We're thrilled to introduce Lisa Snowdon as our new MenoGlow partner! Lisa is a strong advocate for ageing gracefully and embracing your skin at every phase of life. She is also a passionate conversation starter about the effects of the menopause, so we jumped at the chance to have her trial our MenoGlow collection designed specifically to cool, hydrate, and restore radiance to menopausal skin. We sat down with Lisa for an intimate conversation about her own unique experience with the menopause and how she dealt with the skin concerns brought about by this major life change.
What did you know about menopause prior to getting symptoms and had you ever heard of peri-menopause?
Prior to noticing symptoms, I thought menopause was something that happened to women when they were much older, around 55. I’d never heard of perimenopause and had no idea there was something before the menopause with definitive signs and symptoms. I thought the menopause was just hot flushes and your period stopping in later life!
Hold old were you when you first started to think something was amiss and why was that?
When I look back, I think it was much earlier than I had realised. There were definitive signs that something was changing when I was around 44; my periods became eratic, really painful and debilitating – they were short bleeds but very heavy, I was unable to leave the house some days.
What were your first symptoms?
My first symptoms were definitely changes to my periods, when I look back, that was definitely the start of it I just hadn’t realised at the time. Then over the next couple of years, it was a combination of depression, rage, anxiety, panic and weight gain which slowly crept up on me. I also started to experience hot flushes. My skin was feeling very dry and lack-lustre – it had lost structure in the face. I wasn’t feeling myself, my clothes weren’t fitting, I had a lack of energy, brain fog and no clarity. I didn’t recognise myself.
Did you find many resources online/books etc for peri-menopause?
I didn’t know anything about peri-menopause at the time. I was having acupuncture and my therapist kept looking at my tongue and saying my hormones were all over the place. I’d cry at the drop of a hat, unable to process situations that I’d normally breeze through. I didn’t know how to slow down the panic.
There weren’t many resources at all and when I was in the midst of it, I didn’t know what was going on, I just focused on getting through each day. I felt like I had a cloud over me and spoke to a friend who suggested I went to see a doctor. It transpired after my blood tests that I was in peri-menopause. It was relief combined with shock; there was finally an explanation, however I also felt too young. I’d been kidding myself, as I felt young at heart!
I’d only known menopause happened a year after your last period, there was no clarity on the different stages of menopause. However, everything changes so dramatically and women have been quite silent about their symptoms, until now.
Now there are brilliant resources, such as The British Menopause Society and lots of information online.
Where are you at now with symptoms?
Thankfully I have my symptoms under control, however it is a moving target. I speak massively about being pro-HRT. However, no one size fits all, it’s very individual and a personal journey. On this date today, I feel pretty good! I’m able to go to the gym, I’ve got loads of energy, sleep is good and better than it was, anxiety and depression have gone, hot flushes have gone – all of the horrible things that impacted my life aren’t there anymore. That’s not to say that sometimes my medication needs tweaking, I see it as a 360 approach, HRT isn’t a silver bullet. It’s something that will help boost hormone levels, however there’s an element of self-care needed in life, sleep, drinking plenty of water, eating nourishing food, a beauty regime.
If you could give women any advice re peri-menopause what would it be?
My advice would be to not be afraid. Speak out to your friends and family, do your research, see your doctor. The British Menopause Society is there for advice. Recognise and listen to your body when you’re feeling different, weird, or there are changes to your cycle. Take a moment to ask yourself if its stress, work, or kids driving you crazy – or is it something else. Take moments for you where you can really check in.
Do you think society is changing the way it approaches and talks about menopause vs a few years ago?
Absolutely, and thank god! It’s amazing that this conversation is now happening on such a huge scale. That information wasn’t there for me in my early 40's or my mum or grandma who had to deal with this on their own, heartbreaking!
Was your sleep disrupted in menopause?
My sleep was hugely distributed before I started taking HRT. I was hardly sleeping, waking up every hour and was exhausted. My skin suffered because of the flushes and the night sweats and the sleep deprivation. It was dry more sensitive and lacked the luminosity and glow that the PRAI Beauty x M&S Menoglow products have helped to bring back. They're packed full of hydrating ingredients to help restore and heal.
Beauty and Menopause
Have you noticed differences to your skin since being in the menopause, if so what are they?
Yes, I noticed huge differences to my skin in the menopause, dryness, lack of luminosity, lack of muscle tone. I had angry flair ups and breakouts on my jawline that I hadn’t had before, hormone imbalances, night sweats; you get so hot then really shivery, so skin looks very lacklustre.
Have you switched up your beauty regime since being in the menopause?
Yes, I take a 360 approach to my wellness. Its paramount I do my beauty regime twice a day; cleansing, removing makeup, using lovely serums and lathering on good products, as well as night-time treatments that feed your skin and boost the regeneration process. Plus, lots of water and looking after myself!
What is your favourite MenoGlow skin saviour and why?
In summer I loved the Hot Flush Cool Fix Serum, for me it was a summer saviour, so lovely and tingling, my skin felt like it was singing!
I do really love the sleep combo; the creme and mask is a double whammy, they are so nice together! The Super Hydrating Sleep Creme is beautiful, it’s so rich but absorbs really quickly, then I apply the gorgeous Ultra Rejuvenating Sleep Mask and let it work its magic.
Would you say your skin aged much faster since menopause?
Yes, unfortunately that’s one of the tell-tale signs. Suddenly, you don’t recognise yourself! Oestrogen is responsible for all the bounce and collagen production and that gorgeous youthful glow – then overnight it disappears! You’re also dealing with sleep deprivation, you drink more coffee which dries skin out even more and it perpetuates into a viscious cycle of yukkiness!
Did you notice neck ageing in menopause?
Yes, I really noticed neck ageing in menopause, on my jawline and my neck.
What’s your can’t live without / desert island must have beauty product?
It would have to be an SPF, especially if you’re on a hot island!
What is your beauty/wellness secret to looking so amazing?
That’s so lovely of you to say! It’s a little bit of everything; happiness, sleep, water, fresh air, exercise. Surrounding yourself with good people, meditation first thing in the morning to get you in a good headspace. Beauty comes from within, and products really help, but you need to get balance and it’s a 360 approach. Get your mind and body in a good place.
What’s the one thing you wish you knew (beauty or wellness wise) when you were younger?
It would have been so much easier to know about the menopause. It would have been more powerful to know about it ahead of time. So, a little bit of a heads up that it’s something we’re going through and at a younger age than you’d expect. The more men and children are also educated, it will be an easier world to live in with a lot more patience and understanding.
Have a question about how menopause affects your skin or need help finding the right skincare products to address your concerns? Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our Neck-Xperts will be happy to help!