The Latest Science Behind Menopausal Skin Care

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Menopause, a pivotal phase in a woman’s life, has long been shrouded in mystery. Every day in the United States, approximately 6,000 women enter menopause, totaling over 2 million women each year. Considering the average life expectancy of 81 years, women spend more than one-third of their lives experiencing menopause, yet it remains a topic rarely discussed. Despite its impact on skin health, there has been a glaring lack of understanding and research in this area. However, this is beginning to change with more findings shedding light on what is needed to maintain healthy, bright and plump skin.

At the American Academy of Dermatology conference in San Diego, Clare O’Connor, senior research scientist for No7, shared data that illuminated the brand’s commitment to understanding skin at all stages of life. What began as an exploration into aging skin between 40 and 60 years old led to a serendipitous discovery: the profound changes occurring in menopausal skin. As O’Connor shared, “Our findings in menopause were almost a happy accident—an amazing discovery.”

The brand has published two peer-reviewed scientific papers exploring how menopausal skin behaves. Their research uncovered a dearth of knowledge surrounding menopausal skin. Central to their approach was the inclusion of diverse participants, including women of all skin tones and menopausal stages. Over 7,000 menopausal women were engaged in co-creating No7’s menopause range, ensuring that the products catered to the diverse needs of women experiencing this transition.

What Happens to Skin During Menopause

But what exactly happens to the skin during menopause? Beverly Hills, CA dermatologist Tess Mauricio, MD shares that hormonal changes, particularly declining estrogen levels, play a pivotal role in skin aging. “Studies indicate that women may lose up to 30 percent of their collagen within the first five years of menopause, leading to thinning, dryness  and increased wrinkles.”

Women who reach menopause—defined as 12 consecutive months without menstruation—are considered postmenopausal. “However, the perimenopausal period varies greatly among individuals and can occur as early as the late 30s or in the 40s,” says Dr. Mauricio. “During this phase, women may experience symptoms such as skin dryness, changes in skin quality, texture, irritation, thinning, wrinkles, discoloration and pigmentation issues, prompting them to seek advice from dermatologists.”

An Interesting Finding on HRT

The research revealed striking disparities in skin characteristics between menopausal women undergoing Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and those who were not. “We could see that there was a difference in the dermal changes, but what we weren’t necessarily expecting to see was so many epidermal changes,” O’Connor said. Specifically, the study showcased a thinning of the epidermal layer in menopausal women, indicative of common skin concerns like dullness and rough texture.

However, the introduction of HRT offered a transformative response. O’Connor elaborated, “Among women on HRT, the epidermal layer thickened again, and the stratum corneum reverted to a more compact state.” These observations illuminated the pivotal role of estrogen in skin health during menopause. She underscored, “Estrogen itself is very antioxidant and very anti-inflammatory,” highlighting its multifaceted benefits for skin rejuvenation.

Furthermore, differences in ceramide levels were observed, contributing to dryness and scaling in menopausal skin. These findings uncover the underlying mechanisms of menopausal skin aging and highlight the potential benefits of HRT in addressing these changes.

What Makes Menopausal Skin Care Special?

Armed with these findings, No7 formulated a range of products tailored specifically for these skin changes. The Menopause line features ingredients like peptides, hyaluronic acid and phytoestrogens to address collagen loss, dryness and other menopausal skin concerns. 

To counteract these changes, look for certain types of formulations. “Ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin and ceramides are essential for retaining moisture and restoring skin barrier function,” says Dr. Mauricio. “Look for moisturizers, serums and creams specifically formulated for mature skin, emphasizing hydration and collagen support.” 

BUY NOW – $38

If you don’t know where to start, Dr. Mauricio recommends the Menopause Skin Care Instant Radiance Serum ($38), enriched with hyaluronic acid and peptides and equipped with a cooling applicator. The range also includes a Nourishing Overnight Cream ($38) and Firm & Bright Eye Cream ($29), both designed to address specific menopausal skin issues.

She emphasizes the importance of open dialogue about menopause-related skin changes. “We need to demystify menopause and remove the taboo surrounding it.” She believes in advocating for education and awareness to empower women during this life transition. Dr. Mauricio adds, “It’s really amazing what No7 has been able to put together. It’s crucial to discuss these topics openly to address misconceptions and provide support for women experiencing menopausal symptoms.”

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