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Collagen for menopause: caring for your skin

by Natasha Whiting

Collagen for menopause: caring for your skin

Perimenopause is filled with reports of unpleasant symptoms like loss of libido, hot flushes and brain fog. It all comes down to the diminishing levels of oestrogen in the body. But what are the implications for your complexion?

Well, it turns out they can be quite substantial. Studies indicate that oestrogen is a fundamental component of collagen production which, in turn, is fundamental to the elasticity, thickness and hydration of your skin. When your oestrogen levels drop, you may begin to see a lot more of the things you would really rather be without, such as dryness, wrinkles and lines, dullness, sagging and sensitivity. Even cosmetics experts and certified dermatologists are not immune to these changes, but they certainly won't hesitate to take action. You should follow that example.

When perimenopause begins, oestrogen levels start to decline, and it can begin as early as the mid-40s and take up to 10 years before menstruation ceases entirely. The decline is uneven, so the state of your skin can become quite erratic. Some refer to it as the second puberty, and it can feel like you're reliving your teens, with sudden breakouts that appear overnight. But you will also feel part-senior citizen, with emerging wrinkles and quite extreme dryness. Your oestrogen levels will continue that downward trajectory until you reach menopause - the point at which it has been 12 months since your last period. At this point, you are considered post-menopausal.

In post-menopause, the skin issues from perimenopause may become more severe, but dermatologists recognise that the basic issues are the same and should be treated as such. For some women, hormone replacement therapy is a good option to help balance out the hormonal changes and mitigate those symptoms. But this is not right for everyone, and there is plenty you can do at home to soften and reverse some of the menopause-related skin problems.

Collagen

As previously mentioned, one of the biggest problems for your skin is that oestrogen decline leads to collagen decline. Collagen is the building block of many of the connective tissues in our skin, bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage and more. The levels in our bodies, and our ability to create new collagen, decline with age, but menopause causes it to drop substantially. With less collagen in our bodies, our skin cannot maintain its youthful features. This is a huge part of why we experience all these unpleasant symptoms during menopause, but we can fight back.

High-quality collagen supplements are made by extracting the collagen protein from animals like fish and putting it into a consumable supplement like liquid, powder or pills. This enables us to take it into our body in a highly bioavailable way so that we can absorb the amino acids and trigger our bodies' natural ability to create new collagen. Taken daily at a healthy dosage over time, it can replenish the collagen in our bodies and reverse some of the signs of ageing we experience during menopause. 

Combined with other wellness practices and some lifestyle choices, collagen supplements can yield the following benefits:

• Firmer, more hydrated skin
• Improved skin elasticity and a reduction in lines and wrinkles
• Thicker, glossier hair and less brittle nails
• Strengthened bones and more supple joints
• Improved energy levels
• Enhanced gut health

    These are just some of the amazing things women experience when they start taking collagen supplements. It can help make menopause a less daunting process to go through and it is just a simple addition to your daily routine.

    Let's take a deeper dive into some of the skin-related issues you can address.

    The issue: dull skin

    With decreased skin hydration and a lack of cell turnover, your skin can lose its lustre and glow. The dead skin cells pile up at the surface, looking like hills and valleys that do not reflect light well. Light reflection is the basis of that healthy skin glow we all love.

    To fix this, collagen will help restore a more active, healthy cell turnover to reduce the presence of these dead skin cells. It will also help with skin hydration, giving your skin a strong foundation for you to work on. You can enhance these effects by working on exfoliation when you start to see that loss of radiance during menopause. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) will help work away the dead skin to reveal the brighter, more youthful skin underneath, particularly as your collagen supplements help boost the presence of this skin. A glycolic-containing serum every other day is the ideal exfoliation tool to achieve the desired effect.

    The issue: dry skin

    When your skin becomes dry, it is a sign that the outermost protective layer is not doing its job. Falling oestrogen levels cause a thickening in the epidermis, meaning oil production goes down. Skin dries up and microtears can appear, causing moisture to escape and allowing allergens and irritants to get in. The result is skin that is easily irritated and a potential increase in inflammatory skin issues. For example, if you have trouble with eczema, it may worsen during menopause. Your collagen supplement contains the amino acid hydroxyproline, which has been clinically proven to increase the skin's moisture levels. Some supplements contain hyaluronic acid, which attracts moisture to your cells and binds it in for superb hydration in the skin. Combine this with a mild cleanser that doesn't strip oils from the skin and a high-quality moisturiser that includes things like:

    • Shea butter
    • Ceramides
    • Squalene
    • Fatty acids
    • Hyaluronic acid
    • Glycerin

    This will help add moisture to the skin and keep it there.

    The issue: wrinkles and lines

    Your dwindling collagen supply is the main culprit here. Without its fundamental building blocks providing elasticity and firmness in the skin, its general integrity starts to deteriorate. This leads to an increase in the prominence of lines and wrinkles, particularly during menopause as collagen levels really bottom out.
    As you might expect, your collagen supplement is key here. The process of hydrolysis, which is used to extract the collagen from the source, breaks its molecules down into smaller amino acid chains. These are easily absorbed by our bodies and quickly stimulate the production of new collagen. Many women have seen real benefits to lines and wrinkles with just a few weeks of collagen supplementation.

    You can boost this effect with lots of Vitamin C to get the antioxidant effect to help boost collagen production. Topical retinoids can also be helpful in stimulating collagen production and accelerating cell turnover.

    The issue: sagging skin

    As collagen depletes, its partner elastin goes with it, and this is what our skin needs to stay taut and firm. Skin elasticity around the jawline and neck can be affected during menopause and the resultant sagging can make women feel very self-conscious and experience issues with confidence. To minimise sagging, the collagen-inducing benefits of your collagen supplements are crucial. You also need to keep protecting your skin from the sun and taking in plenty of antioxidants. Once the skin has begun to sag, it can be difficult to reverse it without specialist cosmetic procedures, so the key is to start taking these steps as early as possible.

    The issue: acne

    Even though your skin is becoming drier, you are still getting acne breakouts during menopause. This is because of the changes in the ratio of your female-to-male hormones as oestrogen levels decline. The male hormones, called androgens, are among the primary causes of acne breakouts. Many women have found that their collagen supplements offer fantastic benefits for acne reduction.

    Over-the-counter retinol serums can also be very helpful for this as they accelerate cell turnover, keeping pores clear and reducing the likelihood of spots forming. It will also be important to keep up with your exfoliating and cleansing - taking a comprehensive approach is best.

    What collagen supplement should I take?

    For your skin, the most important type of collagen is Type I. You need a supplement that offers an abundance of Type I collagen in a high daily dosage, offered with high purity that is easy for your body to absorb. Kollo uses Naticol collagen, extracted using hydrolysis from the skin and scales of wild-caught fish. This means it is very pure and highly bioavailable, and it consists primarily of Type I collagen. We offer it as a liquid that you can take as a straight shot or add to another drink for maximum convenience. With natural flavourings included, the taste is great, and we also fortify it with l-lycine and Vitamins B and C to enhance the effect of the primary ingredient: pure marine collagen. Naturally, we believe Kollo is the perfect collagen supplement to take to look after your skin during menopause. Don't just take our word for it though; read our customer reviews

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