Dry skin? Dark brown age spots on the back of your hands? Flakey, dry and brittle nails? 

For some of you, these are just another part of going through the menopause. But please don’t despair, even if you are not taking HRT, there are little changes you can make that will help. 

“My nails have gone weak all of a sudden!”

“I’ve started to get ridges on my nails and it’s never happened before!”

“My nails are splitting and breaking so easily now!”

Does this sound like you? You are not alone! I’ve heard it time and time again whilst I worked as a beauty therapist. Women just like you sharing with me the changes they are seeing and feeling with their nails as they go through the menopause. 

Menopause and the different symptoms us women experience certainly wasn’t something that was taught in beauty school, or anywhere else for that matter. To be honest, apart from hot flushes and mood swings, who knew anything about the menopause, did you? 

If you had come to me for a manicure and talk about the changes in their nails a few years ago, I would give you advice about general nail care like moisturising regularly. I would ask you about your water intake, medication and any illnesses.  

Now it is so different. 

Like many of you, I’ve also moved into that chapter of my life. It’s definitely being spoken about more openly these days and you are able to find out so much more. Davina Maccall presented a brilliant documentary on menopause and this has sparked a huge conversation. Have you seen it?

I have been conducting my own research, not just from a therapists angle, but for my own personal benefit and I want to share my findings with you. I want to help you understand the ways in which your hands and nails are changing. We all know that as we get older, we get lines and wrinkles all over our body. 

So here you are, simple and easy to understand, the basic facts! No scientific stuff to bamboozle or bore you. Read on to find out how you can achieve healthier and better hands and nails as you go through this changing time in your life. 

Why the changes? 

Because you stop producing as much collagen and elastin.  The building blocks for beautifully toned smooth looking skin.   According to the American Academy of Dermatology studies show that up to 30% of collagen is lost during the first five years of menopause.  Wow that’s quite a lot!

What’s that got to do with nails I hear you say?

Well, collagen is a protein that gives our skin the strength and structure.  I’m sure you’ve heard about it before in the other realms of the beauty world.

Your skin loses its elasticity once collagen starts to wane, because of lack of moisture and this is what can cause menopausal women to find their nails become brittle.

But the nails are not made from collagen…

Keratin growing from matrix on nailCorrect.  They’re made from keratin, just like your hair.  However, your nails start to grow in the Matrix (basically your nail root).  Changes can take a few months to be noticed though.

I’m no medical expert but our hormones and bodies change gradually.  Although you may think your nails have changed dramatically in a short space of time.   It would have taken much longer.

Collagen supports the matrix structure and due to lack of collagen the nail will grow thinner for some people.

The nail at this point can become weaker and more flexible, which is not always a good thing.

Then there’s the decreasing levels of Estrogen, which can cause the skin to become dryer.  Again, leading to dry nails, as there is lack of moisture from under the nail plate.

There is a difference between brittle and weak nails too which many of us do get confused over.

What’s the difference between brittle and weak nails?

Weak nails – Are generally too flexible.  They are more prone to splitting or tearing, thin layers flake away from the top from the nail, like pieces of little tissue paper.

Whereas Brittle nails are not that flexible, they may appear thicker, they won’t tear or flake.  They’ll crack and snap across the nail and chip easily.  There’s a lack of moisture, think autumn leaves, how they crack and crumble once the moisture has dried up.

Thin nails are another difference.  But this one can be more generic or outside influences such as medication, illness, over-buffing, picking off nail overlays (Gels etc).  These can all lead to nails becoming thin. Making it tricky to say its due to menopause. 

How can you help yourself?  bare healthy nails no nail varnish                                                                          

Let’s start from the inside out.

A good level of micronutrients such as the vitamins and minerals and of course your water intake is an ideal starting point.

Our bodies can’t make enough of all the vitamins and minerals we need.  We must obtain them from our food intake.  Fruit and vegetables being the obvious ones.

Pulses and whole grains – Beans, lentils, peas are easily available to buy locally.

Leans sources of protein – white fish, plan Greek yoghurt, white meat, and Tofu to name a few.

Healthy fat sources – Nuts, seeds, good quality olive oil 

Cereal bowl with fruit and nuts for healthy nails and skinHealthy hands and nails holding fresh fruit and vegfresh green lime full of vitamins

We need these more as the gut may not function as well during this time, have a slower absorption.  Plus, alcohol can slow down absorption too.

Vitamin B’s and C are easily absorbed into the body, but not stored for long.  They need to be topped up regularly.

It’s a good idea to seek out fruits and veg.

Adding moisture from outside in is another way to assist, not only for your nails but your hands too.  It’s often said you can tell the real age of a person by the back of their hands.  They really do need all the help they can get as we age.

Simple things can help.  The common ones are hand creams and lotions.  But unless you’ve removed the dead skin cells first by exfoliation all those beneficial ingredients are going nowhere.  The dry, dead skin cells are putting a barrier up.  So, you need to use a hand scrub before applying hand cream.

Hand exfoliator home recipe

A simple mix of olive oil and brown sugar in equal parts will do the trick.  If you want something a bit gentler use some oats instead of sugar with milk and oil.

Care in the sunbrown age spots on skin of hands

Always apply sunscreen to the back of your hands to help prevent the darker brown spots, especially when driving.  Just take note next time and see how much sunlight hits your hands in the car.

As Estrogen levels fall the melanin levels fall too, which is what helps us tan and Estrogen helps regulate this.

But of course, it all goes a bit un-balanced, and more melanin can be produced which leads to the larger dark brown spots or age spots.
Of course, applying SPF all over your body when lying out in the sun is the answer, but just remember your hands when driving, we always overlook this

You can’t wish for healthy nails

But you can take some action

Make some small changes to your diet, make good choices in the direction of better hand and nail care products and yes you do have time for these.

Using the Fresh Therapies Nourishing Nail Elixir can help regenerate new cell growth, nourish and condition your nails and cuticles. SHOP HERE

I hope I’ve helped you understand a little bit more.

Want to chat? No worries you can email me [email protected]

Phone – 023 8073 9595

Want to find out about the products? – www.freshtherapies.com

Want to read more of our blogs? Read more here – https://freshtherapies.com/nail-lounge/

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