If you`re suffering from acne AND menopause, you have my sympathies.
Menopause can cause a dip in confidence at the best of times. Your body starts behaving in ways that you never expected or experienced before – hot sweats, bloating, incontinence! Which is enough to knock anyone sideways. But then you look in the mirror one morning and you can see the first signs of a breakout. I don`t mean a few harmless pimples here and there, but blackheads, whiteheads and small pustules. The type where your skin looks like a ripe tomato and a new blemish seems to pops up every couple of minutes. I can tell you that it`s a horrible experience.
Your first response may be to rush out and buy the strongest medication that you can lay your hands on, and if you have really bad acne, that may be necessary, but before you do that why not try to control your breakout without visiting the pharmacist.
Acne affects menopausal women more than you may imagine, in fact it`s quite a common problem. And unlike teenagers, who are warned about the dangers of eating sweet, greasy foods, for us older ladies, things are not quite so simple.
As with almost all menopausal symptoms, it`s those pesky hormones estrogen, testosterone and progesterone that are mainly responsible for our less than perfect complexion. They fluctuate greatly as our body goes through the menopausal changes and consequently, we experience all of the associated menopause symptoms.
I was fortunate, in that I had worked in the cosmetic industry for many years and so my skin care routine was impeccable. I had always insisted on natural products, with no added color or fragrance (and animal friendly), that may cause an allergic reaction. I drank plenty of water and never went to bed without removing every last trace of make up. As I got older, I changed only my moisturizer and made sure that it was rich enough to nourish my skin, but did not clog the pores. I also exfoliated weekly without fail, which many women do not do, but which does make a big difference as the dead skin cells do not slough off as efficiently on mature skins. This not only makes the skin look dull, but the dead skin cells will block the pores and cause spots.
It is a not true to say that acne is caused because people fail to wash their faces often enough. Too much cleansing or scrubbing the skin harshly can make acne worse.. The best way to cleanse the face is to gently wash it twice daily using a mild cleanser. Be careful to remove make-up without harsh scrubbing.
If you do find yourself in the grip of menopausal acne, don`t be tempted to buy the strongest cleanser possible and literally try to dry out every last bit of oil on your skin – as this would be counter productive and leave you with flaky skin which still had pimples. Cleaning away all of the surface oils doesn’t help menopausal acne, as it starts under the skin
Of course, it goes without saying, that no matter how tempting, don’t pick or squeeze your spots because you can cause infection and the skin will certainly become red. By stressing and being self-conscious, you will only draw attention to yourself and stress can, in fact also trigger an acne breakout. Worrying and fretting about your face, affects your hormones and will not help your emotional state – or your skin.
In time, the acne will improve and eventually disappear completely. But in the meantime – apart from trying to maintain a sense of humor – here are a few other suggestions to help combat menopausal acne.
* Practice relaxation techniques
* Drink plenty of water
* Use gentle products that won`t aggravate your skin
* Speak to your doctor about stopping hormone replacement therapy if you think it is the cause of your acne
* GENTLY exfoliate twice a week
* Exercise will get the blood pumping, increase your oxygen intake – and help improve your complexion.
….And did I mention retaining a sense of humor always helps?