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Davina McCall’s Top Tips For Perimenopausal and Menopausal Skin

Parched, wrinkled and a bit sad. Sounds like a lonesome raisin, but this was what Davina thought her skin looked like during perimenopause. “I love seeing people’s eyes crinkle when they smile, but the wrinkles that were staring back at me in the mirror in the mornings got me down,” she recalls. So she took action – hence the glowing skin we know her for today. If you’ve experienced the same, help is at hand: enter the undisputed queen of skincare, Caroline Hirons. Caroline is a globally qualified advanced aesthetician, has decades of experience in the skincare industry and when it comes to perimenopausal and menopausal skincare, she gets it. Here she explains why your skin is changing, and shares her easy, expert tips on what you can do to make it look and feel great again.

What’s Going On With My Skin During Perimenopause?

When the oestrogen levels start to  fluctuate during perimenopause, it can  have a knock-on effect on your skin. The  falling oestrogen will affect your skin’s  ability to retain ceramides, fatty acids  that help the skin lock in moisture.

Everyone’s skin reacts differently – you  might have no issues at all, but for many  women, perimenopause means being  prone to redness and spotty skin. When  I turned forty, I developed adult acne  out of nowhere. I had what I would call  the ‘heavy-duty’ spots that never come  to a head and linger like a volcano that  just wouldn’t erupt, especially around  the chin area.

Because your skin is literally becoming  thinner, you’ll also probably notice (and  this is the case from perimenopause  onwards) that it takes longer for the  skin to heal, so if you do get a spot, it’ll  take longer to go away. Your skin will  be slower to respond because it  doesn’t have the same receptors to  deal with spots, and this goes for cuts  or open wounds, which will probably  take longer to heal as well.

What to do about it?

Don’t jump on the latest trendy  ingredient or start buying a whole load  of products aimed at ageing skin. ‘Ageing  skin’ is about taking care of wrinkles,  but in perimenopause usually the main  things you need to address are redness  and spots.

Having said that, you don’t want to  aggressively treat your whole face by  throwing the kitchen sink at it. Please,  don’t attack your face! Sometimes  when women get spots they start  treating their skin like it’s the enemy.  Treat the areas where the spots are,  but not your whole face.

When I was perimenopausal I switched  from a heavier moisturiser to a lighter,  water-based one that penetrates  the skin more quickly. It felt a lot lighter and more comfortable on the skin.

Look for products with ceramides  and peptides. Peptides are amino acids  that can help boost dull and dehydrated  skin. Both ceramides and peptides are  a gentle way to keep your skin barrier in  check without being super-aggressive.

Menopause And Skin 

As you move into menopause, oestrogen  depletes further and your skin starts  to lose its tone and elasticity, leading  to wrinkles and jowls. If you find your  skin has switched from being spotty  to feeling tight and dry after cleansing,  it might be a sign of oestrogen falling  further and that you are heading closer to menopause.

And, to add fuel to the fire, it becomes  harder for your skin to retain moisture,  so you might find your skin switches  from spotty to dry, flaky and itchy and  you are left thinking, what the hell is this?

Because hormones are still fluctuating  as you enter menopause, you can get  the odd zinger of a spot, but in general  your skin tends to be drier and more  sallow-looking at this stage.

What To Do About It?

Unless it’s come on prescription from a medical professional, save your money and giave a wide berth to products that promise to stop hot flushes or that will ‘fix’ your menopausal skin.

If your skin is dry and dull-looking, the  key thing is getting moisture back in.  That doesn’t mean you have to go for a  really rich moisturiser (unless your skin is  feeling very dry and itchy), as something  water-based can work just as well.

Don’t go and spend a fortune on a clay  detox mask, do the opposite – look for  a hydrating mask. And if you’ve got a big  event coming up, a good facial oil can fix  a thousand sins very quickly.

Again, look for products with ceramides  and peptides. Think gentle and reassuring  products that aren’t going to throw  your skin into a hissy fit. For daytime,  menopausal skin will often respond well  to cleansing milks and creams, facial  mists and a good moisturiser – and  don’t skip a good SPF to protect your  skin! The general rule of thumb is that  if you can read a book outside in natural  light, then you need to use SPF. At night,  repeat your daytime routine, without  applying the SPF.

I also find that I’m not good with  active products anymore, like retinols.  My skincare barrier is permanently  depleted because of menopause, so it  doesn’t like a really strong retinol that  I would have been able to tolerate five  or ten years ago. The main thing is to  listen to your skin and what it can  cope with.

Extracted from Davina’s latest book Menopausing, published by HQ, priced £22.

Photo: Mark Hayman

For more tips to get your skin glowing head here

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