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The 28 Day Hormonal Cycle

As women, our hormones are constantly in flux throughout the month, and don’t we know it!? Whether it’s an unexpected outpouring of tears at a KFC advert, unbridled rage at crumbs left on the kitchen side, or the unwavering feeling that one must have chocolate (all from personal experience), Hormones can play havoc in what is otherwise a fairly well-balanced individual.

But why do these hormones affect us so, and what is the point?


A Breakdown Of The Main Hormones

Hormones

 

There are fifty hormones in the human body, but three, in particular, are involved in the physical and emotional peaks and troughs women experience throughout their menstrual cycle. 

1. Progesterone

Produced by the ovary, progesterone plays an important role in maintaining the early stages of pregnancy. Most of us will never have a need to think twice about progesterone, as its effects are predominantly internal. However, women who don’t produce enough progesterone are likely to have heavy and irregular periods.

2. Testosterone

A hormone found in much higher quantities in men than in women, testosterone is produced by the reproductive and adrenal glands. High levels of testosterone can lead to irregular or absent periods, acne and increased body hair. Low levels of testosterone will often result in low libido. 

3. Oestrogen

Oestrogen actually consists of a group of hormones: estriol, estradiol, and estrone, and is produced predominantly in the ovaries. It is one of the most important hormones in the female body, responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle and controlling the growth of the uterine lining. High levels of oestrogen can result in weight gain and irregular periods, while low levels can cause absent periods, mood swings, headaches and depression.

Oh the female reproductive system, what a joy!


The Four Menstrual Phases

Tummy Pain - Hormones

The 28 day menstrual cycle can be split into four different phases: menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation, the luteal phase. Each phase has a different ratio of hormones circulation, and as such, different effects on the mind and body.

Stage 1: Menstruation

The only phase of the menstrual cycle that most of us pay any attention to, menstruation represents the beginning and end of the cycle. Every month, unless an egg has been fertilized, the body sheds its uterine lining. Over an average duration of 3-7 days, a combination of blood, mucus and uterine lining is expelled from the body, and the cycle begins again.

Stage 2: Follicular Phase

The follicular phase lasts 15 days, beginning during menstruation and ending at ovulation. During the follicular phase, the ovary produces 5-20 nodules onto its surface. These nodules, or follicles, are precursors to eggs, only one of which will mature. As these nodules grow, the uterus is stimulated into thickening its lining ready for the potential of pregnancy.

Stage 3: Ovulation

The Ovulation Phase is incredibly important if you wish to increase your chances of falling pregnant, as it’s when you are at your most fertile. The ovulation window lasts approximately 24 hours and is when the mature egg is released from the surface of the ovary, usually around two weeks before the next menstrual cycle is due to start. 

Stage 4: Luteal Phase

There’s a lot of chemistry that happens during the luteal phase (most of which is thoroughly uninteresting unless you have a specific interest in the subject), but essentially, this is the stage in which the follicular lining which once surrounded a mature egg attached to the uterine wall. 

This residual cluster of cells, called a corpus luteum, releases an increasing amount of progesterone, encouraging the uterus to make itself a hospitable accommodation in case of pregnancy. If a fertilised egg implants into the uterine wall, the progesterone will continue to circulate at a high level, if not, the progesterone levels drop and the lining is expelled as menstruation. 


Dealing With Hormonal Flux

Hormone Levels & Your Cycle Chart

As you can see from the above graph, the hormonal changes that a woman’s body goes through over 28 days is dramatic. While some women have barely perceptible symptoms, others are not so lucky. If you have problem periods, allbeauty may be able to offer some relief.

Cramping

Period cramps are caused by the uterus contracting in order to shed it’s lining. While this a rather clever self-cleaning method, most of us would rather do without the accompanying muscle spasms and dagger-like pain. While over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen can go a long way, nothing is quite as relaxing as a hot soak in the tub. We recommend using a bath oil, such as Cowshed’s Calming Bath and Body Oil. Not only will the heat soothe your aches and pains, but the oil is nourishing for your skin and the scent of lavender and eucalyptus calm the mind. If you prefer to avoid baths during your period, this can also be used as a body oil pre or post-shower.

Cramps - Hormones

Hormonal Skin

If your skin erupts at the same time every month without fail, preventative action is the best course of action. Soothe hormonal skin with a product designed to target breakouts on adult skin. Murad Anti-Aging Blemish Control does just this, and thanks to its clever formulation, can be used without the risk of drying out your skin in between flares. 

Hormonal Skin - Hormones

PMS and Mood Swings

Scientists aren’t certain what causes PMS (Premenstrual syndrome), but it’s believed to be linked to the changing levels of oestrogen, progesterone and mood-regulating hormone, serotonin. While we can’t provide you with a cure for PMS or monthly mood swings, we can recommend Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Mind Roller Ball for relaxation on the go. Containing bitter orange, rosemary and wild chamomile essential oils, this pocket-sized roller can be applied to your pressure points when you feel stress building for a mini-moment of mindfulness.

Mood Swings - Hormones

Fatigue

Many women experience fatigue or extreme tiredness while menstruating. This is thought to be caused by the decrease in oestrogen levels at this point in the cycle. The best way to take care of yourself during this phase is by unapologetically allowing yourself to rest and recharge. Forgo evening screentime, head to bed early, and increase the chances of deep sleep by using a relaxing fragrance in your bedroom. Award-winning Deep Sleep Pillow Spray by This Works is a customer favourite, with notes of lavender, patchouli and camphor.

Fatigue - Hormones


The 28 day hormonal cycle is something that most of us deal with month in, month out, without stopping to consider what a great job we’re doing. The world doesn’t stop turning, and we push on to fulfil our responsibilities, regardless of the disturbance raging inside. If ever there was a reason to treat yourself to something special, whether it be scented bath oil or a bar of chocolate, this is it.

Relax - Hormones


Was this helpful? If so, shop all of our Hormones related products and read similar articles at allbeauty.com

P.S. Take a look below at our top picked products to help our hormones…

Top Picked Products - Hormones

Taking Care of Your Skin During Menopause

Going through menopause is difficult for all manner of reasons; your complexion shouldn’t be one of them. A large proportion of women find that entering the menopause plays havoc with their skin. Fluctuating hormones can cause flare-ups of acne and exacerbate combination skin, while there seems to be a sudden increase in the number of fine lines and wrinkles staring back from the mirror. While it’s no secret that this phase of life can be challenging, we’re pleased to say that by adopting a menopause-specific skin routine and using products targeted at aging skin, you can get back to feeling like yourself in no time.


Menopause and the Face

Your face is one of the first places to show the effects of menopause, with many women experiencing acne breakouts for the first time since their teens. Often, menopause can exacerbate existing conditions too, whether it be dryness or discolouration. With this in mind here are our top 5 favourite products for acne:

 

Peter Thomas Roth Acne Treatments AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel 100ml - Skin

1. Peter Thomas Roth Acne Treatments

AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel 100ml

RRP £44.50

Our Price: £29.95

 

Perricone MD Treatments No:Rinse Intensive Pore Minimizing Toner 118ml / 4 fl.oz. - Skin

2. Perricone MD Treatments

No:Rinse Intensive Pore Minimizing Toner 118ml / 4 fl.oz.

RRP £35.00

Our Price: £31.50

 

Murad Blemish Control - Skin

3. Murad Blemish Control

Outsmart Blemish Clarifying Treatment 50ml

RRP £35.00

Our Price: £28.00

Payot Paris Pâte Grise Spéciale 5 Drying and Purifying Gel 15ml - Skin

4. Payot Paris Pâte Grise

Spéciale 5 Drying and Purifying Gel 15ml

RRP £19.00

Our Price: £11.50

 

Peter Thomas Roth Acne Treatments Acne-Clear Invisible Dots - Skin

5. Peter Thomas Roth Acne Treatments

Acne-Clear Invisible Dots

RRP £29.00

Our Price: £18.50

 

Hydration

The key to caring for your skin during menopause is to treat it with extra care; using products designed specifically for aging skin.  Using a serum is a fantastic way to deeply hydrate the skin, as it can not only hydrate, but smooth fine lines and rebuild the skin’s structure. Pair this with a menopause-friendly day cream to ensure your skin is getting all the nourishment it needs to meet the day head-on. A good day moisturiser should contain an SPF, protecting your skin from any future damage. 

Utopia Skincare Anti-Wrinkle

Hydrating Day Cream 50ml

RRP £34.00

Our Price: £16.95

 

And daytime moisturisation isn’t where your skincare should stop. Investing in a good night cream allows you to get a headstart on the coming day by giving your skin everything it needs to recover and repair overnight. For example, Utopia Nourishing Night Cream encourages cell renewal and aids the skin’s outermost layer to eliminate dead cells. Two birds – one stone.


The Skin Around Your Eyes

The delicate skin surrounding the eyes is even more prone to developing fine lines and wrinkles, due to its location and fragile nature. As the skin is so thin, you should avoid using your usual face cream around the eyes, instead, choose a product which is suitably gentle. 

An allbeauty favourite, Utopia Instant Firming Eye Serum has been shown not only to reduce the appearance of fine lines and crow’s feet, but to reduce dark circles and calm puffiness.


Hands, Neck and Decolletage

While most of us remember to moisturise our face daily, there are a few common areas which are missed. These left-behind areas are, unsurprisingly, the first to show the signs of aging.

The skin on our hands, neck and decolletage are exposed to the sun just as often as our face, which is why they so often succumb to discolouration, dryness and wrinkling. The decolletage and neck can also lose elasticity over time, resulting in a ‘crepe’ or ‘draped’ effect. Thankfully, products such as the Utopia Age Defying Hand, Neck and Decolletage Serum have been designed to target this exact complaint, firming, smoothing and toning these problem areas. 


And The Rest…

While the face, hands, neck and decolletage are all more obvious places for menopause symptoms to strike, that isn’t to say the rest of the body is safe. Whether it’s your knees, elbows, arms, or elsewhere, wrinkles can start to appear in all manner of places.

Utopia Skincare Anti-Wrinkle

Enriching Derma Gel 100ml

RRP £24.00

Our Price: £11.45

 

This skin is thicker than other areas of the body, so requires a moisturiser which is able to penetrate deeper. An age-specific, gel-based moisturiser, like Utopia Enriching Derma Gel can hydrate and repair large areas of skin while plumping and brightening problem zones.


To view all of our menopause products and read similar articles go to allbeauty.com/menopause

Older Woman Skincare - Skin

Dealing With Hormonal Acne: How To Recognise And Treat it

Hormonal acne is exactly what it sounds like – it’s acne that occurs due to fluctuations in your hormones. Although men and women can both be affected by acne, hormonal acne is more common in women, because of factors like menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, which bring surges in hormone levels. While hormonal acne is often associated with fluctuating hormones during teenage years, it’s actually most like to strike in your 20s, when women are most hormonally active. You might be surprised to know that over 90% of the world’s population will suffer from acne at some point in their life, making it one of the most common disorders treated by healthcare providers. 

Aside from the physical symptoms of acne, this skin disorder can also have an emotional and psychological impact too. Studies have shown that acne can affect a person’s mood, self-esteem, and quality of life. In fact, 95% percent of individuals with acne in the UK say that it affects their daily lives. 


What Causes Hormonal Acne? 

Acne is a skin condition that happens when your sebaceous glands (tiny glands near the surface of your skin) make too much sebum (an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands). The excess sebum bands together with dead skin cells clog your pores and form acne lesions, which include blackheads and whiteheads. 

Hormonal Acne

Fluctuations in your oestrogen and progesterone levels are the main causes of hormonal acne. These fluctuations can vary greatly during your menstrual cycle. Changes in the ratio, or balance of these hormones can affect your testosterone levels, which in turn can also contribute to the appearance of acne. Stress plays an important part in hormonal acne too – when cortisol levels go up as part of your body’s stress response, your skin produces more sebum, which can lead to breakouts. 

Acne can also be caused or made worse by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Menopause and Increased androgen levels, which are hormones that play a role in the development of male traits. These hormones are present in both men and women. 


Recognising Hormonal Acne 

If the below apply, there’s a good chance you’re suffering from hormonal acne. 

  • You have pimples that appear on your chin and jawline. Increased hormone levels in your body can stimulate your oil glands—and most of them can be found around your chin area. Although the chin and jawline are really common places for hormonal acne, it can also flare-up on the side of your face or down your neck.
  • You have monthly breakouts. Hormonal acne follows a cycle – a lot like women’s menstrual cycles. Postmenopausal women can experience hormonal acne too, as they are still susceptible to monthly fluctuations in their oestrogen and progesterone levels. 
  • You’re under a lot of stress. A build-up of too much stress can lead to flare-ups, as cortisol (the stress hormone) can put your other hormones out of whack – another reason you should try to relax and de-stress on a regular basis. What’s more, if you’re stressed, you might not be looking after yourself quite as much as you should, and your skincare routine and diet can suffer, making breakouts more likely. 

Hormonal Acne Treatment 

Although hormonal acne can leave you feeling like your skin has a mind of its own, there are several options to help treat it. 

Contraception 

Oral contraceptives have compounds that target the hormones which cause acne. So if you aren’t already on the Pill, consider asking your doctor whether they’d recommend it to help treat your acne


Retinoids - Hormonal Topical retinoids 

 

If you have mild to moderate acne, you can use topical retinoids, which work by removing dead skin cells to prevent them building up inside hair follicles. They usually come in a gel or cream and should be applied once a day before bed. You can get retinal-containing products over the counter, but for stronger concentrations you’ll need to get them prescribed by a dermatologist or doctor. 


Diet 

What goes into your body can also affect you and your skin. Although the relationship between diet and acne hasn’t yet been firmly established, what we do know is that some foods can help alleviate skin inflammation, which can cause acne. Foods high in antioxidants, such as lentils and green leafy vegetables, and Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish (salmon, herring, and mackerel) can help reduce skin inflammation. You could also opt for an Omega-3 supplement if you don’t eat a lot of fatty fish. 


Non-Comedogenic Makeup - Hormonal Non-comedogenic makeup

 

Be extra kind to your skin and take care when choosing makeup. Go for non-comedogenic types – makeup that won’t clog your pores – which in turn should minimise the chance of flare-ups. 


5-step skincare routine 

Committing to a good skincare routine can help treat or alleviate hormonal acne. Try this 5-step routine to take care of your skin and minimise the chance of acne flare-ups. 

Cleansers - Hormonal 1. Double cleanse

 

Cleansing your skin helps to keep sebum from building up. Double cleansing is when you first cleanse the skin with an oil cleanser, followed by a second cleanser which is either foam or cream-based. Why double cleanse? Using an oil cleanser first helps to break down the makeup, dirt, and oil on your skin which builds up during the day. Cleansing your skin properly will make sure you get the benefits of the other products which follow.

Cloud Cream Cleanser 120ml - Hormonal

Shiseido Essentials

Perfect Cleansing Oil 180ml

RRP £34.00 (Save 21%)

Our Price: £26.75

 

Cloud Cream Cleanser 120ml - Hormonal

Peter Thomas Roth

Water Drench Cloud Cream Cleanser 120ml

RRP £23.00 (Save 22%)

Our Price: £15.00


Steam - Hormonal 2. Exfoliate/Steam

Exfoliation is key to any skincare routine. Unfortunately, dead skin cells re-accumulate every day, so this isn’t a one-time thing.  If you have super-sensitive skin, start off with a mild exfoliant (lactic acid), and use it just once a week for a few weeks, slowly working your way up to 3 to 4 times per week. Steaming can also help open and unclog your pores. Simply boil some water, pour it into a bowl and add essential oils or herbs like chamomile or lavender. Steam your face with a towel over your head for up to 10 minutes. Don’t steam your skin more than once a week.

Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser

Orange Extract All Skin Types 125ml

Our Price: £18.35


Face Masks - Hormonal 3. Mask

 

Face masks help to remove dead skin cells and other debris that can accumulate in pores and contribute to breakouts. Using a clay mask after steaming can work wonders – your pores will be open, so the mask can get in and do its work more easily, drawing out dirt and impurities.

Visible Difference Peel & Reveal Revitalizing Mask 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz. - Hormonal

Elizabeth Arden Face Mask & Exfoliator

Visible Difference Peel and Reveal Revitalizing Mask 50ml

RRP £26.00 (Save 36%)

Our Price: £16.75


Toners - Hormonal 4. Tone

 

This is an important step after cleansing your skin because toner helps to close your open pores and remove any final traces of dirt or makeup. Follow the instructions on your acne-fighting skin care products carefully and don’t be tempted to apply too much at once, this can lead to further irritation. Remember to check with your GP or dermatologist to make sure you’re using the most effective products for your skin type.

Sisley Toners Grapefruit Toning Lotion Combination/Oily Skin 250ml - Hormonal

Sisley Toners

Grapefruit Toning Lotion Combination/Oily Skin 250ml

RRP £72.50 (Save 37%)

Our Price: £45.55


Moisturiser - Hormonal5. Moisturise

 

Whether you’re prone to dry or oily skin, either can aggravate your acne, making moisturising an important step in your skincare routine. Using a moisturiser every day is a great way to seal the moisture in your skin. If you have oily skin, look for oil-free moisturisers, and opt for lotions and serums rather than thick creams. If your skin is prone to dryness, go for a more hydrating cream. Keep in mind that your skin might be dehydrated rather than dry – your skin can be oily and dehydrated at the same time, as dehydration is a lack of water, not oil. Dehydration can be caused by factors such as weather, pollution, and diet, as well as the overuse of harsh skin care products. Dehydrated skin looks dull, feels tight or rough, may be sensitive, and can show fine lines. If you have dehydrated skin, switch to more gentle skincare products, don’t over-wash your face (no more than twice a day), and avoid irritating ingredients like essential oils or alcohol. 

Clinique Serums & Treatments - Hormonal

Clinique 

Anti-Blemish Solutions All-Over Clearing Treatment 50ml

RRP £21.00 (Save 18%)

Our Price: £17.20

 

 Omorovicza Budapest Serums Instant Perfection Serum 30ml - Hormonal

Omorovicza Budapest Serums

Instant Perfection Serum 30ml

RRP £85.00 (Save 30%)

Our Price: £59.50

 

 Dr. LeWinn's Line Smoothing Complex S8 Hydrating Cream 30g - Hormonal

Dr. LeWinn’s

Line Smoothing Complex S8 Hydrating Cream 30g

RRP £51.00 (Save 50%)

Our Price: £25.50


 

Seeking professional help 

Talk to your GP or dermatologist if you’re having trouble controlling or treating your acne, or if your acne is moderate to severe. If your skin has developed nodules or cysts, see your GP as soon as possible and have these treated to prevent scarring. 


Try not to let acne get you down – there are lots of options and treatments out there, and you shouldn’t let acne stop you from living your best life. Start taking control of your skin today! To learn more about how to start living your best life, read our blog on ‘Time for You’ and join the Me Time Movement!

The Menopause: How To Recognise The Signs & Symptoms

Have you heard that 50 is the new 30? Many women are now more confident in their 50s than their 30s; a new confidence comes with knowing who you are, what you want, and what looks and feels good on you. And with fiftieth birthday bashes taking over 21st birthday celebrations, there’s plenty to celebrate as you get a little older. But with 51 being the average age a woman in the UK starts the menopause, the symptoms can leave you feeling less like yourself, and not in the mood to party.

So what can you expect with menopause? And how do you recognise the signs and symptoms?

We take a look at some of the common symptoms of menopause, with tips to get you feeling back on track.


What is the menopause and when does it start?

The menopause, often called ‘the change’, is a completely normal condition that all women experience as they age. As part of going through the menopause, a woman will stop having periods and loses the ability to get pregnant naturally. The menopause is caused by changes in the balance of our sex hormones, and starts as your body stops producing as much of the hormone oestrogen as it did during your fertile years.

Less commonly, menopause is sometimes caused by medical procedures such as oophorectomy – removal of the ovaries – chemotherapy, radiotherapy or some breast cancer treatments. Having Down’s syndrome or Addison’s disease can also trigger menopause earlier in life.

With the menopause come many changes that may seem daunting or scary, but they are changes that women all over the world are experiencing too. You don’t necessarily just need to put up with the symptoms of menopause, either – there are plenty of ways to manage them.


How will I know when I’ve started the menopause?

Perimenopause is the transition phase as your body prepares for menopause, and can start around 8 to 10 years before you experience menopause. For many women, perimenopause happens in their 30s or 40s, and you might experience menopausal symptoms such as changes in period cycle, mood swings and hot flashes. In the perimenopause stage, your body starts providing physical clues that the menopause is on its way, although it can still be a few years before your last period. Menopause is defined as your last menstrual period, and confirmed when you haven’t had a period for twelve months in a row.


What are the symptoms of the menopause?

No two women’s bodies are exactly the same, and your experience of menopause might be very different to that of your friends or family. But there are some common symptoms of the menopause to look out for:

Irregular periods

When you’re approaching the menopause, the length of time between your periods can be shorter or longer than usual. The amount of blood flow will also vary, and there may be months when you don’t have your period at all.

We can counter the decline of our body’s oestrogen levels by supplying our body with phyto or plant oestrogens found in tofu, soya milk or soya flour, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. It is recommended to take at least 4 to 5 portions of seeds and unsalted nuts every week.

 

Hot flashes

Hot flashes (also called hot flushes) are the most common sign of menopause or perimenopause, and affect up to 80% of women – so you’re not alone! A hot flash is a feeling of intense warmth, that seems to creep up then spreads throughout your body. Hot flashes can cause you to sweat and make your face look flushed, and they can cause night sweats too, which can leave your clothes and bedding soaked in perspiration even if the room temperature is cool. They can happen suddenly within the day, but the following can also trigger hot flashes or make them worse:

  • Eating spicy food
  • Drinking caffeinated and alcoholic drinks
  • Smoking
  • High temperatures
  • Feeling stressed or anxious
  • Receiving treatment for certain cancer types
  • Taking certain medicines
  • Health conditions such as an overactive thyroid, tuberculosis and diabetes

Depending on your sensitivity to hormones, your doctor might recommend hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help with hot flashes. You can also try to manage them yourself – here’s how:

  • Reduce your intake of tea, coffee and alcohol
  • Sip cold or iced drinks
  • Stop smoking
  • Keep your room cool and well-ventilated
  • Use a cold gel pack or spray your face with cool water if you feel that you’re about to have a hot flush
  • Wear light cotton clothing and layers that you can easily take off
  • Take lukewarm showers or baths instead of hot ones
  • Speak to your doctor if you think that your medicine is causing hot flashes
Bone weakness

Our bones can weaken during the period leading to menopause as we produce less oestrogen, which stimulates the activity of osteoblasts, the cells that produce bone. This can make our bones fragile, making us more prone to osteoporosis, the deterioration of bone density and quality. To keep your bones healthy, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and other natural sources of calcium such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Vitamin D from sunlight exposure — about 10 minutes twice a day — and food such as oily fish, eggs and certain mushrooms will also help your body absorb calcium.

Higher cholesterol

Less oestrogen may cause an increase in ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and a decline in ‘good’ high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in our body. Higher LDL raises the risk of heart disease. Some diet changes can do a lot for your heart’s health:

  • Cut down on fatty meats. Use low saturate oils and spreads and go for lower fat dairy. Grill your food instead of frying it.
  • Switch to food with higher fibre content like oats, wholegrain bread and brown rice. Also include beans, lentils and chickpeas once or twice a week.
  • Include at least two portions of fish every week. Choose fish that is rich in omega-3 fats like canned sardines, salmon, mackerel, herrings and trout.
  • Cut down on sweets, soft drinks, cakes and other products made of refined sugar.
  • Aim for the recommended 5 a day of fruits and vegetables, which contain heart-friendly antioxidants.
  • Limit your intake of processed products such as ready-meals, soups and cooking sauces that are high in salt. Swap in herbs and spices for flavour.
Mood swings

We can be more irritable or emotionally unstable as a result of the various changes that our body goes through as part of menopause, including disrupted sleep resulting from hot flushes. Complex carbohydrates like bran, oatmeal and brown rice can bring up your serotonin levels, helping to control your appetite and make you feel brighter. Eating breakfast in addition to small food portions several times a day can also help you feel less irritable. Include exercise in your daily routine to release endorphins, your ‘happy hormones’ – anything from a group exercise class to a light jog around the park can re-frame your outlook for the day and leave you feeling energised.

Vaginal dryness and bladder problems

Our vaginal tissues can lose lubrication as the amount of oestrogen we produce declines. The condition sometimes causes urinary incontinence and discomfort during sex, and it can also make us more vulnerable to vaginal and urinary tract infections. Aside from the menopause, there are other causes of vaginal dryness too, such as breast feeding or taking the contraceptive pill. Vaginal dryness can be embarrassing to talk about, even with your friends or partner, but there’s no need to suffer in silence, and many other women will be going through exactly the same thing! You can manage vaginal dryness by avoiding douches or perfumed soaps, creams and washes in and around your vagina. You can also use vaginal moisturisers, and try water-based lubricants before sex to relieve any discomfort.

Loss of libido

Along with the drop in oestrogen levels, symptoms of the menopause such as difficulty sleeping, weight gain and vaginal dryness can affect our sex drive. Everyone’s sex drive is different – there’s no such thing as a “normal” libido, but if you are experiencing a reduced interest in or enjoyment of sex, start by talking to your partner so they know what you’re going through.
Along with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) which helps with several of the symptoms of the menopause and is often prescribed for menopausal women, treating vaginal dryness, sticking to a healthy diet and doing physical activity can help keep you feeling more like yourself and more in the mood…


To view all of our menopause products and read similar articles go to allbeauty.com/menopause

Living With Rosacea

If you suffer from rosacea, the chances are that you’ve already spent hours of your life researching everything you can about how to avoid flares and know more about the quirks of your particular variety of rosacea than your own GP does. If this is the case, feel free to skip to the next section.

However, if you’ve recently been diagnosed, or are trying to support a loved one with the condition, it’s helpful to have an overview of what rosacea is and how it can best be dealt with.

Rosacea is a common skin condition which is still poorly understood. It can come and go, with “flushing” being spread across the cheeks, forehead and chin, generally avoiding the eye and mouth area. It can also result in a stinging sensation, spots, visible blood vessels and/or permanent redness. 

While we don’t know what causes rosacea, there are triggers which have been identified as making a flare more likely. They are:

  • Stress
  • Exercise
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Sun exposure
  • Spicy foods
  • Hot drinks
  • Hot/cold weather

Living With Rosacea

There are a few things you can do to make living with rosacea more manageable. First of all, avoid the factors which trigger flare-ups. If you haven’t yet identified what your triggers are, keep a diary for a few weeks to help spot patterns – it’s mundane, but it can be incredibly helpful at pinpointing which events most upset your skin.

Woman writing in diary - Rosacea

Next, make sure you’re protecting your skin from the sun by using a sunscreen of at least SPF30. Even on cloudy days, the sun’s rays may harm your skin, so it’s best to get into the routine of wearing an SPF daily to completely eliminate the risk. You can find many sun-protection products which have been specifically designed for sensitive skin and redness, such as Uriage’s SPF30 Eau Thermale Anti-Redness Cream.

Being gentle with your skin is key when it comes to rosacea, whether that means protecting it from the elements or using ultra-mild cleansers. Men may also find that using an electric razor rather than a blade is less irritating for the skin.


How To Deal With Rosacea (Without Making It Worse)

When flares do happen, it can be tempting to reach for the heavy artillery, but dermatologists recommend avoiding steroid cream unless you’ve been instructed to use it by your doctor. While steroids are wonderful for targeting inflammation, they can thin your skin, which can ultimately make your rosacea worse, so they must be used only as needed. 

If you want to use make-up to camouflage your rosacea, dermatologists also advise that you avoid anything water-proof or oil-based. Instead, opt for water-based skincare products where possible. We highlight some of the best options further below in the blog.

If your rosacea is proving particularly challenging and is significantly affecting your day-to-day life or mental health, there are other options you may wish to explore. UK based charity, Changing Faces, helps people with a range of conditions related to their physical appearance and can provide camouflage makeup to rosacea sufferers. If you’d like to explore this service you’ll need a referral, so make an appointment with your GP to discuss this further. 


Clinical Treatments for Rosacea

While there isn’t any cure for rosacea, many people find that clinical intervention can help to control their condition or reduce the occurrence of flare-ups. 

Prescription gels and creams are available from your GP or dermatologist. These are applied directly to the affected area to lessen redness and spots.

Female doctor speaking to red haired patient - Rosacea

Oral medications can also be prescribed by your medical professional, such as antibiotics. These are usually only used for severe rosacea over a short period of time.   

Alternative procedures such as intense pulsed light (IPL) and laser treatment have been found to help some sufferers of rosacea. These treatments are offered privately at many cosmetic clinics without a referral.


Rosacea and Blepharitis

It’s incredibly common for people who suffer from skin inflammation, such as rosacea and eczema to periodically develop blepharitis too. Blepharitis can come and go and is characterised by itchy, sore, red eyelids and flakes along your lash line. 

The good news is that blepharitis is much easier to get rid of than rosacea. Wash your eyelids each day using a warm, wet flannel. It can help to leave the flannel on your eyes for 10 minutes to loosen up and flakes and then massage the skin around your lashes to remove the buildup. By doing this frequently, your eyes will soon be clear. 


The Best Skincare Routine for Rosacea

As we’ve mentioned before, the most important factor when it comes to dealing with rosacea is a ‘softly softly’ approach. It doesn’t take much to irritate rosacea-prone skin, so opt for gentle products wherever possible.

Cleansing

We recommend cleansing your skin twice daily using a gentle, soap-free cleanser. Look for cleansers which have a neutral pH, and avoid anything that lists fragrances or alcohol among its ingredients*. A suitable example is the Darphin Azahar Cleansing Micellar Water, or if you prefer a slightly creamier cleanser, the Manuka Doctor Anti-Redness Cream Cleanser is another great option.

 

Darphin Azahar Cleansing Micellar Water - Rosacea

After cleansing, rinse your face with warm water and pat dry, ensuring the skin is completely dry before applying any topical medications. 

While we recommend avoiding the use of toners for rosacea-prone skin, you should particularly be wary of any which contain astringent ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulphate, lanolin, witch hazel, menthol, camphor, peppermint and clove oil. 

*Some alcohols are not drying, but are instead used to stop products from separating, such as cetearyl alcohol.

 

Moisturising

If your skin feels tight or sore, using a moisturiser can provide much-needed relief. Choose a product which is targeted at sensitive skin; it will usually be noted as being fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. Simply being ‘dermatologically-tested’ won’t cut it for skin that is prone to rosacea.

We recommend the 100% natural Balance Me Rose Otto Face Oil which contains a host of nourishing oils and has been formulated specifically for sensitive, reactive and dry skin. You may also want to pair this with a heavier cream on top, such as Dermaskin from Salcura’s Bioskin range. Containing Omega’s 3 and 6, as well as Vitamin C, E and a combination of natural oils, Dermaskin gives skin a rich protective base. 

 

Balance Me Rose Otto Face Oil - Rosacea

 

Night-time Moisturising

At night, you may wish to pair your Balance Me Rose Otto Face Oil with something even heavier, to work on repairing your skin as you sleep. Love CBD Balm is a thick base of shea and coconut butter, infused with grapeseed oil, rosemary and CBD oil. Making waves in the scientific community for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, CBD is one of the fastest-growing ingredients in skincare. 

 

Balance Me Rose Otto Face Oil and Love CBD balm - Rosacea

 

Make-Up For Rosacea

When it comes to choosing a foundation to cover your rosacea there are a few key features to look for. A good foundation needs to have the ability to build layers – this will allow you to get the right coverage without that full-face ‘caked’ look. Your foundation should also have ingredients that actively help your rosacea, not just cover it up. It should also be free of any potential irritants to ensure it doesn’t do more harm than good. 

A few of our favourite foundations that tick all the above boxes are:

Clinique Redness Solutions Foundation SPF15 has been designed by skincare experts to reduce redness while using probiotic technology to enhance skin health. Not only does it give great coverage, its formulation actually helps to improve the appearance of your rosacea from the inside out.  

 

Clinique Redness Solutions Foundation SPF15 - Rosacea

 

Using a combination of minerals and pigments, Perricone MD No Makeup Foundation Serum SPF30’s ‘one-tone’ foundation is buildable with a semi-matte finish. The neuropeptides contained in the product can help with inflammation, while the SPF30 will give you total peace of mind. 

Perricone MD No Makeup Foundation Serum SPF30 - Rosacea

 

If you prefer a truly natural foundation, bareMinerals Original Foundation SPF15 may be just the product for you. This original formula uses just five minerals to give buildable coverage in a wide range of colours. 

bareMinerals Original Foundation SPF15 - Rosacea

 

Have you had success with any of the products on our list? Or perhaps you swear by something we haven’t listed? Let other readers know your top tips for dealing with rosacea in the comments below.


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Cellulite: The Lowdown on Orange Peel

Ah, cellulite. That dimply, dappled effect that dons the legs, bums, tums and arms of 90% of women. First of all, let that statistic sink in. 90% of women suffer from cellulite, so if you’ve spent years battling the dreaded orange peel, you’re in very good company. 

Whether you’re working toward embracing and accepting your lumpy bits, or are looking for ways to banish them, here you’ll find everything you need to know.


Myths About Cellulite

Women of different ethnicity's showing their cellulite

Let’s start by covering some of the untruths many people believe about cellulite. 

Cellulite only affects you if you’re overweight

Cellulite is one of those things that strikes indiscriminately. Despite what many may think, weight isn’t always a factor. While a larger surface area can certainly make cellulite more obvious, being overweight isn’t a precursor for cellulite. Many of us will vouch for that fact. 

Cellulite is genetic.

While there can be a genetic element to cellulite, our biology is rather complicated so it isn’t quite as straightforward as that. One sister within a family may inherit her mother’s dimply bottom, while her sibling may not. If ever there was a trigger for sibling rivalry! 

When it comes to hereditary cellulite, it’s luck of the draw.

Men don’t get cellulite.

Blokes aren’t passed over in the genetic lottery either I’m afraid. Cellulite does affect women in a greater proportion due to our typical fat distribution and connective tissue, but it also affects an estimated 10% of men. However, men do have the benefit of being able to wear their hairy thighs with pride to take the focus off those lumps and bumps. If only!

There’s nothing you can do about cellulite.

Time for hard truths. There’s nothing you can do to rid yourself of cellulite completely. We know, we know. It hurts to hear it. If there was a magical treatment that blasted those bumps into oblivion, we’d be first in the queue. Sadly, that’s just not the way it works. BUT, and this is a big but, you can reduce the visible appearance of cellulite. So, for those of us who would rather eradicate than embrace, there’s hope in sight. 


So, What Causes Cellulite?

Without going too far into the science, cellulite is the term for the bumps and dimples created on the skin by underlying fat. When the fat pushes through connective tissue it can make the skin above pucker or bulge, creating cellulite. Women have vertical connective tissue, making us more susceptible to this effect, while men have a criss-cross structure that makes cellulite less likely. 

Woman showing her Cellulite

Your genetics play a role in determining your connective tissue, but lifestyle factors can also play a role. If you smoke, have a diet low in fibre, or live a sedentary lifestyle, you’re more at risk of exacerbating cellulite. 

Unfortunately, age also plays a factor, as those connective tissues weaken over time. From around the age of 30, our bodies naturally produce less collagen, the substance which gives our skin its elasticity. The combination of these two age-related factors makes cellulite more likely to form.


Types of Cellulite

Did you realise there was more than one type of cellulite? You’re not alone! There are in fact three types of cellulite of different severities which are grouped based on their visual appearance.

Grade 1, mild cellulite:

Typically “orange-peel” in appearance. Mild cellulite is categorised as having between 1 and 4 superficial depressions and slight sagging to the skin. 

Grade 2, moderate cellulite:

Typically “cottage cheese” in appearance. Moderate cellulite is categorised as having between 5 and 9 medium-depth depressions and moderate sagging.

Grade 3, severe cellulite:

Typically has a “mattress” appearance. Severe cellulite is categorised as having 10 or more deep depressions and severe sagging.


How to Get Rid of Cellulite

As we learned in #4 of the cellulite myths, you can’t get rid of cellulite, but that’s not to say you have to be happy with the status quo. So, if you can’t wave a magic wand and reveal a silky smooth bum, tum and thighs, what can you do?

Embrace Those Curves

Life’s too short to spend hiding behind sarongs, knee-length shorts and drapey kaftans. Throw off those excess layers and stride to the sand or poolside with confidence. 

Ok, if you’re reading this article then chances are you’re not quite at that point. But next time you’re at the beach or pool, instead of worrying what your body looks like, take a moment to look around. People come in every shape and size. That woman with the glorious legs is probably self-conscious about her small breasts, the one with the pert bum may have crooked teeth she spends her life trying to hide. 

We all have our imperfections, so why not just accept and embrace them? 

Give Your Skin A Fighting Chance

While there are a lot of factors that can’t be changed, there are a few things you can do to help your body. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables which are high in fibre, and reduce the salt and saturated fats you consume. Staying hydrated will also help your skin retain some of its moisture, reducing the appearance of cellulite. 

In terms of lifestyle, step away from the cigarettes and try to move more. Exercising won’t get rid of cellulite, but it does help to improve the muscle tone beneath the fatty layer of cellulite. Blood circulation to the affected area can also play an important role in cellulite, so avoid sitting for long periods of time, or wearing clothing that may limit blood flow.

How Can You Smooth The Appearance Of Cellulite?

If you’ve tackled the lifestyle aspects of cellulite but still aren’t seeing the results you want, it may be time to enlist some expert help. There are a variety of techniques and ingredients which can tackle cellulite, but here are a few of the products rated highest by other allbeauty customers.

 

Guinot Minceur Rapide Fast Action Slimming Gel

Guinot Minceur Rapide Fast Action Slimming Gel - Cellulite

If you have a special event and need smoother skin in a flash, look no further than the Fast Action Slimming Gel by Guinot. Stimulating circulation and encouraging the draining of excess fluid from tissue, cellulite is visibly reduced. 

“Very happy with the purchase, price, delivery and quality of the product.”

Our Price: £23.95

5* review from allbeauty customer

 

Collistar Anticellulite Caffeine Capsules

Collistar Anticellulite Caffeine Capsules - Cellulite

Caffeine has been shown to stimulate circulation and burn fat, making these oil capsules a great way to shift your dimples.

“Impressed with the results already, easy to apply. Would highly recommend.”

Our Price: £18.50

5* review from allbeauty customer

 

Elemis Body Detox Skin Brush

Elemis Body Detox Skin Brush - Cellulite

Stimulating blood flow to those problem areas can help to plump skin and reduce the appearance of orange peel skin. Incorporate a dry scrub into your daily routine with this Body Detox Skin Brush from Elemis.

“Introduced to this product on a cruise. Bought 4 more for Christmas presents says it all!”

Our Price: £14.70

5* review from allbeauty customer

 

Weleda Birch Cellulite Oil

Weleda Birch Cellulite Oil - Cellulite

Rich in natural plant extracts, the Cellulite Oil by Weleda firms and improves the appearance of cellulite. Use in tandem with the Elemis Body Detox Skin Brush for best results.

“This oil is amazing, it has completely changed how I feel about my back thighs. It has reduced the cellulite dramatically with help from using a body brush. I highly recommend this product!!!”

Our Price: £14.90

5* review from allbeauty customer


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