Quick question: What’s your body’s biggest organ?

A. Brain
B. Heart
C. Lungs
D. Skin
E. Kidneys

The answer is D: skin. Adults have eight pounds and 22 square feet of skin. When your skin is healthy and hydrated, that’s 22 square feet of glorious glow. When it’s not, that’s a lot of room for discomfort.

Why does skin get dry at menopause?

Why does EVERYTHING happen at menopause? Estrogen, comma, lack thereof. As we get older, decrease in estrogen means skin gets thinner and less elastic due to a decrease in collagen. Without their usual supply of estrogen, our bodies produce less of the oil that both softens skin and helps it retain moisture. And without the protective benefits of that oil, our skin is more vulnerable to environmental damage from sun, pollution, soaps, low humidity, air conditioning, tobacco and alcohol use, etc.

What can I do to protect my skin?

Valeria Cole, CEO of Teadora

Valeria Cole, CEO of Teadora

To get the skinny on skin, we talked with an expert: Valeria Cole, owner and CEO of Teadora Beauty, a natural skin and hair care company whose eco-friendly, toxin-free, cruelty free products are made from rain forest superfruits. (The company is on a mission to save and protect Amazon rain forest, one gorgeous head of hair at a time.)

Her advice:

  1. Drink water. LOTS of water. Hydrating skin from the inside is critical, according to Val. “We fail to do this all the time, but it’s really the #1 thing we can do,” she told me. “Make a habit of it.”
  2. Get the right topical hydration. Look for products that absorb quickly – “it should have a high fatty acid content to melt and sink into your skin quickly without clogging your pores.” And look for products enriched with vitamins: vitamins A and E are particularly good moisturizers.
  3. Apply products more often. Don’t reserve your skin treatment for just when you get out of the shower, Val says; apply on-the-go to protect skin from the environmental damage of the big wild world. Val suggests investing in a mister to be able to quickly and easily spritz your face for additional hydration.
  4. Look for antioxidants. When skin is dry, it ages more quickly – products high in antioxidants will slow time’s roll.
  5. Exfoliate gently. Skin renews itself every 28 days, Val explains, and getting rid of the dead skin can speed up the process by removing the outer layer. But remember: skin in perimenopause and menopause may be thinner, drier, and more delicate, so think “buff” – not “scrub.”
  6. Go sulfate-free. Val says there are lots of reasons to avoid this lathering agent in your skin-care products: they’re irritating, drying, and may be toxic, so … let’s not. Plus, many sulfates come from environmentally unsound production processes, so what’s better for your skin is also better for the planet. Woot!
  7. Eat the right foods. Again, shoot for high-antioxidants in your food and nourish your skin from the inside out. Val has a “glowing skin smoothie” that will add to your shine.
  8. Sunscreen sunscreen sunscreen. Yes, the sun is our friend, but like many friends, the relationship works best with limited exposure. The sun’s rays dry out our skin, age us prematurely, and of course, can cause skin cancer. So track down sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 at a minimum and works against UVA and UVB rays. Use year-round and reapply even more often than you think you need it.

Skin does more than hold your bits in so wanting healthy skin isn’t vanity – it’s smart. Healthy skin produces vitamin D and helps us regulate body temperature (when we’re not having hot flashes or cold flashes, anyway, but that’s not skin’s fault). Feelings of pain, pressure, or pleasure on the skin are a big part of how we understand and navigate our environment and avoid dangers. So take care of the skin you’re in.

How do you deal with dry skin or other midlife- and menopause-related symptoms? We’d love to know the secret to your glossy hair, healthy teeth (menopause tooth decay blog coming soon!), refreshing sleep, etc., so … help a sister out? Send me your ideas at Shannon@genneve.com, and I’ll share them (but not your name, unless you OK it). Or you can reach gennevers on the genneve Facebook page or by joining Midlife & Menopause Solutions, our closed Facebook group.



Shannon Perry

Shannon is a celebrated author and global educator. Whether she’s interviewing a physician or producing a podcast, her appetite for research, facts, and truth culminates in credible health education and programming that women can rely on. An avid runner, cyclist, and climber, Shannon knows a thing or two about thriving in midlife and lives in Seattle with her cat, dog and boyfriend.


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