Menopause and Your Looks

The naked truth on how declining hormones can affect your appearance — and what you can do about it.

By Christine Fellingham

Clue # 1:

You’ll Know It’s Menopause When… Geez—is that a chin hair? Higher testosterone means hair starts sprouting in traditionally masculine spots, such as the chin and upper lip.

That’s Because… Higher testosterone means hair starts sprouting in traditionally masculine spots, such as the chin and upper lip.

So Consider… VANIQUA. Use this facial hair growth inhibitor twice a day and you’ll produce less hair. Lasers may work too.

Clue # 2:

 

You’ll Know It’s Menopause When… Every symptom of aging shows up at once. Overnight, your skin looks drier, rougher, more wrinkled.

That’s Because… Skin cell turnover slows. The lack of fresh, plump cells means your epidermis becomes less pliant, more dry and more wrinkled.

So Consider… RENOVA. This prescription vitamin-A derivative speeds cell turnover and collagen production. Exfoliation helps too.

Clue # 3:

You’ll Know It’s Menopause When… You get a sunburn in the time it takes to walk the dog.

That’s Because… Skin’s production of the pigment melanin declines. You also get too much pigment in some areas; not enough in others.

So Consider… DAILY SUNSCREEN. An SPF above 30 is nonnegotiable now. Lighten splotches by mixing hydroquinone with Renova.

Clue # 4:

You’ll Know It’s Menopause When… You’re getting pimples… again.

That’s Because… Your oil glands produce less, but it’s thicker and more likely to clog pores, creating cystlike bumps on the lower third of the face.

So Consider… SALICYLIC ACID. This over-the-counter ingredient zaps pimples without over-drying. Or try Renova or azelaic acid.

Clue # 5:

You’ll Know It’s Menopause When… The slightest bump gives you a humongous bruise.

That’s Because… Collagen loss weakens blood vessels; plus, your thinner, less resilient skin is creating less of a cushion around the vessel walls.

So Consider… VITAMIN K. Applied topically, it can help resolve bruises one to two days earlier. Renova also helps bolster skin.

Clue # 6:

You’ll Know It’s Menopause When… You glimpse your scalp shining through your graying hair.

That’s Because… The increase in testosterone relative to estrogen results in male pattern baldness. Hair grays due to melanin loss.

So Consider… ROGAINE. Use the highest percentage you can get—and that’s the men’s extra-strength formula. The earlier you start, the better.

Clue # 7:

You’ll Know It’s Menopause When… You lean on your hand and your face looks rumpled, like an unmade bed.

That’s Because… Production of collagen, which gives skin resilience, drops dramatically at menopause.

So Consider… HORMONES. Women who took them for five years had fewer wrinkles and more elastic skin. Or, make peace with your mirror!

Originally published in More magazine, December 2005 / January 2006.

First Published Mon, 2009-04-06 18:03

Find this story at:

http://www.more.com/health/perimenopause-menopause/menopause-and-your-looks