My friend Karen had always taken care of her skin. You know the sort of thing. Used good quality products, drank plenty of water, NEVER went to bed without taking off her make-up. She did absolutely everything by the book.
So nobody was more surprised than me – apart from maybe Karen herself – when she called one morning to tell me that she had found a pimple on her chin. Then she found another and another, until her forehead, nose and chin area were covered with an assortment of vicious looking spots, pimples and blackheads. Yes, she was suffering from the dreaded menopause acne.
Firstly, I think it is important to understand why menopause acne occurs in the first place.
Our skin is made up of thousands of sebaceous glands and each one produces sebum – which is a type of oil. The old skin cells are constantly dying off and renewing themselves, but the combination of the sebum and the dead cells can block the pores and cause pimples.
In the early stages of menopause, our estrogen levels may increase and this converts to testosterone – which creates even more nasty pore blocking oil.
Whiteheads get their name because they are actually filled with white pus and appear on the skin as a yellow, whiteish pimple. this is down to the bacteria – which lives off the oil – getting trapped along with the dead skin cells. This combination then turns into an infected spot.
Blackheads are similar, but they open slightly and the exposure to melanin turns them black.
These are the reasons why we suffer from menopausal acne and here are my top six remedies to get rid of it:
1. Practice relaxation techniques to reduce your anxiety levels and get your hormones under controls. They will have the added benefit of increasing your battered self-esteem and confidence.
2. Make sure that your diet includes plenty of fiber and calcium and keep your carbohydrate and sugar levels to a sensible level. Cakes are not your friend, as carbohydrates converts to insulin, which increases the amount of oil the skin produces.
3. Drink eight glasses of lovely, fresh water each day. Your skin and kidneys will thank you for it!
4. Exfoliate gently twice a week. Go easy on the scrubbing as being too heavy handed will stimulate the oil glands to produce even more oil. Acne is nothing to do with poor hygiene and so cleansing your face more than twice each day, will be of no benefit at all. Also tone and moisturise daily with fragrance free products.
5. Supplement your food intake with any vitamins and minerals that you feel may be lacking in your diet. This will not only boost your immune system but help to prevent excess oil.
6. Finally, if all this does not improve your acne, you may want to try a product that contains retinol.
Menopausal acne can really affect your confidence levels, but if these tips do nothing to improve your skin – I will be very surprised.