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Aesthetic medicine and the menopause – what's best?

Aesthetic treatments can and should be tailored to the biological phases of a woman’s life, says our EV Expert

This year, high profile women such as Davina McCall and beauty entrepreneur Liz Earle have lent their faces to campaigns aimed at encouraging more open conversation about the menopause.

EV Expert Deborah Forsythe feels the aesthetic industry plays an important role in taking the conversation a step further, empowering women with information and options.  

The menopause expert has dedicated 20 years to treating women experiencing peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms. “The menopause and the period of time leading up to it, which we term peri-menopause, affects women at a hormonal and deeply cellular level," she says.

"To be truly effective for older women, aesthetic practitioners need to take into account and tailor for peri-menopause and menopausal changes.”  

Here, Forsythe tells us what to expect with peri-menopause and menopause and the ways in which aesthetic treatments, skincare and your lifestyle can be tailored and adapted to restore health and appearance.

Reharmonise your hormones 

Depletion of  oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone and fluctuations of cortisol, insulin and thyroid hormones can throw women’s bodies into chaos, leading to weight gain, hair loss and ageing skin, says Forsythe.  

“The menopause puts your body into panic and survival mode. The extra weight that shows up around your middle is mother nature’s way of trying to keep you healthy and alive, and no amount of dieting or fasting will shift it without good hormonal supplementation.”

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is an option that can be prescribed by GPs, who will be able to explain the different types of HRT available and help you choose one most suitable to you. This type of hormone therapy is not for everyone, however, and depends upon your personal health record and family history, cautions Forsythe.

Forsythe is an advocate of Bioidentical Hormone Therapy (BHT); also known as natural hormone therapy, BHT is the use of hormones that are molecularly identical to your body’s hormones.

“BHT is not a treatment that can be prescribed by the NHS currently and I recommend women go to a specialist who can test and advise on your hormone balance,” says Forsythe. “What I like about BHT is that it can be tailored to the person and even amended on an ongoing basis, allowing for hormonal changes brought about by factors like the change of seasons, dietary modifications or increased age.”

Menopausal skin tweakments

As an aesthetic practitioner, the key to getting good results from treatments such as dermal filler for older clients is an understanding of the skin and the ability to counteract the effects of ageing with precise, expert placement, says Forsythe.

“As we age, the fat pads in our face waste and sag – well placed dermal filler can help to restore fullness and lift the face. Thankfully, aesthetic treatments are moving away from the Stepford Wives look. It’s no longer about over-filling. Instead, it’s like putting your hands to the side of a person’s face with care and lifting things back into their rightful place.”

Platelet Rich Plasma Injections (PRP) is another expert-approved treatment for older skin. “Something that cuts across all of my work is the belief in helping the body to work at an optimum level for itself and that is exactly what PRP does for the skin,” says Forsythe. “PRP treatments use your own blood platelets to stimulate new cell growth, restore skin texture and improve the complexion.”

Get to the root of hair loss  

“Hair is a very visible sign of youth and health and losing hair can be devastating,” says Forsythe. "I’m very glad to be working in an era where advances in aesthetic medicine mean we can restore hair and, with it, women’s confidence.”

Forsythe recommends a range of treatments that do not just cover up but get to the root cause of hair loss. “Hair loss can often be a result of a depletion in oestrogen and thyroid hormones and can be combatted by supplementing the deficit.

“We now have effective topical treatments that work wonders on disappearing eyebrows and eyelashes. PRP is another go-to treatment, which works in the same way as it does for the skin, helping to repair damage to hair follicles and restore hair growth.”  

Avoid chemicals in your diet   

The quality of the food you eat is more important than ever during peri-menopause and menopause. “You have to ask, ‘what has what I eat eaten?’” says Forsythe. “With cows being given synthetic hormones to boost weight and milk production, oestrogen in foods, such as meat, cheese and milk can play havoc with your hormonal balance and is even linked to cancer development.”

Plastic packaging is another enemy of the menopausal body, according to Forsythe. “Many plastics contain a compound referred to as BPA,” explains Forsythe. “This acts like oestrogen in the body and disrupts your hormonal balance, which can have a knock-on effect on your wellbeing, including sleep, metabolism and sexual function.”

Make your menopause plan 

Forsythe believes strongly that women should be equipped with the information they need to make important and individual choices about how they can optimise their health and appearance during the menopause.

“Women should make menopause plans much like we make a birth plan in pregnancy,” says Forsythe. “Knowledge is power and your ‘meno-plan’ will empower you to make the right choices for you.”

Deborah Forsythe, CEO

When I originally qualified, my speciality was in Accident and Emergency medicine where I was at the forefront of acute...

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