You’ve had your skincare routine down for years. You’ve got your favorite products, you wash your face before bed, you’re doing everything right. Then one day you wake up and it isn’t working anymore! You’re entering menopause and everything is changing. It’s so frustrating.
Skincare during menopause can be extremely challenging because of the many changes this time in your life brings to your skin. As hormone levels plummet, your skin can become dry, thin, and lose its elasticity. What’s more, declining estrogen levels speed up depletion of an already diminishing level of the collagen that supports the health of your hair, skin, and nails.
Menopause & Your Skin
Of course, menopause doesn’t happen overnight. The months leading up to menopause are known as perimenopause, a time when these changes to your hair, skin, and nails put their wheels in motion. I’ve been there and still notice these changes in my own skin.
While menopause is a natural part of your life, it doesn’t mean that you have to live with these uncomfortable side effects. With the right skincare during menopause, you can lessen the effects of menopause on your skin. Before I get to my tried and true solution, let’s discuss menopause, its signs and symptoms, and how it affects your hair, skin, and nails.
When Does Menopause Begin?
This menopause journey is a rocky road! Most people think of menopause as the time when a woman begins to transition out of her fertile period when she can conceive and bear children. In fact, you actually don’t reach menopause until you go 12 months without a menstrual period.
Perimenopause is the time where your body slows down the natural production of estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is responsible for promoting the physical changes that women experience during puberty; breast growth, maturation of the uterine lining, and regulation of the menstrual cycle. However, estrogen affects many bodily functions throughout your life; it increases good cholesterol, promotes bone formation, and improves the collagen content in your skin. As I mentioned earlier, these declining levels of estrogen in your body speed up the depletion of collagen, impacting your hair, skin, and nails. I’ll discuss this more in detail later.
The period before menopause lasts about four years in most women, however, it can take as little as 10 months or as long as 10 years. Perimenopause usually begins around the age of 45, however, it can begin as early as your mid-30s. For most women, menopause is reached at age 55. So how can you tell you’ve begun perimenopause?
Signs and Symptoms of Menopause
Not everyone experiences symptoms during perimenopause, and they can be subtle if you do. As you get closer to menopause, symptoms tend to get worse. Here are a list of symptoms you could experience during perimenopause:1
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Sleep problems
- Mood changes
- Weight gain and slowed metabolism
- Loss of breast fullness
- Thinning hair and dry skin
Signs and symptoms vary for each woman, however, it’s common for you to experience irregular periods during perimenopause. Remember, you’ve reached menopause after you’ve gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period. Now, let’s talk about your skin, hair and nails during menopause.
How Menopause Affects Your Hair, Skin, and Nails
Hair growth is dependent on estrogen. During your teenage years, when estrogen levels were at their highest, your hair grew faster and fuller. That doesn’t stop after you’ve finished puberty. However, as we get older our hair doesn’t grow as fast because of declining estrogen production. During menopause, hair loss and thinning is especially common in women as this is the period of sharpest decline in estrogen.2
There is more to the story. Studies show that hair loss during menopause is a direct result of a hormonal imbalance.3 The decrease in estrogen and progesterone that we experience triggers your body to produce androgens, a group of male hormones. Androgens are responsible for those pesky hairs that you may find growing on your face during menopause. However, androgens also make your hair follicles smaller, which results in hair loss on your head during perimenopause.4
Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to balance your hormones naturally and find relief from your symptoms. One of those steps is to remove hormone-disrupting chemicals that are often found in your personal care products and plastics. Most personal care products contain phthalates and parabens. These toxins wreak havoc on your hormones. That’s exactly why I decided to develop my own skincare line that’s absolutely free of chemicals and toxic ingredients. It’s the perfect, clean-beauty protection from harsh winters, and busy schedules to keep skin glowing all season long!
Estrogen and Your Skin & Nails
Estrogen is a superhero for your skin and nails! I’ve already told you that estrogen boosts collagen production in your skin. However, did you know estrogen also ensures your hair, skin and nails stay hydrated?
Estrogen and progesterone regulate water throughout your body to ensure your skin, hair, nails, organs, and every other tissue in your body is hydrated. So how do they do this? Estrogen and progesterone increase hyaluronic acid production in the skin. Hyaluronic acid supports water retention and the lubrication of your tissues to give your skin a youthful appearance.5
Therefore, as estrogen levels decline, not only does it speed up the depletion of your body’s collagen, it also lowers hyaluronic acid production. This is what leads to dry and itchy skin during perimenopause and menopause.
Hydration is also essential for your nails. Hydrated nails are healthy nails. The lack of water in your nails is the reason behind many cases of brittle, splitting, and fragile nails. In a healthy, hydrated person, 18% of the nail plate is composed of water. When this moisture level drops, the nails become brittle.6
The good news is that you can care for your hair, skin and nails during menopause to lower the effects declining estrogen levels have on your skin. The better news is that it’s largely in your control and is pretty simple to do. Drinking eight to twelve glasses of filtered water each day can help keep your skin and nails hydrated during perimenopause and menopause.
Collagen Production During Menopause
Your body naturally produces collagen, however, the speed it produces collagen begins to slow down in your late 20s. By age 40, collagen levels begin depleting faster than your body can produce it.7 As I’ve mentioned before, the decline of estrogen during perimenopause and menopause speeds up that depletion.
A woman’s skin loses 30% more collagen than men of the same age during the first five years of menopause. The decline is more gradual after those first five years. Every year, women lose about 2% of their collagen for the next 20 years after those first five.8 All this math simply means that the first five years are the most critical to keeping your hair, skin and nails strong.
The good news is that just as you can keep your skin and nails hydrated, supporting your collagen levels for menopausal skin is also in your hands.
What is Collagen?
The lack of natural collagen during menopause causes your skin to become looser and less elastic. You may also see more wrinkles and creases where your skin was once smooth and supple. You may also experience brittle nails, peeling, splitting, or breakage, and your hair could also begin to thin and become dry.
Think of collagen as the “glue” that holds your body together. In fact, the word collagen comes from the Greek word ‘kolla’ – meaning ‘glue’. It is the fibrous, structural protein found throughout your body that has many benefits for your skin, hair, and nails.
Type I Collagen & Your Skin
There are five types of collagen – Type I, II, III, V, and X. Type I collagen is the most important to your hair, skin, and nails. This is by far the most common type, accounting for 90% of your body’s total collagen.
Type I collagen is a big reason why our skin is so tough, yet flexible. Your skin consists of layers and is always regenerating new cells. The dermis layer of skin helps replace the top layer of dead skin cells with new ones.
What’s more, collagen supports hydration through the amino acids in it that help absorb water properly. This essential protein can help lessen the effects of perimenopause and menopause on your skin. So how do you get collagen if it’s depleting so fast? I’m about to tell you.
Skincare for Menopause
Because your collagen depletion is in overdrive during perimenopause and menopause, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough in your diet to compensate.
Collagen is naturally found in certain foods such as leafy greens, beets, wild-caught fish, free-range chicken, and grass-fed beef (bovine collagen). Bone broth is a fantastic source of bovine collagen because the collagen has been drawn out of bones.9 Bones are a great food source of collagen and are rich in minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
However, you can eat collagen-rich foods for every meal and still not get enough. That’s why I recommend using a collagen supplement. I’m about to let you in on my best kept secret that I use to keep looking young.
One of my classic products to get a daily dose of collagen is Collagen Protein. It’s a unique combination of amino acids in concentrated levels that promotes vibrant skin, hair, and nails by supporting rapid reproduction of blood cells for healing and conditioning of your skin.
This low molecular weight protein is easily digested in just minutes after consumption. It will not congeal in cold liquids because it has been hydrolyzed for quick assimilation and improved hydration of your connective tissue. This makes it so easy to add to your daily smoothie or just mix with water or juice!
Collagen Protein contains optimal levels of hydrolyzed Type I & Type III collagen, which supports your hair, skin, nails, especially during menopause as your collagen levels depletes. This type is sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised beef and is 100% non-GMO so you can be sure you aren’t adding to your toxic burden
Spectrum 5 Collagen™
If you’re looking for more of a whole-body boost, I recommend adding Spectrum 5 Collagen™ to your daily routine. Spectrum 5 Collagen™ is the first ever physician-formulated, complete collagen powder on the market and I was so excited to launch it earlier this year.
I personally formulated Spectrum 5 Collagen™ to contain optimal levels of Types I, II, and III collagen to facilitate optimal hair, skin, and nails, and cartilage formation. I also made sure it contained Type V Marine Collagen which supports healthy lean muscle, skin elasticity, and intestinal tissue integrity.
That’s not all – Spectrum 5 Collagen™ also contains the regenerative Type X collagen found in eggshell membranes to support skin hydration, flexible joints, and healthy inflammatory response. Type X is especially important during menopause since the decrease in estrogen will diminish your body’s ability to stay hydrated.
Both Spectrum 5 Collagen™ and Collagen Protein are easy to incorporate into your diet. I put one scoop into my smoothie or hot tea every morning. People are always asking me how I keep my skin looking great as I go through perimenopause (I’m approaching 52 after all!) and this is it! Collagen is key.
Perimenopause and menopause are natural parts of a woman’s life that come with many changes to our skin, hair, and nails because of the decrease in estrogen and depletion of collagen. Fortunately, you can reduce the effects menopause has on your hair, skin, and nails by adding collagen to your favorite beverage as part of your daily routine. It’s the best habit you’ll start this year.
- Menopause. Mayo Clinic. 2020.
- Menopause Hair Loss Prevention. Lisa Cappelloni . Healthline. 2019.
- Causes of Hair Loss in Women. WebMD. 2010.
- Androgenetic alopecia. Medline Plus. 2015.
- Estrogen and skin. An overview. M G Shah , H I Maibach. American journal of clinical dermatology vol. 2,3. 2001.
- How Dehydration Impacts Your Hair, Skin, and Nails. Arlington Dermatology. 2021.
- Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin. James Varani, Michael K. Dame, Laure Rittie, Suzanne E.G. Fligiel, Sewon Kang, Gary J. Fisher, and John J. Voorhees. The American journal of pathology vol. 168,6. 2006.
- Caring for your skin during menopause. The American Academy of Dermatology. 2021.
- The Best Way You Can Get More Collagen. Cleveland Clinic. 2021.