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How To Eat For Aging Skin In Menopause, From MDs

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Image by PeopleImages / iStock
November 6, 2022
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When your hormones are out of balance, your body will keep score—from hormonal acne along the jawline to hair loss to mood swings to fatigue...the list goes on for quite some time. Of course, menopause comes with its own list of expected changes, whenever you hit that stage of life (generally ages 45 to 55, though a few years prior and after are also common).

Among those specific shifts, you might start to notice some unfavorable skin concerns (sagging, fine lines, etc.). A thoughtful topical skin care routine is a must, but ingesting certain foods can also help ease the natural shift that comes with skin aging—here's what to know.

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The best diet for skin during menopause.

We likely don't have to remind you that what you consume shows up on your skin. It's not a secret that at any age, a lack of whole, natural foods can impact your skin's health from within. Specifically, you may want to avoid diets high in refined sugar, which have been linked to hardening and fragmentation of collagen in the skin1.

Even if you limit refined sugar and high-glycemic-index foods, what staples should you prioritize? According to board-certified dermatologist Sarv Zand, M.D., founder of Zand Dermatology and dermatologist adviser for Stripes, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich foods are a must.

"We recommend focusing on fish, salads, nuts, and veggies, and eliminating sugar, carbs, and dairy, she previously told mbg. OB/GYN Alyssa Dweck, M.D., echoes this recommendation on the mindbodygreen podcast: "Typically, in gyno world, we recommend the Mediterranean diet," she notes.

Why are these foods so important for aging skin? Well, there are a couple of reasons:

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Free radicals lead to aging skin. 

One of the main contributing factors to skin aging is free radical damage, aka oxidative stress. This can come from UV rays, pollution, and even mental and emotional stress. When you consume antioxidants (or apply them topically), it's like your body is putting up a shield against free radicals.

The most popular antioxidant is vitamin C, and it's especially beneficial for aging skin. See, vitamin C is actually required for your body to produce collagen. Without an adequate amount of this essential nutrient, your skin has trouble creating and maintaining collagen balance.

As you may already know, when collagen degradation occurs more quickly than collagen production, then you're left with a lack of collagen, which may lead to skin sagging, fine lines and wrinkles, or crepey skin.

Less inflammation is a good thing. 

"In my holistic cosmetic derm practice, we talk a lot about anti-inflammatory diets as a means of keeping our bodies as healthy as possible during times of transition," Zand says. "We love supplementing with anti-inflammatory evening primrose oil, fish oils, biotin, and collagen daily for additional support."

When there's excessive inflammation in the body, it accelerates the breakdown of collagen and elastin. Not to mention, inflammation in the body can show up as redness and discomfort on the skin as well.

If you're already prioritizing anti-inflammatory foods, you might want to think about taking collagen supplements, too. These can help fill the gap in collagen production that naturally declines during menopause. Just be sure to look for hydrolyzed collagen peptides, as this is the form used in most promising clinical studies to date. Here's a list of nine options with formulas actually backed by research

And remember: This doesn't mean your entire diet has to be made up of whole foods all the time; it's simply a framework to play around with. Your favorite treats and meals are a must on occasion, as food should bring you joy, too!

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The takeaway.

Hormones influence so many functions in the body, your skin health included. To encourage healthy skin as you age, be sure to prioritize anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods, along with minding your topical skin care routine. There's much more to learn about menopause and skin care—here are all of your questions answered in one place.

Hannah Frye
Hannah Frye
mbg Assistant Beauty Editor

Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.