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What can I do to get results post-menopause?

What happens during the menopause?

During menopause, lower levels of oestrogen have a big impact on your skin. Less oestrogen makes you prone to thinning, sagging, and wrinkling skin. Your body stops making as much collagen. You lose some fat under your skin and your skin’s elasticity drops. That, combined with dryness caused by hormonal changes, can cause sagging (especially around the neck, jawline, and cheeks), and fine lines and wrinkles. The lines and wrinkles you get with menopause are often crow’s feet and lines above the upper lip.

Fortunately, you can relieve some of the skin-related effects of aging by taking care of your health, lifestyle and nutrition.

Nutrition

Collagen gives your skin its youthful plumpness and keeps your skin tight. As oestrogen levels fall, so does the collagen levels in your skin. A diet high in plant protein (soy protein, hummus, nuts etc) can offer the support of plant oestrogens (phytoestrogens), which have been demonstrated to have a positive effect on collagen. Eating foods with antioxidants (lots of fresh fruit and veg) may also help improve your skin.

Here are some great foods to include in your diet that can help improve oestrogen levels and collagen:

  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, Brazil, hazel etc).
  • Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax etc)
  • Soy products such a soya beans, tofu, tempeh.
  • Grains and legumes such as oats, barley, rice, kidney beans, chickpeas, mung beans, lentils.
  • Other sources of healthy fats (olive oil, oily fish, avocado)
  • Greens such as celery, green beans, kale, broccoli, green cabbage etc.
  • Fresh fruit such as apples, oranges, berries etc.

Training

Exercise does more than just tone your muscles. It helps skin in two ways. First, it relieves stress. Stress can worsen existing skin problems like acne or rosacea. Stress may cause you to scrimp on your skin care program. Second, exercise boosts circulation, which begins to slow with age. The extra oxygen and blood flow can help your skin look brighter and healthier.

Sleep

Getting enough sleep helps your skin look fresh. Sleep can help prevent dark circles under your eyes, and it also gives the rest of your body a chance to recharge. Lack of sleep can change your hormone levels and metabolism in many of the same ways that aging does. So shoot for a solid 8 to 9 hours of shut-eye every night.

Hydrate your skin

After menopause, your skin gets drier because oil glands aren’t as active. Try to give skin more moisture with a heavier cream. Skip long, hot showers and put on moisturizer while your skin is still damp to help boost hydration.

Be realistic

Remember that those girls and guys who compete are mostly severely undernourished at the time of competition and down to low single digit body fat levels. Many of them will have cellulite within weeks of returning to normal eating habits. Cellulite should be mostly gone if you diet down to competition body-fat levels. Tanning will also help smooth out any unwanted skin appearances. Loose skin can be taped back under suit, if it presents a big problem.

Also remember, no one is perfect! When a competitor is on stage, they are under great lighting, depleted of fluid and deeply tanned – this hides a lot of imperfections!

You can see from the pictures below that there’s sometimes a disparity between what we think people look like and what they actually look like. Don’t aspire to something that doesn’t exist. Give yourself some context. Give yourself a break!