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When your ovaries start to run out of eggs, your levels of oestrogen begins to fall. This hormone affects the function of almost every organ in your body, and so when menopause begins your wellness can suffer from symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings. Oestrogen affects other aspects of your wellbeing; namely, the appearance of your skin, but there is something you can do about it.
According to Dr Sarah Brewer, medical nutritionist and Yourwellness Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, ‘When we reach the menopause, collagen levels can fall by as much as 30%, causing several visible changes. First skin loses elasticity, meaning that it no longer springs back, which in turn causes wrinkles. Secondly, skin becomes thinner. Not only does this mean it is more fragile, but it also loses that youthful plumpness. Thirdly, it becomes susceptible to water loss, leading to flaking and increased dryness.’
So is thin, dry and wrinkly skin an inevitable outcome of menopause? You may have heard that many women turn to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during menopause, but is it the answer for menopausal skin troubles? There is evidence to suggest that HRT slows down your skin’s ageing by improving its production of collagen. However, even though HRT improves your skin hydration, elasticity and thickness, it is not recommended that you take it purely for this purpose – you need a natural alternative.
Plant hormones, known as phytoestrogens, contain isoflavones which work in harmony with your oestrogen receptors to naturally increase your body’s collagen development. Isoflavones can be found in supplements and moisturisers and Dr Brewer explains, ‘Even though plant oestrogens are 1,000 times weaker than the oestrogens in HRT, they are still able to improve menopausal symptoms and skin health with less risk of side effects.’
She adds that it’s not only your skin that may benefit, but ‘some recent studies of phytoestrogens have shown that they may in fact protect against <a href="http://www.yourwellness.com/2013/03/breast-cancer-female/”>breast cancer. Such studies have typically been conducted on Japanese women who have a higher dietary intake of isoflavones and rarely experience menopausal symptoms, as well as having a lower incidence of <a href="http://www.yourwellness.com/2013/03/breast-cancer-female/”>breast cancer. It’s thought that the plant hormones may help to block the effects of stronger human oestrogens on the breast tissue.’