Never mind Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I’ve recently decided that a new version of that old fairy tale should be written. Of course the lead character is no longer Snow White but rather MenoMe and instead of the Seven Dwarfs we’re accustomed to, we now have Itchy, Acne, Weary, Achy, Balding, Blurry and let’s not forget Sweaty. Now that’s about as real as any fairy tale can get! “What about the dashing prince riding in on his stallion?” I hear you ask. Well… there isn’t one!
But as this is my story, I must add that I am extremely grateful that there is a very loving, very patient and often puzzled and occasionally amused beloved husband who has not only witnessed the arrival of MenoMe, but who has really tried to understand and tirelessly supported all of me, and in my books, that is better than any prince could ever be. That being said, let me give you a detailed description of these new Seven Meno-dwarfs so that when they arrive, you too will be able to recognise them for who they are:
I’ll start with Itchy:
Dry, itchy skin is common in menopause, as hormonal shifts cause noticeable changes to the structure and performance of skin cells, your skin can thin, lose its elasticity and impair its ability to repair itself. Menopause occurs as a woman’s level of estrogen production declines. As well as controlling menstruation, estrogen plays a key role in preventing dry skin by stimulating oils and collagen that help maintain skin health and density.
The decrease of estrogen and sudden changes to your body’s hormones means that both collagen and oil production slows down. The collagen protein helps skin stay smooth. As there are now decreased amounts, skin becomes slacker, causing wrinkles. The decline in oil production means your body won’t retain moisture as well, causing dry, itchy skin. Each woman will experience different extremities of dryness. One woman may only notice dry skin in colder temperatures, whereas another could experience harsh dry skin all year round.
Here are some handy tips to help soothe your dry itchy skin:
Avoid Hot Showers– Very hot water will strip your skin of moisture. Instead, shower or bathe in warm water for a short amount of time.
Wear Gloves– Your hands get drier than the rest of your body, as they are more exposed to the environment. To ease dry skin on your hands, wear gloves outside in the winter to protect from the cold weather. Also remember that chemicals from cleaning products will dry out your hands, so wear rubber gloves when doing housework.
Wear Sunscreen– It doesn’t matter the season, sunscreen should always be part of your skincare routine. The winter sun will still damage your skin. To combat this, wear a daily moisturising lotion with SPF or – if you’re planning to be in the sun – add a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF between 30 and 50. Put your sunscreen on 30 minutes before heading outdoors.
Moisturise Damp Skin– To keep the moisture locked in, apply lotions and creams when your skin is damp. When you get out of the shower, gently towel dry your skin (leaving it slightly wet). Then apply your face and body moisturiser, locking in moisture.
Use Oatmeal– For centuries, oatmeal has been used to combat dry skin. Oats contain natural chemicals that help reduce the redness and help the inflammation caused by overly dry skin. Add ground up oats to your bath and soak for 15 minutes.
Switch to a Gentle Cleanser– Ordinary soaps with strong perfume can be harsh and dry out your skin. Instead, opt for a cleanser that is gentle on your skin.
Invest in a Humidifier– A humidifier will add moisture to the air. During the winter months this will keep your skin fresher and dewier.
Opt for Natural Fibres– Clothes made from cotton and breathable fabrics may also really help your skin. Heavier materials such as wool, or synthetic material (polyester) can scratch at your skin, increasing the itching.
And that dear friends is the first of the Meno-dwarfs that follow MenoMe around playing endless games of “tag you’re it”. Next week, I’ll introduce you to Itchy’s best buddy Acne.
The advice in this article does not constitute medical advice, it is solely for information purposes.