My magnifying mirror is the bane of my existence. If I didn’t need it to pluck my eyebrows, it would be in a landfill somewhere. I don’t need a reminder that I am almost 70 years old!
Menopause brings about many changes in the body’s functions, hormonal composition, and appearance. One of the more noticeable changes is the loss of your skin’s elasticity, characterized by loose, saggy “wattles” and deep wrinkles. This is due to a decrease in your body’s production of collagen and elastic fibers. Every year after menopause, it is estimated that the skin loses 0.55% of its elasticity. All this skin erosion starts during peri-menopause (the period of time before menopause) when estrogen levels decline, which decreases blood flow through the dermal capillaries in the skin. Because of this decrease in blood flow, fewer nutrients reach the skin’s surface. In turn, this slows the cell turnover rate and results in thinning of the outer layer of skin. Thinning of the skin is quite noticeable in people age 80 and over, with older people more prone to bruising.
So, what’s a menopausal woman to do?
1. Avoid sun exposure by using sunscreen, covering arms and wearing a wide-brimmed hat to protect the face. If you are out in the sun for long periods of time, reapply the sunscreen often.
2. Take a Vitamin A supplement and add eggs, dairy products, carrots and yellow veggies to the diet. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant and prevents damage from free radicals that break down skin cells and cause wrinkles.
3. Moisturize throughout the day. Seek the advice of a dermatologist as to the best product for your needs. (Don’t purchase products advertised in magazines or on TV. If you look closely at the models in these advertisements, they are not over 50, and a lot can be done with air brushing and Vaseline over the camera lens.)
Words I live by: don’t have close-up photos taken; stay in the shadows; avoid fluorescent lighting; and remove unnecessary mirrors in the home.