This month I want to talk about flaky skin, the type that occurs as we reach midlife.
Flaky skin is often one of the first skin changes that takes place in the peri-menopausal season. It can be isolated to the T-zone area of the face, or, occur across various parts of the body such as the elbows, legs, arms and even nails.
What Causes Flaky Skin?
Thinning skin and lowering levels of oestrogen reduces the water holding capacity of the skin. This moisture loss can cause the skin to become itchy. Dry, itchy skin may crack, allowing bacteria to enter and cause infections.
How Do I Find Relief from Flaky and Itchy Skin?
Many of us struggle with the additional stress caused by menopausal symptoms, such as insomnia, night sweats and mood swings. Unfortunately, heightened stress levels can exacerbate itching because stress triggers the release of histamine, which causes itching and sometimes skin rashes.
Calming the nervous system is an important part of caring for our skin and well-being. For many of us this will be a challenge because we are busy ladies and are used to putting the needs of others first.
Taking time out to relax doesn't have to be a huge planned event. In fact, 10-15 minutes per day of light exercise, relaxation techniques or yoga may be sufficient enough to lower stress levels and blood pressure.
Dehydration can cause a build-up of uric acid, which has been associated with itchy, flaky skin and joint pain. An easy way to tell if you are dehydrated is to check the colour of your urine to see if it is orangey/yellow and dark.
Remember that caffeinated drinks and alcohol will dehydrate the body, so drink plenty of water while consuming any of these and cut down or consider giving them up all together!
Check Your Clothing
Wool and some synthetic fibres can irritate the skin, so shopping for cotton and loose-fitting clothes may be one way of easing itchy skin.
One skin ritual we may not have bothered with too much in the past is exfoliation. However, it can help new skin cells appear by removing dead skin cells, oil and debris via gentle exfoliation.
A weekly facial mask treatment coupled with an oil-based or gentle daily cleanser, plus gentle exfoliating body scrubs will help the skin feel smooth and appear glowing.
Oil based products such as facial oils, serums, body balms and butters help lock moisture and support the skin’s barrier. They are brilliant at helping relieve itchy skin over the course of the day.
Remember that harsh surfactants such as SLS can irritate the skin, so make sure you avoid using them and keep your water temperature of your baths and showers warm, not hot. Get more tips here.