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The “M Word”… and Skincare

I recently went on the Menopause: Facial, Hand and Foot Reflexology course with Ziggie Bergman and Louise Keet, which I absolutely loved by the way. So, I thought with today being International Women’s Day, it would be a good day to start writing this blog, albeit a little late to get it out there. Instagram v’s reality!

I don’t remember anyone using the word Menopause 3 or 4 years ago. I never heard my mum use the word, like honestly, never. Perimenopause and Post menopause, that’s all new to me too. We have come so far; things have changed so much, and everything is out in the open and up for discussion these days. There is no doubt social media has played a huge part in this. Menopause is such a hot topic right now, and if I’m honest, a bit of minefield that I find rather confusing. If I’m having a moment and I’m feeling a little off, am I perimenopausal? I could be, I’m 42, and when I talk to my friends about feeling a bit flat, it’s inevitable that someone will use the “M Word.” God forbid if I was just having a bad day. Menopause, it seems, is the “buzz word” used to label even the slightest of negative feelings, and if we’re on the receiving end of this, it can be quite annoying.

We are all different, our bodies are different, our energy is different, our diets are different, and our lifestyles are different too. The age we become menopausal could be years apart from the girl we sat next to at school. I learned on my course that in western women menopause occurs on average at the age of 51 but can extend from your 30s to 60s. Menopause before the age of 40 is known as ‘Premature Menopause’ and between 41 and 45 is ‘Early Menopause’. I also learned that there are lots of symptoms we may experience, such as hot flushes, night sweats, irregular periods, loss of sex drive. We may feel depressed, moody, irritable, and tired. Brain fog is a common symptom. Oh, and menopause can cause hair loss, weight gain, allergies, bladder problems, dizziness, and changes to the appearance of our skin. Welcome to adult life ladies, it sounds like a hoot! The list is endless…

But on a lighter note, and there always must be a lighter note! There are lots of diet and lifestyle hacks we can make to guide us through the changes we experience as we mature, menopausal or not. According to the Environmental Working Group, on average women use at least 12 personal care products a day, such as toothpaste, face wash, toner, moisturiser, deodorant etc, exposing them to around 168 chemical ingredients. This is truly mind-blowing, and that’s before things like air fresheners and pesticides are thrown into the mix. So, if you’re not one for reading the small print, it might be a good time to start! You will be surprised at how many skincare products contain toxic ingredients, particularly exfoliators, face creams and body wash. And, as much as I don’t want to be Debbie downer, many toxic ingredients found in these products have been linked to hormonal disruptions, which can increase the risk of different cancers and skin irritations.

So, if we think logically about what happens when we apply skincare products, we may reassess our choices. Any product we apply to our skin is absorbed through the epidermis and straight into our bloodstream. Therefore, the skincare choices we make play a huge contributing factor to our overall health and wellbeing. Just like the food we choose to eat, the exercise we choose to do (or not do), and what we feed our minds with. It’s all about balance and conscious choices, and if ever there was a time to clean up our beauty regime, it’s now. And, to all the brands that are working hard to support our health and wellbeing, we salute you! Especially the B Corp certified brands, who are doing everything in their power to protect and restore biodiversity.

As I work with skincare products nearly every day of the week, it really got me thinking about menopause and skincare, and what happens to our skin as we mature. Hence, I wanted to shine the spotlight on “Clean Beauty”. It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog, but this topic really got me going. Somehow I lost my creative spark and stopped writing. I guess life took over!

But what is “Clean Beauty” anyway and is it all its wrapped up to be?

“Clean Beauty” is quite hard to define, it’s a term used to describe cosmetic and skincare products that are free from harmful chemicals. There are so many amazing natural and organic products out there, with lots of impressive new brands, really making their mark. We just need to look (and do a little research too). Bamford Skincare is certainly one to watch, Carole Bamford’s products do all sorts of amazing things for the senses. Rich in natural ingredients they help to nourish and heal the skin and the choice of fragrances in the skincare range are extremely calming, you relax instantly. I’m always amazed at how one inhalation of a scent can totally change how you feel.

One product I would highly recommend is Bamford’s Nourishing Cleansing Balm. It contains a nourishing base of organic shea butter with coconut and argan oils to deeply hydrate and protect the skin. The texture is so luxurious, you automatically want to massage your face as you rub it into your skin. Okay, it’s not cheap, and sits at the higher end of cleanser price tags, but it’s worth every penny (I promise). A tiny amount really does go a long way. It’s the jar that keeps on giving and by far my most favourite cleanser to work. It also doubles up as an eye makeup remover, which I just love.

Another intresting skincare brand to look out for is Zone Face Lift, it was created by Ziggie Bergman to compliment a treatment she developed called Zone Face Lift. You must try this treatment. It’s been hailed by Tatler as a spiritual facial like no other, and the skincare used has beaten brands like Dior and Channel in recent skincare awards. The Daily Radiance Moisturiser is a must have, the luxurious organic cream feeds the skin, strengthens elasticity, and uplifts your senses. With ingredients such as pomegranate seed which is packed with natural vitamin C, it makes it ideal for sensitive skins and anti ageing. This moisturiser really does take you to another dimension with it’s dreamy fragrance, especially for an organic product, where normally you can be left a little underwhelmed by the scent. Anyway, it wasn’t my intension to talk about products, but I couldn’t help myself, a little treat from time to time is good for the soul. 

As women, I think it’s important we embrace maturity. Beauty is not about how we look, it’s about how we feel, and if we feel good our eyes sparkle our skin glows and our energy is high. So, anything we can do to keep us happy, healthy, and balanced should be a priority. The best health care plan is a self-care plan.

Here’s 5 Skincare Tips to help mature skin.

~ Avoid products containing parabens at all costs, they interfere with hormones. You will be surprised at how many skincare products contain parabens. ~ Opt for a richer moisturiser for more hydration, skin loses moisture with age. Sometimes we think we need much more product when we may just need a different product with richer ingredients. ~ Add a night cream, oil, or serum into your skincare routine to further hydrate the skin (if you don’t like using heavy skincare products in the day, apply the oil or serum before bed for absorption through the night). ~ Rethink your makeup, some foundations and concealers tend to feel and look dry on skin as we age. If your products are sitting in your lines and wrinkles, it’s time for a change. Head to a good makeup counter for advice, it’s likely you need products with richer ingredients and a different texture. You could go one step further and switch to clean makeup too, but if I’m honest, I don’t think it’s as advanced as skincare yet. ~ Add regular massage facials to your routine. As we age and our hormone levels plummet our skin can become dry, slack, thin and dull. Massage facials will help promote healthy looking skin whilst relaxing your facial muscles. Your face will come back to life (again I promise), in colour, texture, tightness, and definition. The stress release from the holistic element too, is sure to soften your facial expression and leave you feeling calmer and much more relaxed. There are so many health benefits to massage facials, but that’s for another blog. I could write all day about massage facials.

But honestly, if you’re thinking about exploring natural alternatives during any stage of menopause, maybe start by switching the bad stuff for the good stuff. Switch to organic or natural skincare instead of products containing toxic ingredients. Rethink Botox and filler, and maybe try a course of massage facials instead. And, if you want to go the whole hog, try clean makeup too. And please, if you find any good brands, tell me, I’d love to hear about them.

Of course, if I’m totally honest, I’m not quite there yet with the big switch! It’s expensive to make so many changes, but we can make small changes by replacing a finished product with a cleaner alternative and slowly work towards building our “clean beauty” shrine. And, if you do have regular Botox, why not try a course of massage facials instead. Weigh up the costs, weigh up the results, see what you think. They are a much healthier alternative to Botox and you will benefit so much more from the holistic element too. But at the end of the day, do what makes you happy. Life is short. And remember that that big journeys begin with small steps.

Clean Beauty is here. The market is growing rapidly. The long-standing reputable brands are producing better cleaner skincare products every day and new brands are emerging, born into the Clean Beauty world. Clean Beauty is its all it’s wrapped up to be. But, you must do your research and know that what’s good for one isn’t necessarily good for the other, we all have different skin and different goals.

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