Sara, 51, shares about how her skin has changed and become drier, thinner, and more sensitive as she entered perimenopause:

I had no idea this skin change started in my 20’s. 

But it was true. Estrogen, the regulator of many elements including collagen and other body oils, began decreasing the collagen production in my body in my mid-20s, as it does for most women.

Did I notice it then? Nope.

It definitely became noticeable in my 40s when my skin felt… thinner. There was more sensitivity both on my face and all over my body. There were even a few breakouts. At 50, I began to notice and experience dry skin for the first time in my life. My skin had, for most of my life been, been normal-to-oily and was now regularly dry. This was the new normal, and it was baffling and a little surreal, actually. 

How can we as adults best care for the 8 lbs and 22 square feet of birthday suit we wear daily? More specifically, how can we better retain or support the moisture content in our skin at every stage of our amazing lives, including menopause?

First things first: hydration and moisture

“Hydration and moisture are not the same things,” shares skin expert and CEO of Teadora Beauty, Valeria Cole.

Drinking good clean water throughout the day is fantastic and will flush and support your system, but it won’t also do the job that a good topical moisturizer can accomplish. Both hydration and moisturization are needed, daily. 

In giving yourself the gift of both, your present and future self will thank you. Who knows, you might even enjoy both hydration and moisturization as some of the highest forms of simple self-care tasks you can practice. 

Consistent hydration can lessen other menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, headaches, and reduce urinary urgency and bladder irritation (yes, really!), plus a few other benefits. If you’re experiencing night sweats or hot flashes, chances are good you’re losing more hydration with these symptoms, so drink up.

Steady topical moisture and sunscreen to clean skin provide protection and comfort for dry, sensitive, thinning skin. Consider testing and investing in a few options:

  • A spray mist moisturizer: Which could also feel fantastic on your neck, upper back, decollete, as well as your face during a hot flash, right?
  • A good quality serum: Gently press and massage a little oil-based serum (one with some good fatty acids) into freshly cleansed skin, then go straight to your...
  • Rich and emollient night moisturizing cream: Massage this gently into your skin and enjoy soft, dewy skin night and day.
  • Day time moisture: Once you’ve washed and showered, consider applying the serum again before your regular day time moisturizer. Don’t forget, you’ve lost moisture just by breathing, and then more from night sweats or hot flashes.
  • Sunscreen: Have you considered a tinted sunscreen? It does double-duty as a foundation and sunscreen.
  • Vaginal moisture support: Delicate and ever-changing, could your most intimate skin tissues use some extra, gentle moisture? Chances are good that you’d feel more comfortable, and experience fewer… ahem, distractions (and itchy sensations) with a little bump of regular topical moisture.

Remember, this is about protection, comfort, and support for a hardworking, ever-renewing, ever-changing, many-layered organ: your gorgeous skin.

Cleansers and washes

A gentler approach may be preferred for more sensitive skin at this time in your life. Facial washes and cleansers without harsh ingredients at this time, please. And this goes also for body washes and exfoliants as well. 

Re-framing exfoliation

Cole mentions a helpful term replacement: think “buff,” instead of “scrub”. This is another prompt for gentleness. And frankly, another opportunity for massage. Slow, steady, rhythmic, massage-like buffing paints a much different picture than a quick shower and scrub. 

Have you ever been short on time and rubbed really hard in an effort to get clean, fast? Perhaps the water was just a touch too hot in an effort to further speed the process? We’ve all been there, but the results of this may feel harsher, and more painful later on in the day if we’ve scrubbed too hard, or if the water’s been too hot.

Perhaps this is an opportunity to reframe exfoliation in a way that will support ourselves in the body, but also in mind? What if this gentle cleansing and exfoliation time was practiced with more of a massage-like approach? This could be a meditative time for deeper breathing, slow and steady movements, appreciation and gratitude. A ritual to cleanse, wash away, and then replenish. 

Elapsed time? 5-8 minutes, includes:

  • a gentle facial wash
  • exfoliation ritual
  • pat dry with a soft towel
  • serum massage
  • and then night moisturizer massage

Got another 5 minutes for yourself? Take it, indulge, enjoy.

Your skin is an amazing organ in your body, and it works, regenerates, holds us through all of life’s experiences. Not all of it is fun, but we’re all pretty fortunate to be here. Take good care and enjoy good comfort in your beautiful skin. 

There’s a whole community of women who are experiencing perimenopause and menopause symptoms like Sara’s in the Gennev Community Forum. Join us, share and comment as a welcome member today.