Summer is here and we must take good care of our skin!

Estrogen levels are very low after menopause (menopause is confirmed when a woman has not had a period for 12 consecutive months) and this contributes to a decline in skin collagen.  Since collagen is responsible for skin volume and its elasticity—the ability to return to its original shape after it has been pulled or stretched—the skin wrinkles and also becomes dry and flaky.

Normally skin ages well but exposure to damaging factors such as smoking and sunlight accelerates aging. It is very important for midlife women always to wear sunscreen–broad-spectrum, minimum SPF 15—while outdoors, all day, every season, to minimize skin damage and cancer risk. To quote the North American Menopause Society “tanned skin means that skin is damaged”.

For healthy skin, apply moisturizing lotions, creams, or oils immediately after washing while your skin is damp.  Avoid gels which can cause dryness. When you moisturize your face do not ignore your neck…and your hands!

Drinking plenty of water helps to hydrate the skin. Alcohol, tea, and coffee decrease hydration and should be avoided or consumed in moderation. Avoiding stress and getting enough sleep also contribute to healthy skin.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables containing antioxidants (orange, dark green, and purple foods like squash, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, spinach, blueberries, and beans) contributes to healthy skin.

The layer of fat under the skin, subcutaneous fat, decreases and gets redistributed with age. Loss of weight and muscle contributes to excess skin that doesn’t shrink. Exercise, including face exercises, increases muscle that fills the skin and reduces sagging.

Go on, get outside, enjoy the weather and replenish your energy and your skin!

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