Hairy Situations During and After Menopause
I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. I know my eyesight isn’t what it used to be, but is that hair I see on my cheeks and upper lip? No way. I haven’t had to wax my upper lip since I was 20-something. Why now? And is my skin getting thinner, or is that my imagination?
Turns out, facial hair growth during or after menopause is quite common, and so is thinning skin. Both changes are hormonally driven. Facial hair starts to grow because our estrogen is dropping compared to our testosterone. Plus lower estrogen levels cause our skin to thin out and lose elasticity.
The hairy lip was bothering me a lot, so I bought a wax kit and waxed it, but I have lost my touch. It used to be easy but boy, did it hurt. Or maybe I just haven’t done it in so long that I forgot how much it hurt 30 years ago. There are easier ways, but they cost more money. There is laser hair removal, IPL (intense pulsed light), electrolysis, and sugaring (similar to waxing as I understand, but ouch). Maybe I’ll save up and spring for electrolysis. But in the meantime, I have stumbled across some natural or nutritional solutions (maybe).
I’ve read that a diet rich in protein, complex carbohydrates and colorful fruits & veggies can help. I’ve also read that stress and fat (body fat over 30%) can make facial hair growth worse. Unusual hair growth can also be caused by higher-than-normal levels of insulin, so I may give up some of the sugar I’m addicted to. I also read that drinking spearmint tea twice a day can help. No harm in trying that.
As for my skin, vitamin C is supposed to be good and I know soap is bad. Linoleic acid is good and that’s found in green leafy veggies, some nuts and plant-based oils. I try to have a handful of nuts every day for fiber and their other good qualities anyway. Essential fatty acids, those found in flaxseed oil, fish oil and sunflower oil, are going to be added to my diet along with more vitamin E (natural, not the chemical stuff), zinc (found in oysters but I’ll get mine from a multivitamin, thank you) and selenium (from Brazil nuts, which I like anyway),
Also, I’m supposed to avoid hot showers so I’ve turned down the heat a bit, which is easy now because it’s summer. I love a good, hot shower in the winter but my skin doesn’t, so maybe I can get over it.
This is a new regimen for me, so I’ll let you know how it goes. If any of you have found ways to reduce the hair on your face or have skin tips that work, let me (and the rest of us) know
Toni wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Menopause.