8 ingredients to glowing skin during menopause
12th Oct 2022
During the menopause, our skin goes through an array of changes including decrease in collagen levels, loss of elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles, dryness, thinning of the skin and problem skin. The good news is you can relieve some of these skin concerns with the right ingredients and skincare regime. During a period that can (but shouldn’t) be unnerving for women – knowing how to care for skin during the menopause and looking after overall wellbeing can make a big difference to how we feel about and experience the changes.
If you’re looking for supplements and ingredients for menopausal skin, we have rounded up some of the key nutrients for glowing, youthful skin. You should always speak to your doctor for medical support if you are, or think you might be, going through the menopause – especially if you’re concerned by or struggling with any of the symptoms you are experiencing.
- Hyaluronic acid and ceramides
Dry, itchy, and uncomfortable skin are some of the most common skin concerns during the menopause.
When levels of oestrogen fall, it affects the way our skin functions – some processes slow down, and others stop completely. One example of this is our natural production of hyaluronic acid, which slows down and levels drop in the skin.
Hyaluronic acid plays an important role in ensuring the skin stays hydrated and comfortable. Its molecules hold up to 1000 times their weight in water, binding moisture in the skin for a plump, hydrated complexion.
When levels fall during the menopause, it can make skin feel dry and uncomfortable – so replenishing this substance in skin can help to soothe, support and restore radiance.
Alongside hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate – ceramides help the skin to lock in moisture. These lipids form part of the skin barrier, which essentially keeps good things (such as moisture) in the skin and keeps bad things (like bacteria) out.
- Omega fatty acids
There’s a whole host of reasons that we love omegas – which is why we recommend them as a daily skin health essential. Their hydrating and soothing properties come packaged with an array of additional benefits for skin and wellbeing, and there’s a lot of exciting research investigating other possible ways that they benefit our health.
For menopausal skin, they are helpful for tacking the dryness, dullness and sensitivity that can occur, supporting the skin barrier. Dr Gaby Prinsloo, our medical director, explains. “Omega fatty acids are the cornerstone ingredient in the effective management of dry skin, as well as offering benefits to all other skin types,” she says. “They are essential for healthy cell membranes, which allow skin cells to retain water, as well as for maintaining a healthy stratum corneum [the top layer of our skin] and an effective skin barrier preventing excess water loss.”
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A is praised for its general benefits supporting and maintaining healthy-looking skin, and when menopause or perimenopause hits its role becomes even more important.
We often say that vitamin A helps to create a foundation of healthy skin. When things begin shifting during the menopause, vitamin A is an ingredient that can help to maintain normal skin function* and offset some of the changes occurring.
The vitamin is involved in the synthesis of hyaluronic acid and supports normal production of the moisture molecule in skin. It also lends a hand to our skin collagen, encouraging all our skin cells to perform their normal roles – this includes the cells that are involved in collagen formation.
Food sources that contain vitamin A are beef liver, salon, bluefin tuna and sweet potato.
- Vitamin C
Research shows that the collagen levels in our skin begin to fluctuate during the perimenopause and can drop by as much as 30% in the first five years after the menopause. After this, levels continue to decline by 1.13% per year. Lower collagen levels make for thinner, less firm skin and can fine lines and wrinkles can appear more visible.
Vitamin C is an ingredient known to play a role in the normal production of collagen**. It acts as a “cofactor” for collagen production – meaning that there must be vitamin C present for collagen to be able to be produced.
Vitamin C is one of a small number of vital nutrients that our body doesn’t make itself, and we get all the vitamin C needed from our diets. Citrus fruits, berries and broccoli are all good sources of vitamin C.
- COQ10 and pine bark
CoQ10 (Co Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10)– the secret ingredient for anti-ageing. As humans we make it, but CoQ10 does decline with age, so it’s important we replenish with this nutrient especially for our skin. Taken orally, CoQ10 is an effective anti-ageing ingredient. One trial showed significantly reduced wrinkles and improved skin smoothness after a 12-week course of CoQ10 supplements .You can find CoQ10 in chicken, beef, sesame seeds, pistachios, trout, oranges, and spinach.
Pine bark extract is also known for its anti-ageing affects. A study was conducted on postmenopausal woman and found that pine bark extract improved hydration and elasticity of the skin. The summary of the research suggests that pine bark extract may also increase the production of hyaluronic acid , which is found in many anti-ageing products.
- Beneficial bacteria
Microbiome science is one of the most exciting areas in skin science, and research continues to reveal new links between the biome and the body.
A specific group of bacteria in the gut is involved in processing and circulating oestrogen within the body, and when oestrogen levels fluctuate during the menopause, the diversity of our gut bacteria might be altered.
Maintaining a diverse, healthy gut microbiome is an important tool to maintain overall wellbeing and skin health.
Beneficial bacteria can help to encourage a healthy gut diversity. Alongside this, foods with live cultures – such as live yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso – can help to support the gut, in turn helping to support our skin and wellbeing.
Although the skin experiences many changes during menopause, the right ingredients and nutrients can give you the skin confidence during this unnerving period. Hyaluronic acid and ceramides, omega fatty acids, vitamin A, C CoQ10, pine bark and beneficial bacteria are the essential ingredients for skin health and glowing skin during the menopause.
*Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal skin
**Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation
- Estrogens and ageing skin. National Library of Medicine. M. Julie Thornton. April 2013.
- The effect The effect of dietary intake of coenzyme Q10 on skin parameters and condition: Results of a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Library of Medicine. Katja Žmitek,Tina Pogačnik,LiljanaMervic, Janko Žmitek,Igor Pravst, National August 2016.
- Pycnogenol effects on skin elasticity and hydration coincide with increased gene expressions of collagen type 1 and hyaluronic acid synthase in women. Karger. Marini A. Grether-Beck S, Jaenicke T. Weber M. Burki C, Formann P, Brenden H, Schonlau F, Krutmann I. 2012.