The importance of caring for your skin – think of it as a third kidney

As we leave sunny, cold April and walk into the marvellous month of May, I’m hoping the weather will warm up a little, and I can shed a few layers.  So, this month, it’s all about… skin!

Did you know:

  • Our skin is the boundary that protects us from harmful microbes and the elements.
  • It helps us to regulate our body temperature.
  • It enables our sense of touch. 
  • From the age of about 30 onwards we begin to lose collagen and this results in our skin ageing.
  • Collagen is responsible for keeping our skin hydrated, plump, strong and elastic. 
  • Oestrogen has an important part to play in the role of collagen and as oestrogen decreases our skin can become dryer and thinner, causing fine lines and wrinkles. 


How can we look after our skin during perimenopause and post menopause?

With age, our skin becomes increasingly fragile and so it is important to take even greater care of it. 

We all want radiant and youthful looking skin, but we also want healthy skin which doesn’t present problems for us as we get older.

Should I use sunscreen?

It’s important to use a sunscreen at all times of life, and especially during menopause. The recommendation is to use a high SPF sunscreen, applied regularly, SPF 30, to SPF 50 and one which protects against UVA and UVB rays. If dark spots appear, or you notice any differences to freckles, marks or moles on any part of your body, visit your GP and get these checked out.

Can a daily skin routine really make a difference?

Dr Christiane Northrup refers to the skin as a ‘third kidney’, because it removes the waste from the skin, as our kidneys remove the waste from inside our bodies. Cleansing, toning and moisturising regularly will help to keep our skin healthy and enable it to do its job. Avoid using abrasive cleansers and ones that contain alcohol, even if you have oily skin, as they can sometimes make oily skin worse and cause skin damage. A cream cleanser is good if your skin feels sensitive or is particularly dry. 

Cleansing, toning and moisturising both the face and neck every night before going to bed will allow your skin to rejuvenate itself while you sleep. 

Moisturising twice a day, once you’ve cleansed and toned will help to keep the skin hydrated. Try a light moisturiser under sunscreen during the day and a richer moisturiser at night. 

Exfoliating about once a fortnight helps to remove the layer of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, the epidermis. This layer helps to keep in moisture and oil but is constantly being shed as fresh cells push their way up. 

This process of shedding dead skin slows down as we age and so exfoliating the skin helps to get rid of this dead skin cell layer, open up the pores, and allow new skin cells to reach the surface. 

Does what we eat affect our skin?

Balancing hormones with what we eat can also help with the health of our skin, as well as alleviating other symptoms. Eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet enables the absorption of antioxidants which will help with anti-ageing from the inside out!

Avoid refined carbohydrates and increase your intake of fibre. Drink plenty of water – about eight glasses a day – you’ll soon notice a difference!

Taking a good multi-vitamin should provide you with sufficient levels and boost your intake of zinc, vitamin C and B vitamins – all important for healthy skin at menopause – alongside a healthy balanced diet. 

How does smoking and alcohol effect the skin?

Smoking, alcohol, and even using some household cleaners can all contribute to our skin looking dull and becoming inflamed or irritated. If you want a healthy glow as well as a healthy body on the inside, it’s worth considering changing what is not serving you well. 

Does exercising give us good skin?

Moving our bodies regularly and effectively increases blood flow which in turn helps to nourish the skin. So, find an exercise or movement that you enjoy and stick to it if you want to improve your skin’s elasticity and promote anti-ageing.

And finally …

Cleansing, toning, moisturising and exfoliating, doesn’t need to cost a fortune! This month, I have some recipes for your skin taken from Marilyn Glenville’s book Natural Solutions to Menopause.  Try these out for cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising your skin, and remember that cool water is a great toner and completely free!

Muslin face soak: Soak a muslin cloth in warm water laced with several drops of essential oil such as rose or lavender. Wring out and press to your face, inhaling the calming properties. The heat oxygenates and the cloth loosens dead skins cells.

Oatmeal skin scrub: Make a paste with a teaspoon of finely ground oatmeal (available from health food shops) and a little water. Use it to gently wash your face, avoiding the eye area.

Avocado mask: Mash and sieve an avocado then mix in a few drops of lemon juice (to stop it discolouring) and a teaspoon of liquid honey. Apply to skin leaving on as long as possible. It softens, moisturises and nourishes.

Treat yourself to a good pamper this bank holiday and step into summer – glowing from head to toe!

Helpful links:

Marilyn Glenville – supplements, books and more


Women’s Health Concern

Kathy Abernethy – Menopause Specialist Nurse

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