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Lifestyle: Menopause and it's effects on skin

REN skincare expert Antony Buck explains to brenda mccormick the numerous effects of the menopause on skin -- and what can help

With all the changes that the menopause brings (usually in the 50s, but it can occur in the 40s or even 30s), you'd imagine skincare would be overlooked. But this change in a woman's body has a significant effect on her skin, exacerbating the discomfort of the whole experience. Thankfully, some skincare companies are starting to address this issue.

But what is the skin up against? Antony Buck, co-founder of skincare brand REN, explains: "During the menopause, your body will begin to produce less oestrogen, which can lead to specific physiological changes, such as delayed cell division, reduced collagen formation and dry, thinning skin. All of these changes tend to make skin look older, which can add to the already high levels of anxiety of many women going through the menopause."

REN makes two products specifically for skin affected by the menopause. Wild Yam Omega 7 Firming Body Repair Cream (€42 for 200ml) and Sirtuin Phytohormone Replenishing Cream (€55 for 50ml) use natural, plant-derived phytosteroids as their primary active ingredient. "One of the main sources of phytosteroids is wild yam, which has been used for centuries by African women to correct problems experienced during menopause," says Antony. "It promotes collagen synthesis, and improves skin elasticity and moisture retention."

As well as these improvements, other effects of the products when tested were a reduction in roughness, improved wrinkle smoothing, and increased skin lipid content. The brand's products are free from parabens, synthetic fragrance and colour, petrochemicals, sulphates and silicones, which reduces the chance of them irritating the often increasingly sensitive skin.

Antony says some women have found dong quai, a herb used commonly in Japan and China, and soya effective in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. "Dong quai contains phytoestrogens, which can have a regulating effect on oestrogen levels, thereby helping to regulate hormone imbalances," he says.

Vitamin supplements can also be of benefit. "Vitamin B can help fight anxiety, tiredness and sleeplessness, whilst vitamin C can help aid tissue repair and improve iron deficiency," says Antony. "Vitamin D can help with the absorption of calcium -- essential in helping to maintain bone health."

REN is available in Arnotts. For more stockists, visit www.renskincare.co.uk or call 01 461 0645