Menopause isn't exactly something people get excited about. Beyond the fact that it can serve as a reminder of aging amid a youth-obsessed culture, it often ushers in hot flashes, mood changes, a slowed metabolism, and vaginal dryness, among other symptoms.
Hormonal changes during menopause can also impact your skin. As such, you may have noticed a recent uptick in skin-care brands focused on dermatological needs throughout menopause. Among them is Emepelle, a brand that's developed products specifically to address the dip in estrogen that happens during menopause. (Related: Finally, Skin-Care Brands That Believe Menopause Is More Than Just Hot Flashes)
"Estrogen plays a lot of different roles when it comes to skin health," says Mamina Turegano, M.D., F.A.A.D., triple board-certified dermatologist and spokesperson for Emepelle. It plays a role in "building collagen, remodeling collagen, and keeping collagen in place," she says, and collagen is responsible for giving skin a "more sturdy, taut, hydrated look." Estrogen also plays a role in maintaining skin hydration and thickness. That means a lack of estrogen can make skin more crepey, thin, and dry, says Dr. Turegano. (Related: What a Proactive Anti-Aging Skin-Care Routine Looks Like)
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While some people opt to take estrogen (via an Rx medication) during menopause to alleviate the symptoms, the largest clinical trial to date showed an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious conditions among those taking an estrogen-progestin pill. (As a result, the practice is still prevalent but less common than it once was, according to Dr. Turegano. And an increasing number of folks are considering other ways to reap the rewards of estrogen (think: more youthful-looking skin) without taking the hormone itself.
Emepelle's main differentiating factor from other skin-care brands is its proprietary methyl estradiolpropanoate (MEP) technology. MEP is a non-hormonal estrogen receptor aide, which is an elaborate way of saying it acts like estrogen but isn't actually a hormone. "[MEP] works in the same pathway that estrogen does in the skin," explains Dr. Turegano. "It activates fibroblasts, which are the protein molecules that build collagen. Studies have also shown increased hydration in the skin, too." Emepelle has incorporated MEP into all three of its product: a serum (Buy It, $175, amazon.com), night cream (Buy It, $156, amazon.com), and eye cream, the latter of which is currently available for pre-order on the brand's site.
You can apply the serum twice per day and the cream at night, whether you're already menopausal or are looking to use them as a preventative step. "Even in your 20s, you start to lose collagen and it continues on into our 30s and 40s," says Dr. Turegano. "The drop in estrogen is definitely more drastic with menopause, but it's sometimes harder to fix things and reverse things once the damage has happened."
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Along with Emepelle's MEP technology, Dr. Turegano cites retinoids, vitamin C, and peptides as other skin-care ingredients to look for if you're hoping to boost collagen production — all of which, BTW, are included in Empelle's products. She also stresses the importance of wearing sunscreen to prevent UV damage. Lifestyle factors such as diet, stress levels, and whether you smoke can also play a role in skin aging, she notes. In short, it pays to look at the big picture rather than expect any single product or lifestyle tweak to be a miracle solution. (Related: What You Need to Know About Early Menopause)
If you're anticipating menopause with dread (or currently hating it), coming up with a game plan might help alleviate that feeling. When it comes to your skin-care routine, you can look to Emepelle for formulas that were created with your skin's needs in mind.