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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > March 2019 > Beauty comes of age

Beauty comes of age

It’s known to be a challenging time for hair, skin and selfesteem, but the menopause doesn’t have to take the gloss off your looks. Here’s how to combat the effects of your hormones, says Leah Hardy

FROM DAVINA MVCALL TO MARIELLA FROSTRUP, Lorraine Kelly to Gillian Anderson, there’s a new breed of fabulous women who prove the menopause is no barrier to looking and feeling fantastic. But that’s not to say there aren’t a few challenges on the way. The menopause – defined as the moment when your periods stop – happens on average at the age of 51. But for most women, perimenopausal symptoms start around four years earlier, affecting your skin, hair and body. Hot flushes, dry skin, a thickening waistline and thinning hair are a few of the problems to be overcome. But with the right products and a few clever tricks, you can keep your cool (and still look pretty hot).

Skincare

HORMONAL CHANGES have an impact on your skin, so you may need some extra help keeping it clear and well moisturised. Here’s why…

• SPOTS AREN’T JUST FOR TEENAGERS In the perimenopause many women start suffering from breakouts again, particularly on the chin and jawline. This is due to androgens (so-called ‘male’ hormones, but women have them, too) becoming more dominant as oestrogen levels fall. One study found acne affected 26% of women aged 40 to 49, and 15% of women aged 50-plus. If it’s a problem for you, your GP can help with topical antibiotics or may suggest spironolactone, an oral medication that lowers your levels of androgens slightly. To give your skin a helping hand, opt for a cleansing gel with salicylic acid to clear pores and reduce inflammation.

• WOMEN’S SKIN LOSES ABOUT 30% OF ITS COLLAGEN during the first five years of menopause. This, says menopause specialist Dr Louise Newson, can leave skin ‘thinner, drier, itchy and less glowing’. Fight back with powerhouse ingredients to boost collagen production and radiance. A vitamin C or a peptide serum applied in the morning and a retinol cream with vitamin A at night are proven ways to increase collagen production and make skin thicker and more hydrated.

• MENOPAUSAL SKIN IS MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO UV DAMAGE, which leads to wrinkles and brown age spots. Wear a daily moisturiser or sunscreen with a minimum SPF30 in winter as well as summer. At night, you may need to switch to a richer moisturiser.

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About Healthy Food Guide

Should you try the latest fasting diets? Our dietitian examines their effectiveness for weight loss and better health and helps you pick the one for you. Our healthy kitchen makeover will get you in the zone for easier healthy cooking, with an ingredients checklist, storecupboard recipes, plus tips from Marie Kondo and Aggie MacKenzie. And inspiring stories for facing fitness phobias will get you into the pool, gym or class – and loving it.