Wrinkles, Dry Skin, Painful Sex, Oh My!

Lower levels of estrogen and collagen during menopause can cause dehydration, which leads to thinning, sagging, fine wrinkling, and dryness, accelerating changes to the skin from head to toe. Houston based Dermatologist, Elizabeth Mullans, M.D. and Yale OB/GYN, Mary Jane Minkin, M.D. offer the latest interventions for skin-related effects of aging.

Menopause begins approximately a month after a woman’s last period, and some may think their go-to skin routine doesn’t work anymore as they are now seeing dull, dry skin. Ladies, it’s that time in life for a new skin care routine to combat and lessen the effects of natural aging.

Decreased estrogen levels can cause the vulva, or outside skin surrounding the vagina to become dry too, causing irritation when walking, prolonged sitting, exercising, bike riding or running. If you are experiencing painful sex or itching and irritation following sex, your internal vaginal cells could be dry too.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to achieve healthier, more vibrant skin all over the body:

1. Clean your face twice a day with a gentle, creamy cleanser like Cetaphil or CeraVe for dry, sensitive skin. Conventional soap, foams, and gels can strip away moisture and remove the skin’s protective barrier against bacteria which helps keep it soft, supple, and hydrated. A new Italian cleansing cream called Collagenil Detergente Restitutivo is very gentle as it nourishes the skin leaving it smooth and radiant. It’s always helpful to apply heavier moisturizing cream to damp skin to help boost hydration.

2. Sun damage and hormonal changes can exacerbate wrinkles, dryness, and age spots. Make sure to moisturize several times a day and use a good sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher. Exfoliating products can help shed dead skin cells, which can leave the skin dull and flaky. Collagenil created Soft-Scrub Detergente, a delicate vegetable-based cleansing cream that rolls on to gently exfoliate and remove dead cells and impurities without scratching or irritating the skin.

3. Eat as much collagen as possible with lots of brightly colored fruits, green vegetables, and nuts. These foods contain antioxidants and healthy fats which help nourish and hydrate skin and temporarily improve its firmness and plumpness. Watch out for dairy, sugary, processed foods, and carbs that can contribute to acne.

4. Vitafusion Irresistible Skin gives a beauty boost from the inside out. One serving of these gummy vitamins provides 2,500 mcg of collagen and antioxidants vitamin A and vitamin E, to support hydration, elasticity, nourishment, healthy glow, and appearance of fine lines.

5. Yoga, meditation, and other stress-reduction techniques boosts circulation, which begins to slow with age. The extra oxygen and blood flow can help skin look brighter and healthier.

6. Sex, whether with a partner or masturbation, will improve blood flow and help maintain healthy tissue. Consider using a good silicone vaginal lubricant, like Replens Silky Smooth to decrease abrasion and increase pleasure.

7. Get more zzzzz’s, at least six to eight hours per night to help your body rejuvenate and maintain healthy hormone and metabolism levels.

8. Vaginal dryness can be caused by cancer treatment, diabetes, peri-menopause-post menopause. Hormone-free Replens Moisturizer can be inserted every 3-days is a first line treatment for vaginal dryness.

9. Fairhaven Health, a manufacturer of vaginal care and comfort products for each of a woman’s life stages, has created Sage Moisturizer & Lubricant, offering relief for everyday vaginal dryness and short-term lubrication for increased pleasure during intimacy.  

Sage is water based – without paraben preservatives – which makes it best for menopause -related vaginal dryness.  It includes clary sage, a botanical with natural antibacterial properties. 

10. Avoid scented feminine hygiene sprays, pads, tampons, and toilet paper.

11. Avoid shaving or waxing the genital area, particularly if irritation is present.

12. Gently wash the vulva with plain water, a vaginal wash or an aqueous cream and avoid liquid soap, bubble bath and shower gels. Always pat dry (don’t rub).

13. If vaginal atrophy persists or worsens, you may need a prescription vaginal estrogen to get your symptoms under control.

Dryness due to aging skin is absolutely normal and women can seek comfort in knowing how to change their beauty routine to accommodate each changing lifecycle.

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