Sunday February 23, 2014 at 10:32am
Acne and Wrinkles on the Same Face: the Frustrating Contradictions of the Menopause, and Why They Happen by Claire Garmiston
The menopause is a contradictory beast. Hormonal imbalance causes all sorts of perplexing and frustrating issues for which a large number of women are not prepared. Oily skin, for example. The menopause can cause your face to break out in the kind of acne you haven’t seen since you were a teenager, which is upsetting. You console yourself by remembering that acne indicates oily skin, and oily skin is much less wrinkle-prone than other skin types…but then wrinkles start deepening and appearing where they were not before while you’re still battling the acne. It just does not seem fair. However, there is no need to worry. Science knows precisely the reasons why this happens and, has the means to improve your skin.
Oestrogen and Androgen
The contrasting facial changes happen, on a basic level, because of your decreasing oestrogen levels. In the absence of oestrogen, your body produces more androgens – a chemical more prevalent in young men than pre-menopausal women. This is the very same chemical which makes teenage boys more prone to acne than their female counterparts. Those pesky androgens can also cause the voice to deepen and facial hair to appear, alongside which they may provoke the skin to produce spots. Simultaneously, the body is reassessing itself in the absence of oestrogen and making adjustments which have a direct impact upon the face. One of oestrogen’s main jobs in the body is to distribute bodily fats in places like the breasts, hips, buttocks, and face. Without oestrogen to divert fat to these areas, the body takes the easy route and sticks it all on the thighs and belly. The loss of facial fat makes your skin sag and develop wrinkles while you’re still struggling with acne – which really can be quite depressing.7
However, there is no need to despair and give your looks up for lost. There are tried and tested ways and means of improving the situation. Antioxidants are key. Antioxidants are your friend. Antioxidants can work real wonders for you. Antioxidant-rich diets and supplements have been used in the USA to help treat recovering addicts of methamphetamine, distressed by the premature ageing and other havoc wreaked upon their faces by the drug. Methamphetamine use can mimic the symptoms of the menopause in that it encourages simultaneous acne and skin sagging/wrinkling, so the success experienced by these former addicts with their antioxidant therapies bodes extremely well for menopausal women with the same symptoms. Antioxidants are by no means the panacea which many enthusiastic health-magazines purport them to be, but what they can do is significant. Their anti-aging and skin-aiding benefits are particularly impressive, and are well worth noting for any woman struggling with problem skin during the menopause.
Oxidation and Antioxidation
The science behind antioxidants is complex, but can be summarised thusly: the body is vulnerable to a process known as ‘oxidation’ – exactly the same reaction with oxygen which causes iron to rust and apple slices to go brown. The body tends to process oxygen extremely well, meaning that only 1 or 2 % of cells are affected at a time – but those cells which are affected become what is termed ‘free radicals’. Without getting into too much science-talk about electron pairings and reactive interactions, suffice it to say that these free radicals steal from other cells in order to try and (unsuccessfully) repair themselves. This can damage the DNA inherent within the unfortunate cells, causing many problems – including the visible signs of aging amongst other, more sinister things. Antioxidants, however, speed around the body like mini commandos, seeking out and neutralising free radicals before they can do any harm. The effects of increased antioxidant intake become noticeable quickly, and can be dramatic. Antioxidants have been proven to ease the body’s transition from a system flushed with oestrogen to a system contentedly running without. Antioxidants can, indeed, significantly reduce if not even eliminate menopausal acne, and slow the progression of wrinkles and sagging caused by cell-degradation.
An Easy Solution
Luckily, antioxidants are easy to come by, and easily metabolised. A healthy diet full of fruit and veg will always contain a good variety of free-radical beating antioxidants, but there are other ways to ensure that you’re getting the very best combination of nutrients to fight off the dermal effects of the menopause. Biocare Antioxidant 2000, for example, contains a plethora of antioxidants which will be easily absorbed and quickly set to work by your body, while the acai berry is much lauded for its absolutely superb antioxidant properties. So there really is no need to worry about acne and wrinkles – they can be dealt with, and easily! All it takes is a few antioxidants, and a bit of patience.