Mirror, Mirror: Perimenopausal Skin Care
The skinny on perimenopausal skin problems – and what you can do about them
Six months into my 47th year, I hit perimenopause. Or I should say perimenopause hit me.
It came as a shock (absurd, I know). But I didn’t have the usual symptoms my friends had bemoaned – no missed periods, no hot flashes – in fact, I was still bragging that my cycle was as regular as a Rolex. I assumed I was sailing through life symptom-free and that I was somehow magically skipping this step in a woman’s life.
Instead, it started with crushing fatigue that made a flight of stairs seem insurmountable, followed by waves of anxiety and depression (both new to me) that had me rushing to a therapist, a racing heartbeat with a side order of palpitations (I’m chronically anemic and ran to the doctor to test my iron), then my cycle, while still regular became so intense … well, I’ll spare you that.
And finally, two months into all these changes as though to ring the death knell on female youth came the night sweats.
During these initial months – call it Peri 101 – it felt as though an evil alien mastermind was at the controls and I was its puppet. And strange as it may sound it took several frustrating trips to the doctor to figure out that I had entered this stage of life. Why had these symptoms seemed so foreign to me? My only guess was not having had children I wasn’t used to the extreme hormonal shifts that suddenly appeared.
“ResurFx treats a number of issues at the same time. Because when you age, you don’t age with one problem,” says Kellett. “You don’t just get brown spots or fine lines or skin laxity. It kind of is all encompassing. So [ResurFx] is nice because it treats everything at once as opposed to coming for three separate treatments.”
Each treatment starts with microdermabrasion, which sloughs off the dead skin layer known as the stratum corneum, which not only makes the surface of your skin look better, it paves the way for Part 2: the IPL. The IPL (intense pulsed light), unfettered by dead skin, can penetrate deeper to maximize results – which are evening skin tone, essentially eradicating brown spots and red spots like spider veins and a little bit of rosacea.
“You’re treating the scaffolding of the skin – collagen and elastin – things that give it structure,” adds Kellett. The final part, which is where the treatment gets its name, is ResurFx, a resurfacing laser that causes the ablation of tissue, which means it burns off the top layer of skin making it look better and smoother while also stimulating collagen.
By the next day, I’m good to go. But it’s a few days later that I visibly see the difference.
A particularly bothersome brown spot is more than half vanished, and my cheeks have a renewed creamy tone. If my skin looks so much better after only one treatment, what would three bring? People who didn’t know what I was up to were complimenting my skin. Now I wonder what would four or five treatments do. It’s an addictive thing, and apparently I’m not the only one who feels that way.
“It’s a funny treatment because people see such good results, they want to do another one,” Kellett admits with a smile.
After my final session, she reassesses my skin and notes that while my cheeks look good, my acne scarring needs more work. That’s the skin story of my life – acne has plagued me long past teenagedom and well into adulthood. More times than I can count, I’ve had to apply foundation with a spatula before a big night out, yet it comes as a surprise when Kellett informs me that because of the loss of collagen and less skin laxity, acne scars become more obvious. Sigh.
But that’s the beauty of ResurFx: it can be tailored to each woman’s needs.