Best beauty tips for keeping your glow through menopause

Menopause can bring a list of physical and emotional symptoms, but did you know it can also affect your skin and hair? Here’s how to adjust your beauty routine.

As far as life stages go, menopause – and the lead-up to it, called perimenopause – comes complete with more than its fair share of possible symptoms, from hot flushes and mood swings to body aches and pains.

If you are in this life phase and have noticed that, on top of everything else, your skin has become dry and lacklustre, there’s a good chance you’re not imagining it. 

Research published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology last year suggests that as oestrogen levels fall due to menopause, the skin’s top layer, the epidermis, gets thinner while the skin barrier gets thicker.

The UK-based researchers say this is one explanation for skin often becoming less elastic and more lax around menopause, as well as drier, duller and more sensitive.

As menopausal skin becomes the focus of research, menopausal skin care has been identified by industry commentators as a key skincare trend to watch this year.

Several big-name skincare brands have already jumped on board, formulating and releasing lines dedicated to this life stage.

It’s a move that makes sense to Wonder Sydney skin therapist Poppy Jeffery.

“Throughout the years, we always need to be changing our skin care to adapt to our skin’s current needs,” Poppy says.

“As we hit perimenopause or postmenopause, oestrogen levels drop and we lose collagen, and what would have been the ideal skincare routine during our earlier years may now need changing.” 

Smart skin care during menopause

There are plenty of things you can do to support and look after your skin at this time of mid-life change.

1. Choose your cleanser wisely

“Avoid irritating or ‘active’ cleansers – for example, foaming cleansers,” Poppy says. 

Instead, she suggests using a cleansing milk or balm as “these are much gentler and nourishing on the skin and won’t strip it of its natural oils.” 

2.  Keep exfoliating (with one caveat) 

“When it comes to exfoliating, do it – but don’t overdo it,” Poppy says.

Exfoliating removes dry, dead skin cells from the skin’s surface to help combat dullness. 

One way to ensure you don’t overdo it is to use an enzyme (or chemical) exfoliant rather than a manual exfoliant, which contains tiny particles that physically scrub your skin.

“Manual exfoliants can be aggressive and harsh,” Poppy says. 

“In contrast, enzyme exfoliants gently remove the dead skin cells from the skin’s surface.”

3. Add some serums 

If your skincare routine has been serum free, it may be worth reconsidering. 

“Serums are one of the most vital skincare steps, because they deliver active ingredients to our skin,” Poppy says.

There are many different active ingredients to consider at this life stage, including retinol, niacinamide and peptides, but Poppy says vitamin C is a good place to start.

“Topical vitamin C is a crucial antioxidant for protecting your cells against the effects of free radicals,” she says. 

Some actives shouldn’t be used together, so seek advice before mixing and matching products.

4. Rethink your moisturiser 

“Due to the skin becoming thinner and drier, use a rich moisturiser that will aid in restoring lost elasticity,” Poppy advises.

Look for one that features ceramides as an ingredient – a class of fatty acids that are naturally present within the skin and help keep it supple. 

The 2022 UK study found menopause causes ceramide levels to fall, with the researchers identifying it as a particularly valuable skincare ingredient for this life stage.

Another top tip? “Add a few drops of facial oil into your moisturiser if you want to make it even richer,” Poppy says. 

5. Use targeted treatments

In-clinic treatments your thing? Wonder Sydney cosmetologist and skin expert Claudia Fabiani recommends treatments that both lift and hydrate.

“The star treatment for this is mesotherapy,” Claudia says.

“A combination of electroporation and a laser transdermal microchip – so it’s needle free – this technology infuses targeted active ingredients directly into the dermis, resulting in plump, lifted and hydrated skin.” 

Menopause make-up

Changing your skin care to complement menopause is key, but it’s worth making some strategic adjustments to your make-up routine, too. 

If you’ve noticed more wrinkles and fine lines, Hair Beauty Life co-founder Lyndle Bryan recommends avoiding “shimmer”.

“We don’t want to add shimmers in eye shadows and blushers, as these tend to enhance the appearance of lines and wrinkles,” Lyndle says.

“Instead, use matte-based eye shadows and blush – although I do love using a stick blush on more mature skin, as it gives a nice dewy finish, considering another issue tends to be dryness.”

Lyndle says “less is more” is a good approach to take when using concealer around the eyes and on dark spots.

“And I find that mineral-based foundations often work best for women in all stages of life, but particularly around menopause when dryness and hot flushes can occur.

“It evens out skin tone while working with the skin, allowing it to breathe and providing a subtle, dewy look.”

Have a good hair day – even in menopause

It’s not just skin that changes during perimenopause and menopause – hair can, too. 

“During perimenopause, oestrogen levels decrease, leading to hair thinning and loss, particularly in the crown and frontal regions,” The Haven Sydney hair salon founder Carl Rossborough says.

“Postmenopause, hair may continue to thin and become drier with increased breakage.” 

During perimenopause, Carl recommends gentle hair treatments, scalp massages and strategic haircuts. 

“Protect hair from damage and prevent hair loss with gentle, sulfate-free hair products and always use heat protection before blow-drying or hot styling,” Carl says.

“Regular scalp massages will help boost blood flow to the scalp to stimulate hair growth and a short, blunt cut, like a chin-length bob, can help make hair look fuller.”

Postmenopause, it’s important to moisturise and lean towards gentle styling. 

“Hydrate the hair and scalp with nourishing products to counteract dryness and breakage, and avoid harsh chemicals like sulfates and parabens,” Carl says.

“You can also reduce heat styling and choose gentler hairstyles to minimise hair damage.”

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Written by Karen Fittall.