Top 10 naturopath tips for the best skin during peri-menopause and menopause
Menopause and the period leading up to it, peri-menopause, bring about significant changes to our body, skin and our mood. With menopause a little less taboo, it is still alarming that very few women are talking about or feel empowered to address their menopause symptoms. A study of 1,039 women ages 40 to 65 across the United States, showed that nearly one-third of women never sought information about menopause before they experienced it and most women (over 73%) were not currently addressing their menopause symptoms.
Here I share my top 10 tips for improving your skin and navigating changes to your skin health during menopause.
10 Naturopathic Beauty Tips for menopause and peri-menopause
We are all familiar with hot flushes and redness, however there can be more significant changes to our skin during peri-menopause and menopause. Skin changes can start in our mid 40s as our progesterone levels tend to fall. Skin may become more dry and flakey. As our oestrogen levels start to drop as well, our skin may lose some of its spring and bounce. Some statistics show that we may lose over one third of our collagen in the first five years of menopause. During peri-menopause as oestrogen levels start to decrease relative to testosterone, we can also start to experience breakouts and acne. Incorporating high quality bio-active formulations will keep your skin looking and feeling firm, bouncy and beautiful.
1. Nurture dry skin
Dry skin can easily be combated by focusing on a trio of ingredients that attract water into the skin (humectants), trap water in (occlusives) and build a strong skin barrier (barrier repair ingredients). This will keep skin firm, hydrated and bouncy, no botox required! To incorporate this powerful trio of ingredients in your skincare regime, I recommend using our No.3 Exotic Goddess Ageless Serum which contains medium molecular weight hyaluronic acid, along with plant-based Vitamin C from bio-active Australian native ingredients. Our Coco Bliss Intensive Repair contains powerful occlusives including Coco and Shea butter to trap water in along with ceramides to fortify the skin barrier.
2. Collagen boosters
Look out for ingredients in your skincare which will counter forces working again bouncy skin. Incorporate plant-based C, plant collagen boosters, Vitamin E, bakuchiol and hyaluronic acid. One of my favourite collagen boosting ingredients is known as Col-frag, this powerful active ingredient is created using a unique fermentation process, which transforms sugar into a molecule that mimics type 1 human collagen, with clinically proven skin boosting and firming benefits. You will find this in our Plant Collagen Plumping Serum.
3. Plant based retinol
Depleting collagen and skin cell turnover mean retinol formulations are a must during peri-menopause and menopause! But using a conventional retinol can further exacerbate skin redness, dry skin and a weak skin barrier. Enter Bakuchiol, a milder plant based active with a proven ability to decrease wrinkle surface and hyperpigmentation without all the side effects of retinol. Ensure you are using a high quality bakuchiol formula. We use Sytenol in our formulas, this pure high quality active has both protective and restorative line age-defying benefits, therefore it can be used to fight the first signs of skin losing some plumpness and firmness, but also to improve the quality of the skin that has already been photo-damaged.
4. Don’t forget SPF50
Fluctuations in our hormones, starting in our 40s and even earlier for some of us, can make us even more susceptible to pigmentation. Furthermore, with over 90% of visible changes in our skin attributable to sun damage, it is now the time to start your sunscreen routine! Opt for a natural physical sunscreen, as chemical sunscreens can make sensitive skin and redness worse!
5. Forbidden list
Avoiding the use of certain ingredients can ensure you are not counteracting the good work you are doing with your skincare routine:
Acids – Avoid formulas with glycolic acid, lactic or salicylic acid (over 0.5%) as this can weaken your skin barrier further causing more dryness and pigmentation. Toners – Avoid toners with astringent ingredients like witchhazel and alcohol along with exfoliants, which may increase skin redness, dryness and irritation. Conventional retinol – Often the first product specialists recommend for mature skin, but when used incorrectly or even when used in the right way, can make skin more dry and also exacerbate pigmentation.
Foaming cleansers - Ensure you are using a cleansing milk with hydrating ingredients like nourishing oils and avoid anything that foams too much. Even natural ingredients with foaming action can alter your skin microbiome, making skin sensitivity worse.
Synthetic Vitamin C – Ascorbic acid can make skin more dry and irritated. Switch to a plant based C which has all the collagen boosting benefits of Vitamin C without the irritants.
6. The right fats
Consuming healthy fat which each meal is a great way to ensure you are replenishing skin moisture levels from the inside out, that you are ensuring you have enough fats for hormone synthesis (the building blocks of our hormones) and that are simultaneously reducing inflammation levels via their Omega 3 content. I recommend having one serving of each of the below fats daily:
Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
Avocado – ¼-1/2 daily
Walnuts – 8 walnuts or about 30 grams
Flaxseed oil - 1 tablespoon
I also recommend supplementing with a high-quality evening primrose oil and plant-based Omega 3 (fish oils can be high in mercury or oxidised meaning you need more antioxidants to counter the Omega 3 content you will find in them!).
Phytoestrogens are poorly understood by most, however by understanding their hormone balancing impact it makes sense to start incorporating them into our diet. Phytoestrogens behave like “oestrogen modulators”, balancing our own oestrogen levels if we are low or have high levels. They can alleviate menopause symptoms and help to level out the decline in oestrogen that we experience during peri and menopause. I recommend incorporating 1 serve of each of the below phytoestrogen food groups daily into your diet:
Flaxseeds – Flaxseeds are rich in a unique phytoestrogen called lignans. Aim for 2 tablespoons daily mixed into your smoothie or breakfast.
Tempeh or Edamame – Rich in soy isoflavones, both edamame and tempeh are some of the highest phyto-oestrogen rich foods. I recommend fermented tofu (tempeh) and edamame beans as compared to more processed tofu and soy milk.
Sesame seeds – The humble sesame seed is surprisingly one of the highest sources of phytoestrogens! Incorporate into your diet via tahini or add to salads and homemade crackers or bread.
8. Collagen boosting foods
When it comes to collagen boosting activity, what we put on the inside is just as important as what we put on the outside. My preferred way to boost collagen in the body is by providing the body with all the building blocks it requires for natural collagen production. This includes plant-based C (not ascorbic acid), amino acids and silica. For plant-based C, I love Australian native ingredients along with Hibiscus. You will find these in our Native Collagen Powder. When incorporating amino acids into your diet, look for organic sprouted protein and whole food protein from legumes and grains. If you are not getting enough natural protein in your diet, consider supplementing with an organic sprouted protein from rice or pea. We use both in our Complexion Protein+ Powder, also fortified with Hyaluronic acid to increase its skin plumping and boosting benefits. Whilst marine and bovine collagen supplements are recommended for their skin and youth boosting benefits, I advise my patients to look at how processed they are (normally they come from fish scales or cow hides), how clean the ingredient source is and also whether they are from a sustainable source.
The oestrobolome is becoming more recognised as an important regulator of our hormone oestrogen. By keeping our gut healthy and fibre levels in check, we can ensure that our body is removing unwanted oestrogen and re-uptaking desirable oestrogen. Cruciferous vegetables, prebiotics, fermented foods and whole grains, in addition to the phytoestrogens listed above, are important when it comes to keeping this part of our gut microbiome in check. My top 3 recommendations for a healthy oestrobolome include having 1-2 serves daily of each food group below:
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cauliflower)
Whole grains (oats, rye and barley are preferred sources)
Prebiotic rich foods (garlic, asparagus, apples, dandelion greens).
Ensuring your liver and gut are kept in check ensures your oestrobolome is functioning optimally, as the liver is facilitating the removal of unwanted hormones and the gut microbiome is in check. I recommend doing a regular Gut and Liver Reset with our Skin + Gut Renew Powder and Skin + Liver tablets every 3 months.
10. Hot flush remedy
Essential oils such as peppermint, clary sage and chamomile are helpful when it comes to calming the skin and providing some relief from hot flushes. Blend 5 drops of each oil and add into 60mls of distilled water. Decant into one of your empty tone mist spray bottles! Spray as you need to.
To summarise, here is my inside and outside prescription for looking and feeling good during menopause!
Skincare routine – Use AM and PM in the below order
No.1 Belle Frais Cleansing Milk
Plant Collagen Plumping Serum or Turmeric Brightening Serum (if you are experiencing breakouts)
No.3 Exotic Goddess Ageless Serum
Beauty Reset Drops
Coco Bliss Intensive Repair Crème or Sleeping Beauty Purifying Mousse (just two nights a week to keep breakouts at bay).
Native Collagen Powder – 1 teaspoon daily in water or smoothie
Complexion Protein+ Powder – 1 tablespoon daily in plant based milk, water or smoothie
Inner Essentials Duo (listed below) – use for 1 month every quarter to keep gut and liver in check
Inner Essentials Skin + Gut Renew Powder – 1 scoop daily in water or smoothie Inner Essentials Skin + Liver Cleanse Tablets – 1 tablet with breakfast and dinner Evening Primrose Oil – 1,000-2000 IU daily
Incorporate the below foods into your diet on a daily basis:
Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
Avocado – ¼-1/2 daily
Walnuts – 8 walnuts or about 30 grams
Flaxseed oil - 1 tablespoon
Phytoestrogen rich foods
Flaxseeds – 2 tablespoons daily
Tempeh or Edamame – 1 serve daily
Sesame seeds – 1 tablespoon tahini or 2 tablespoons sesame seeds daily
Oestrobolome balancing foods
1 -2 serves of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cauliflower)
1-2 serves of healthy grains e.g., oats, quinoa or brown rice
1-2 serves of prebiotic rich foods e.g., asparagus, globe artichoke, onion garlic
1 serve of berries
Ensure you are enjoying healthy plant-based protein with each meal, and avoiding alcohol, processed foods and sugar as much as possible!