which are basically unstable molecules with “uncoupled” electrons. Electrons need to live in “couples”, so the unstable molecules steal someone else’s electrons, destabilizing those previously stable molecules, causing a domino effect of damage. Free radicals are produced internally, but they’re also caused by smoking, pollution, and yep, stress. Antioxidants help by offering up extra electrons to the free radicals.
Make sure to choose antioxidants in skincare at relatively high concentrations (think fifteen percent or more for Vitamin C) and eat more berries and citrus. Don’t just rely on skincare. Try Revive Repairing Night Cream which uses Vitamin E, Niacinamide (a form of B3), and Green Tea antioxidants. A more preventative approach is the Age-Disrupting Skin Cream from i-On Skincare which aims to stop free radical formation in the first place by removing the excess iron in the skin, which women in particular experience in perimenopause and post-menopause.
Algaes are stable antioxidants, rich in vitamins, minerals, lipids, and proteins. They are particularly good for grown-up skin as they provide anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and hydration properties in one. There are many thousands of different marine algae, kelps, and seaweeds species, but the key is to choose formulations that are using a sufficient amount of algae active in conjunction with other active ingredients. At Caire, we like Grown Alchemist’s Hydra-Restore Cream Cleanser which is soothing for evolving, sensitive perimenopausal skin. You might also consider Osea Undaria Algae Oil or Ren Microalgae Anti-Fatigue Body Oils because our bodies, of course, deserve just as much attention as our faces.
The lessons here are that your premenopausal skincare routine needs to change and ingredients matter to effectively helping your grown-up menopausal skin to look its glowiest, most supple best. Also, don’t forget that a healthy lifestyle and protecting yourself from the sun are also critical. The best skincare in the world won’t help much if you’re not paying attention to the food you eat, stress levels, sleep, and other factors that help us age well.
Celeste Lee and Lorrie King are midlife women and beauty industry veterans. Together, they founded Caire Beauty specializing in skincare for menopausal women.
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