One of the most obvious outward signs of change during perimenopause has been the condition of my skin. Whereas once I had a youthful radiance I’m now beginning to resemble an advert for facial fillers – and I’m the “before” image.
I’ve always spent quite a lot of money on skin care; as a teenager I had problematic skin and was always hugely self conscious about how I looked. I remember buying an insanely expensive range of products with my very first pay cheque, in the desperate hope that they would do more for me than my Anne French cleansing milk and a few random blobs of Nivea. They didn’t, but they started me on a journey which led me to discover all sorts of glorious, gorgeous and gloopy lotions and potions, all of which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed slapping on my face for the past 35 years.
Imagine how upset I was then to discover that my (not insubstantial) investment in my face appears to have been completely obliterated by the onslaught of perimenopause. My skin is looking distinctly lacklustre with dry flaky patches and even spots – and there is simply no way that I’m going through the agonies and insecurities of spots all over again at this age! So there has been a lot of trial and error in my bathroom and kitchen over the past few weeks and whilst I don’t claim to have the definitive solution for everybody, I do now have 5 top tips to help combat dry skin.
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate!
I’ve been surprised to find that there is no real evidence to confirm that drinking water is good for the appearance of the skin. What we do know for certain though is that keeping ourselves hydrated is good for us generally; amongst other things it aids digestion and helps flush out toxins. Conversely, dehydration can impair our moods and concentration, as well as being a contributing factor to headaches. Our skin is an organ, so it seems logical that just like our liver and kidneys it needs water to be at its best. Whilst there may not be any concrete evidence to prove it helps keep your skin clear I’m a firm believer that staying hydrated is good for us!
Owing to its anti inflammatory properties nettle tea is reputed to be really good for the skin. The antioxidants in the tea can speed up healing and reduce the appearance of scars and blemishes. It’s also said to boost immunity and alleviate symptoms of hay fever. The downside is that it tastes revolting! However I’ll overcome this if it keeps my skin looking good. Shallow? Me? Never…
*Don’t drink nettle tea if you’re pregnant. If you suffer with low blood pressure, heart disorder, kidney problems, diabetes or cancer consult with your doctor before taking.
It stands to reason that what we put into our bodies has a direct impact on our health, including that of our skin. We’ve all eaten rubbish occasionally and seen the direct effect on our faces the following day! Neal’s Yard Remedies produce an organic beauty oil to be taken as a nutritional supplement which contains flax seed oil, hemp seed oil, avocado oil, evening primrose oil and pumpkin seed oil. These combined oils are a source of omega 6 and omega 3 essential fatty acids, gamma linolenic acid, vitamins A and E, and zinc. I take 2 teaspoons a day but it tastes pretty horrible so I mix it with an equal amount of balsamic vinegar and use it as a salad dressing. Even my hairdresser has commented that my hair is in better condition since I started taking it.
Lotions and Potions
This is not the time to be shy at the beauty counters! Nor is it the time to seek the advice of young consultants with perfect dewy complexions – FIND THE MIDLIFER! Be bold and get samples, lots of samples, and don’t be afraid to ask outright. Don’t be coerced into making a purchase there and then, you need to try the products and see what works.
You don’t need to spend a fortune either, whilst I LOVE buying high end products I’m happy to slap a value brand on my face if it will make a difference. Creams containing vitamin C have an antioxidant effect on the skin (which means that it helps defend skin against environmental damage cause by free radicals)(free radicals are not some 90’s pop group but molecules all around us that seek to destroy!!!). Ascorbic acid is the ingredient to look for if it’s not blatantly obvious in the product name. Hyaluronic Acid is another buzz word (or two?) in beauty at the moment, this stuff has the capacity to attract and hold onto vast amounts of moisture with which it replenishes and revitalises skin as required.
As a rule I would suggest a gentle exfoliator a couple of times a week as well as a serum and a really good moisturiser. The trick is to find the product that works for you, and enjoy the process – some beauty counter staff will offer to apply their products. Say yes! Enjoy even just 5 minutes of pampering if it’s offered (particularly recommended at Decleor counters!).
The Professional Touch
Sometimes we need a helping hand to jump start our skin care and get back to looking our best. It’s not an indulgence to have a facial now and again; I consider it a clinical necessity! A qualified and experienced beauty therapist at a reputable salon will be able to prescribe the right facial for your needs. Go for recommendations and ask lots of questions before confirming an appointment. If you’re not satisfied with the answers then look somewhere else. Prices vary enormously between salons but this tends to be based on the products they use. Treat yourself – the boost you’ll get from just lying in a beautifully fragranced room for an hour is worth the money, the refreshed and rejuvenated face is the bonus!