Don’t breakout during Menopause

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Are menopause breaks outs pushing you to breaking point?

Are you finding you keep getting unusual, teenage breakouts with angry pimples and are you finding it difficult to tackle them? This is a common menopause complaint, without many successful solutions. Products designed for fighting acne can sometimes irritate ageing skin, which is decreasing in oestrogen and becoming more sensitive, thinner and dryer.

So what actually causes adult acne? To help you, we’ve pinpointed some of the underlying issues that can contribute to menopause acne to help you to regain flawless skin.

Replenish your Antioxidants

During menopause hormone changes are drastically taking place, thus lowering the bodies’ ability to produce oestrogen, antioxidants, collagen, key nutrients and vitamins. This allows the skin to be attacked by free radicals causing oxidative damage to sebum. In simple terms this is when the sebum has less oxygen and the P.Acnes bacteria survives in low oxygen levels therefore increasing potential unusual breakouts and inflammation meaning raised red spots. Many other contributing factors relate to acne and pimple breakouts and with the higher than normal hormone imbalance it’s learning to find the problem and balance these hormones correctly.

Oestrogen Levels

The sharp decrease in oestrogen during ovulation and menstruation, pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause, and can also be caused by some contraception medications. It is during these periods of life that women are more likely to develop, or have worsening acne breakouts due to a huge change and imbalance in hormone levels.

Androgens

Hormones released from the adrenal glands, ovaries and testes. These play a major part in acne. Testosterone is an androgen hormone, typically found in men but is present in both men and women. It works with enzyme 5A Reductase to create Di-hydrotestosterone. This stimulates the sebaceous glands, increasing the sebum production and leading to oilier skin. As the follicles are filled with excess oil they become blocked more easily. The blockage of the follicle creates a pimple or acne breakout.

Testosterone impacts adult acne, specifically in adult women. When the female body is lacking estrogen there is often an increase in testosterone production. Testosterone increases keratin this binds with sebum and blocks the pores along with any bacteria and once again causing a swollen inflamed pore, leading to acne.

Polycystic ovary disease can also stimulate testosterone production so it is helpful to visit your doctor to check this is not the issue.

Inherited Symptoms

Acne can also be hereditary. If a parent had outbreaks, you could suffer with the same problem as an adult.Genes can influence how sensitive your skin is to hormones, so that similar levels of androgen hormones have different effects on acne-prone and healthy skin. Due to this, acne-prone skin produces more sebum and has faster rate of skin cell growth. Diet, lifestyle and environment all amend the individuals’ skin, hormone and cell balance.

Sleep

Lack of it plays a role in acne. The risk of psychological stress increases by 14% for every hour of sleep we lose a night. Sonia Badreshia-Bansal a Dermatologist in Danville, California, says “Stress increases glucocorticoid production, which can lead to abnormalities in skin structure and function, exacerbating conditions like acne.”

At night keep your room temperature cool, as research shows keeping the temperature to 65 – 72 degrees Fahrenheit makes it easier to fall asleep.

How to Improve Your Nutrition

Certain foods cause blood glucose to rise causing an insulin spike, therefore resulting in inflammation on a cellular level. Increased levels of insulin in the bloodstream trigger a hormone influx and endocrine response that can lead to the growth of poor clogging cells, as well as overactive oil gland activity. These include processed foods, sugar, white foods such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, chips, sweets, chocolate and pastries, and these foods also offer no nutritional value and can increase sebum production. Diets full of refined foods and low in fruits and vegetables also come up short of magnesium, an important mineral that helps to balance and reduce acne-inducing hormones. You should also be avoiding too much iodized salt which has been known to cause flares ups.

A balanced diet for healthy skin and helping prevent breakouts are and keeping hormones happy are foods consisting of–

  • Fish and omega-3 fish oil minimize inflammation in the body. Fish also contains many vitamins, including vitamin A and zinc, which are proven to help heal skin and minimize scarring.
  • Natural, wholesome, organic fruits and vegetables high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, and zinc assist in keeping skin beautiful, promote cell turnover and skin healing. Asparagus, spinach, peppers, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, papaya, mango, kale, grapefruit, tomatoes are all high in nutrients that contribute to healthy, balanced skin.
  • High-fiber foods, including oats, oat bran, fruits, vegetables, brown rice, and whole wheat bread and pasta are all high in fiber and other skin-loving vitamins and minerals.

Reduce Inflammation

Stress and once again sugar, processed foods, refined white foods such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and foods listed under nutrition heading for being a big NO in your diet.

Vitamin D is crucial so your skin will benefit from sunlight, so perhaps start some outdoor hobbies and help eliminate breakouts.

Although inflammation is part of the body’s immune response and helps us heal, if it becomes out of control it starts to damage the body and is thought to play a role in skin problems, obesity, heart disease and cancer.

A healthy diet is key as certain foods have amazing anti-inflammatory properties, such as –

  • Dark leafy greens – Vitamin E has been shown to play a key role in protecting the body from pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines and one of the best sources of dark green vegetable are spinach, kale and broccoli. Spinach contains carotenoids, which is one type of inflammation reducing antioxidant. Dark leafy greens contain high levels of calcium, iron and disease fighting phytochemicals than those with lighter coloured leaves.
  • Nuts – Inflammation fighting food due to vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly almonds, which are rich in fibre, calcium and vitamin E and walnuts, which have a high amount alpha linolenic acid, a type of mega 3 fat. All nuts though are packed with antioxidants, which can help your body fight off and repair the damage caused by inflammation.
  • Turmeric and Ginger – Turmeric contains curcumin, as substance that actively reduces inflammation & Ginger works in a similar way in lowering inflammation & some studies show reduces arthritic pain.
  • Oily fish – such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines, all high in omega 3 fatty acids which have been shown to reduce and combat inflammation.
  • Wholegrain – As it has more fibre which has been shown to reduce levels of C – reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in the blood, and they have less added sugar. Make sure wholegrain is the first ingredient listed and no added sugar.
  • Soy – Avoid heavily processed soy, as these contain additives and preservatives, instead soymilk, tofu and edamame (boiled soybeans) into your diet. Studies show that isoflavones, estrogen like compounds found in soy products may help lower CRP and inflammation levels in women.
  • Beets – Brilliant antioxidant properties and have shown to reduce inflammation and contain Vitamin C
  • Garlic and onions – These have shown to work in shutting off the pathways that lead to inflammation. Onions contain similar anti-inflammatory chemicals which breakdown to produce free radical fighting sulfenic acid.
  • Berries – Very high in vitamin C and important antioxidants
  • Hemp oil – Rich in fatty acids such as Omega 3
  • Cabbage – An anti-inflammatory and helps regulate blood sugar

Fight inflammation with a healthy diet and lifestyle changes and beat illness, disease, skin issues, fatigue and signs of ageing. Stratum C Menopause Spot Relief is also designed as an overnight treatment to help diminish the red spots caused during adult acne, as it targets the area of the spot only without drying out the rest of your skin.

Some other helpful hints and tips include…

Omega 3 – We love this fatty acid, studies have shown it to control the production of leukotriene B4, a molecule that can increase sebum and cause inflammatory acne. To gain more Omega 3 in your diet, eat essential foods such as walnuts, avocados, flaxseed oil and salmon as listed in skin nutrition above. If you choose to opt for supplements ensure you have eliminated processed foods and vegetable fats as you could cause inflammation with too much intake of Omega 3.

Exercise – this is not just good for weight loss but reduces stress, so regulates hormones, increases circulation that delivers the oxygen to skin cells and carries cellular wastes away and boosts the immune system. Stress has been found to be a contributor to production of acne during studies so by alleviating this is a huge bonus. But there’s a fine line as sweat from exercise can also lead to outbreaks via skin irritation. After exercise remove any perspiration and trapping garments such as sports bras, and shower immediately after workouts.

Water – Up your water intake as it flushes out toxins and hydrates from the inside out and helps boost blood flow throughout the body and skin. The body has to rid waste materials if the immune system is weak the body finds itself unable to fight toxic substances alone. This raises the levels of toxins and the inner detoxification system becomes fragile and in return causes breakouts.

SPF – Getting it right, you should always use an SPF on your face, though you may be concerned that it’s too thick or causes breakouts. It is important to always use sun protection or the skin becomes dry, therefore causing more spots in the long term. If you get burnt, the inflammation can aggravate acne lesions and pores, which could lead to further severe acne. If you’re prone to acne and pimple breakouts, look for lighter creams like Stratum C Protect cream, which are titanium dioxide and chemical free as, they won’t block pores or irritate skin. Always read the ingredients list and look for natural active ingredients listed at the top of the label. These natural ingredients will respond and understand your own skin, preventing irritation and inflammation and support protection.

Cleansing – Do this twice a day with a good quality cleanser like Stratum C Gentle Cleanser, high in active natural ingredients and a rich source of Vitamins such as A, C, E and D to gently cleanse, rejuvenate and repair. The skin on your face has the most oil producing glands than anywhere on your body, along with make up, dirt and smog, causing you have a huge amount of grime that will clog the pores and result in blackheads and pimples if not washed away carefully. Cleansing twice daily, morning and evening to prevent problematic skin and excess oil, will help to reduce spots. To reduce a pimple once it has arisen try Stratum C Menopause Spot Relief at night, just apply to the affected area and leave overnight – washing off in the morning. After just a few applications the pimple will be gone.

Some skin and hair care products, even those designed for acne prone skin, can cause outbreaks. Either they are oil based so cause further oily blockages or are too harsh for sensitive, thin skin causing inflammation and then outbreaks. It is important to find the right products that work for you, and are suitable for your skin type.

In a nutshell, so to speak…

The answer is simple. We need to balance our hormones, by maintaining our optimum level of vitamins and nutrients with a healthy nutrition plan, sleep well, exercise, skincare range with optimum levels of active ingredients and learn to relax!

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MenoPAUSE to Relax

You’re not alone

One of the first points to remember with anxiety is you are not alone. Thousands of women during every time of their life, face anxiety in many different forms, everyday. Hormonal upheaval is something us ladies face throughout various stages of our lives without a rest. During menopause this feeling is exaggerated with a huge, sudden decrease in oestrogen and progesterone. Menopause is still often perceived and talked about in a rather taboo manner, and from the moment we learn it exists, is it any wonder we get anxious? Alongside controlling this outburst of manic hormones, running a home, working and trying to keep up with hobbies & exercise, do we actually have time to breath, unwind, not feel guilty for sitting down and having ‘me time’?

Questions?

How to come down from this feeling? How do we control it? What is going to work for you and how do you know it will work? You are likely to end up feeling anxious just figuring out how to solve your anxiety!

Take time to think…

Try to take a step back from a situation you are finding stressful. Ask yourself if it is worth the upset, is it really such a major problem? Sometimes if we step back, take a walk and assess the situation we may find the problem is smaller than we initially thought.

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So sit back, relax and breath using these breathing techniques

Become familiar with your own breathing patterns, which can often become disrupted by changes in your emotions. When you’re anxious, your voice may become high pitched, breathing may become erratic and you may find yourself holding your breath. This is because you’re tense. To help cope with stressful situations, it is good practice to become aware, and try to be more mindful when this is taking place. You can relax.

A few easy exercises to try are listed below, which will be most effective in a quiet location, without distraction and in a comfortable position. These will help you find time in your schedule to relax and take some ‘me time’, enabling you to recount your thoughts and slow your body and mind to a more comfortable pace.

Rhythmic breathing: If your breathing is short and hurried, slow it down by taking long, slow breaths. Inhale slowly then exhale slowly. Count slowly to five as you inhale, and then count slowly to five as you exhale. As you exhale slowly, pay attention to how your body naturally relaxes. Recognizing this change will help you to relax even more.

Deep breathing: Imagine a spot just below your navel. Breathe into that spot, filling your abdomen with air. Let the air fill you from the abdomen up, then let it out, like deflating a balloon. With every long, slow exhalation, you should feel more relaxed.

Visualised breathing: Find a comfortable place where you can close your eyes, and combine slowed breathing with your imagination. Picture relaxation entering your body and tension leaving your body. Breathe deeply, but in a natural rhythm. Visualize your breath coming into your nostrils, going into your lungs and expanding your chest and abdomen. Then, visualize your breath going out the same way. Continue breathing, but each time you inhale, imagine that you are breathing in more relaxation. Each time you exhale imagine that you are getting rid of a little more tension.

Progressive muscle relaxation: Switch your thoughts to yourself and your breathing. Take a few deep breaths, exhaling slowly. Mentally scan your body. Notice areas that feel tense or cramped. Quickly loosen up these areas. Let go of as much tension as you can. Roll your head in a smooth, circular motion once or twice. (Stop any movements that cause pain!) Roll your shoulders forward and backward several times. Let all of your muscles completely relax. Recall a pleasant thought for a few seconds. Take another deep breath and exhale slowly. You should feel relaxed.

Relax to music: Combine relaxation exercises with your favorite music in the background. Select the type of music that lifts your mood or that you find soothing or calming. Some people find it easier to relax while listening to specially designed relaxation audio tapes, which provide music and relaxation instructions.

References for breathing techniques: http://www.webmd.com

Yoga 

Increased strength, flexibility, balance and improved breathing and posture contribute to a healthier outlook on life. There have also been studies that show how yoga can help improve concentration by calming the mind and allowing you to focus. What a perfect way to relax, exercise and meet like minded people.

Meditation

Calming yourself down is important, we can’t sustain stressful levels over a long period of time, this could cause other unhealthy factors. Learn to calm your heart rate and make quiet, all the stress running through your mind.  Switch off and visualise a peaceful place, put yourself in that peaceful place and think positive thoughts. This will encourage your heart rate to slow down and the intervals between each heart beat become smooth, hence giving you a calm & clear mind.

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Tips to meditate

You don’t always need candles, soft music playing, a formal class and someone asking you to visualise a scenario.  Just take a few minutes in the morning with your breakfast, ten minutes at lunchtime or a moment to yourself in bed at the end of the day.

Breakfast moment

Close your eyes breath in through your nose and out through your mouth a few times, think happy thoughts and prepare for a positive day.

Lunchtime meditating 

Stretch your muscles before sitting down, breath again as per breakfast meditation and before digging in to your lunch spend a few moments doing nothing just relaxing and leaving the mornings stresses behind. Pay attention to what you’re eating, eat slower, enjoy and taste the food. This will not only slow down rushing and making anxiety worse but prevent bloating and uncomfortable gas which can rear its ugly head during menopause.

Bedtime

Firstly use the breathing techniques you have learnt and once you’re feeling relaxed and switched off from the days events, don’t just try and fall straight to sleep. Focus instead on your toes and gradually move all the way to your head focusing on each body part. Relax each muscle completely like you’re powering it down until you feel that you are part of the bed and then slip into a more relaxed sleep.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy 

CBT is on of the most helpful and supportive anxiety cures. It can help you understand your own individual stress patterns and ways to control them. Useful self help guides can now be found online to walk you through your own personal treatment plan to make life even easier.

Trigger points and exercise

Find out what triggers are most likely to be causing your attacks. It is often useful to keep a diary because knowing when or how your anxieties are set off will give you peace of mind in managing anxiety. Try to reduce your caffeine intake and exercise on a regular basis, eat healthily, have enough consistent sleep and carry out at least 2 of the relaxation and breathing exercises per day.

Hormonal change can be a very confusing time, you must remember to take time out for you and live a healthy lifestyle. Just remember, you’re not alone. These new periods of anxiety are simply down to the new changes in your body, and so it is important to keep a positive outlook and don’t be afraid to reach out.