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How much damage does the menopause really do and how to fix it?

(158 Posts)
busterhall Fri 05-May-17 13:24:14

At 40 I am not yet menopausal as far as I know. I love good skin and have always looked after mine and with that and some good genes so far I am doing ok and I am often told I look much younger or people are really surprised at my age when they find out.

What I am also told it that once the menopause hits I'll be hit with wrinkles and facial aging and that by the time I'm 50 we'll all be level.

Now I do accept aging and getting older etc but I still want to have the best skin possible and to avoid wrinkles and sagging for as long as I can.

I'm not into having fillers, botox or surgery but would consider lasers, radio frequency tightening, dermal needling etc as well as skincare, nutrition and supplemental treatments including HRT.

I would be really interested from others how the menopause affected them and the things they did that help them head off the worst effets especially those in the looks department?

I have good genes. My mother looks early 70s and is 80 this year. I'm mid fifties and on a good day pass for 10 years younger. I've been menopausal for 15 years. With a good skin care regime and a good colourist for greying you don't have to look your age.

ilovecherries Fri 05-May-17 15:16:42

I'm a lot nearer 60 than 55 and I've got some laugh lines round my eyes (when I laugh, not in repose) , but absolutely no forehead wrinkles, and no 11s. I think it's a combo of good genes and living somewhere cold and wet, because I do very little for my skin. What I have noticed though is some sagging round my jaw line and neck and a loss of 'give' to my skin, which is fairly recent. But I certainly didn't age suddenly at menopause.

Floisme Fri 05-May-17 15:43:01

I'm through the menopause and it has aged me. As I've written on another thread, I try and use that positively - in a 'get on with it cos you'll be dead before you know it' kind of way.

As far as my looks go, my face has filled out and both body and skin are starting to sag. That's what happens. Apart from always using SPF, my regime is minimalist as I have sensitive skin.

I still think I look reasonably good and I would say that's largely because I've adapted how I dress. Not in a 'am I too old to wear...' sense - nothing is off limits purely because of my age but I could see from the mirror and from photos that my body shape and looks were changing and I've reviewed my style to fit. I'm still doing it because it never really stops.

I'm most conscious of my jowls and of general sagginess so I wear more structured things and avoid anything that draws the eye to my jawline e.g. no scarves or earrings. And I thoroughly recommend specs to you all!

I do find that if your clothes and glasses are modern (I don't mean on the cusp of fashion) then people assume you are too.

I've never taken HRT so can't comment. I do take a calcium supplement because I'm aware that thinning bone density will soon become a thing. I make more of an effort to eat healthily and to walk more.

buggerthebotox Fri 05-May-17 16:05:03

I'm 57, and through the worst of the menopause, I think. I hope.

The most noticeable thing for me has been difficulty controlling my weight, and weight settling on my upper body, and particularly round my middle. I struggle to stay a 12 now, though I'm fairly fit.

I'm also aware of sagging round the jawline. My skin is pretty good, I always wear makeup and dress stylishly I think.

Like flo, I've given up on baggy clothes and wear more structured clothes now. Generally it's skinnies and short jackets or blazers. Nothing is off limits though, apart from, perhaps, shortsshock.

I think, as an older women, you need to be more careful of how much flesh there is on show. I don't wear cropped trousers, or sandals. Ii try to aim for reasonably streamlined.

There's a middle-aged woman look I particularly dislike, and that's cropped trousers, sandals and t-shirt, particularly on bigger women.

Clothes are cheap as chips these days; no excuses not to experiment with different looks!

I think slimness, good posture and good body tone compensate for a LOT!

EleanorRigbysNeice Fri 05-May-17 23:11:07

For me, it's the lack of control. Gone are the days when I could up my exercise a wee bit and lose 10lbs. I still look after my skin yet it's slackened to the point where I look sad or cross. I find myself smiling more, just to lift my face! My body has changed, not just my weight but the shaoe of me, as I once knew it.

And I care less. That feels good. I still do my face and shower twice daily. Use body lotion, tend my feet etc but frankly, I'd rather read a good book, now! Today, I did an up-do because I wanted to do other things rather than mess with my head, if that makes sense. Time was, I'd do full hair/face just to go shopping 😐

EleanorRigbysNeice Fri 05-May-17 23:12:30

The SHAPE of me

ENFJ Fri 05-May-17 23:19:02

I'm 47, I care a lot less too. I'm still slim (but not thin). Not sure if I'm menopausal but some periods are scary heavy so I think I am.

I think the best preparation is mental. Knowing yourself. Knowing you're enough. You don't owe it to anybody to stay young or young looking. But this is half theory half scary half shrug.

Where did looking young and attractive ever get me? an ARSEHOLE bf! The older and uglier I get the nicer the boyfriends so.............. maybe looking old doesn't matter as much as I thought it did. Although I don't know.

queencerulean Sat 06-May-17 09:38:49

I'm 43 and perimenopausal and it's my body that's aged. Typical middle aged spread and I just feel generally saggy despite doing a lot of exercise. Before starting hrt I had the face of a teenager-spotty chin and blackheads. I pared my skin regime right down and now only use cetaphil and with hrt my skin looks great.

For me the psychological effects have been far worse than the physical but hrt has really helped even out my moods.

I have moments when I get down about my aging body-not helped by having a blossoming teenager to compare myself to. But mostly I embrace getting older and am happy to not have any serious illnesses.

Mrstumbletap Sat 06-May-17 09:45:32

I wonder if there is anything that can prevent or help the sagging jawline? I wear factor 50 on my face when in the sun to prevent wrinkles, but what can prevent the sagging face?

peaceout Sat 06-May-17 09:55:06

Just look after health as much as you can, no unhealthy eating, exercise and prioritise strength training

JohnCheese Sat 06-May-17 10:22:59

I've had a bilateral oophorectomy (family history) so thrown into menopause. I do take HRT.
I can't say I look much different to my peers that have not been flung into menopause. (Tho we're all nearing/at that age).
Definitely, my waist has spread a little, despite my best efforts. Face not too bad yet, but I am religious about sunscreen, and I do have botox in my frown lines. Every little helps. My face is beginning to sag, but then, hanging around on this earth for all these years does take its toll. I'm not sure it's specifically menopause that does this.

Keeping clothes contemporary makes a huge, possibly the biggest difference. Staying with your style of your 20s automatically ages.

Floisme Sat 06-May-17 10:38:50

Mrstumbletap as I understand it, the sagging is due to loss of collagen. There are supplements but I've never seen any evidence that they work. I believe the most effective thing you can do is cut right down on sugar.

To be honest - and I say this as someone who does still care about how they look - I don't see the point in battling any one symptom because as soon as you sort that out, another one will take its place. Every time.

Vain as I am, the things that trouble me most are forgetting names, which drives me absolutely nuts, and fear of brittle bones because falling over in late life absolutely fucks you up.

peaceout Sat 06-May-17 11:24:28

Loss of collagen means that skin and ligaments are less elastic➡sagging
Loss of subcutaneous fat ➡sagging
Sagging causes further loss of skin elasticity, creases deepen ➡more sagging
Kind of a domino effect really, if you're not prepared to use Botox and fillers then not much you can do

peaceout Sat 06-May-17 11:26:39

Signs of facial aging start to become apparent for most of us in the late 40s
same for men

Floisme Sat 06-May-17 12:51:09

I choose clothes over injections: much more fun and, while they will never make you look younger, they can help you look modern.

Which reminds me, I disagree with you about cropped trousers, bugger. My ankles are one of my finest features smile

peaceout Sat 06-May-17 12:56:48

I agree that flattering clothes and hairstyle can be marvelous at any age😊

augustusglupe Sat 06-May-17 13:04:27

I'm 52 and just about post meno'
9 months ago I overhauled everything...started clean eating 90% of the time and hardly drink atall now. I go a brisk walk every day for about an hour and do weights. I'd always looked after my skin anyway, but like others, I've noticed some sagging around my jawline.
I've changed hairdresser and have had the colour lightened and I can't believe how much younger it makes me look...it was far too dark before and I didn't even realise!
Don't worry OP there's no big sudden change, but honest, I've found looking after myself just makes me feel so much better. smile

Kathysclown Sat 06-May-17 13:05:29

I am 48 and through the menopause. I am definitely finding it easier to put on a few pounds, and MUCH tougher to shift them. I have an event in a couple of weeks that I was certain I could easily shift a couple of kilos for - but they have largely refused to budge (I know if I'd been more radical in my eating/exercise approach they would have gone, but I am comparing it to how easy I used to find it to make changes).

I am still slimish, and I think I look 'OK'. I keep my hair dyed to a neutral brown to cover the increasing grey, and I wear slightly more makeup now to give my face and skin a 'lift' - but still don't cake it on. As others have mentioned, though, it is the arrival of jowls that I have found the most distressing......

I had children very late in life though, and to be honest I think it was the lack of sleep for several years that really changed the way my face looks, rather than the menopause.

Gwenhwyfar Sat 06-May-17 13:05:53

"Signs of facial aging start to become apparent for most of us in the late 40s "

Started late 20s for me. Wrinkles around the eyes and forehead, then in my 30s lines between the nose and lips and more prominent 11s/frown lines. Sagging jaw line from about 35. I suppose these things get worse from late 40s, but they don't suddenly start then, do they?

peaceout Sat 06-May-17 13:13:11

I'll rephrase!
By late 40s most will have visible facial ageing, of course it can start earlier for reasons of genetics or lifestyle
Damage and decline would start before it becomes visible but after a certain point damage accumulates and you start to see permanent creases and sagging

Gwenhwyfar Sat 06-May-17 13:30:06

I wouldn't say I'm unusual in having had visible wrinkles around my eyes in my late 20s!

MrsGuyOfGisbo Sat 06-May-17 14:09:39

I believe the most effective thing you can do is cut right down on sugar.
Agree with this. As a kid my parents gave me loads of sweets ( and 3 sugars in tea etc shock,) but as an adult I turned off sugar and seem to have worn better than friends who have a 'sweet tooth'.
Fasting even just for 12 hours overnight is a big thing too - forces cells to eat to 'eat' toxins as there isn't any thing else, and peeps seems to have massive anecdotal stories about successes in eg stopping hot flushes.
Load of suns screen obviously, but as others have said, hair and decent clothes are essential. Lots of sex and/or younger lover also supposed to be efffective grin

neveradullmoment99 Sat 06-May-17 15:59:40

Im 49 and have been going through perimenopause for over 3 years now. I am a 12. I do the 5:2. Started it over a year ago now and use it as a way of life. My days are work days. I find it easier. I take a break over holidays and always eat withing a 12 hour time frame. If i get up, i eat from 10am - 10pm and never eat outwith that window. If i eat at 8am, i finish eating at 8pm. I rarely still eat late anyway. It all helps maintain my weight. Its pretty painless for me. As for my skin, i have very good genes and bone structure. My worst issue is my neck. I have been using retinol 1% for about 4 wks now. I put it on twice a week and use a buffer over the top. It can take up to 6 months to notice a difference but my skin is definetly tighter. Wrinkles look worse while retinol does its best to slough off the old skin and rebuild but it will be worth it and I will persevere as its the only proven thing to have results. I also use nip and fab glycolic pads as i am prone to spots [hormonal] and that with clearasil anti bac face wash keeps the spots in check. I dont have jowls, many forhead lines, no 11's as of yet.

neveradullmoment99 Sat 06-May-17 16:03:24

I am however quite grey under my henna. I am growing out my henna currently to see what my grey looks like. Its a bit of a challenge as i have below shoulder length hair and refuse to cut it. I am about an inch or so with grey growth. I hide it as i have a badger stripe which makes me look shit atm. I use a powder cover up for it but it wont be long until that will not be possible but i will see in a few weeks if i want to continue with dying my hair.

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