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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!