Spa owners sound off on how they help ease clients’ change-of-life challenges via skincare and wellness offerings.

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Denise Dubois, founder and owner of Complexions Spa for Beauty and Wellness in Albany, New York: We offer clients a Clinical Care Consultation for Age Management (we do not market it as a menopausal skincare program), in which clients fill out an extensive profile/questionnaire regarding their skincare concerns, goals, medications, etc. We utilize a flip chart that demonstrates the skin’s aging process, so that we are able to discuss the impact hormones play in this process.

Candace Badgett, co-owner and vice president of The Raj in Fairfield, Iowa: Consultations are so important, as every client responds differently to menopause. Symptoms are impacted by an individual’s predominant biological constitution, or ayurvedic dosha—vatta, pitta or kapha—and any imbalances that occur within that dosha. A client’s digestion, metabolism, mental health and lifestyle also factor into her specific menopausal transition.

Brenda Gilbert, owner of B*G* Makeovers Advanced Skin Care & Day Spa in Raymond, New Hampshire: I find that most clients don’t even realize that menopause is the culprit when their skin begins to act up. I never use the word ‘menopause’, but instead refer to it as a ‘hormonal change’ when clients tell me about their skincare concerns and issues via our intake form.

What treatments do you recommend to menopausal clients?
Dubois: Since clients often lose elasticity during menopause, I recommend chemical exfoliation to control oil production, stimulate collagen, and brighten and improve skin tone. Dermaplaning is also an excellent way to remove the outermost layer of dead skin cells, improving upon the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and helping active ingredients to better penetrate. We also suggest a facial treatment incorporating microcurrent, for added muscle stimulation and tightening.

Gilbert: Gentle body treatments are ideal. I include a light, dry-brushing component to help stimulate menopausal clients’ blood flow, as well as a potent moisturizing agent, as skin becomes very dry and itchy during this period.

Badgett: We offer an in-residence Maharashi Rejuvenation Therapy program, which includes a customized series of cleansing therapies, herbalized oil massages, heating and/or cooling treatments, and a mild enema suited to clients’ individual needs.

Any skincare misconceptions clients tend to harbor during this stage of life?
Dubois: While clients are typically aware that loss of tone and wrinkle formation are related to hormones and aging, many don’t realize the extent of the physiological changes that take place within the skin. The subcutaneous layer thins out during this time, resulting in loss of volume, and hollow-looking skin. It is also not typically understood that, with the decline of estrogen levels and increase in testosterone, skin oils become denser, leading to breakouts and enlarged pores. This is why exfoliation is crucial to keeping our skin looking rejuvenated.

Gilbert: It’s important for women to not play around with their hormones by self-medicating. For instance, herbs such as wild yams have long been popular ingredients in natural menopausal treatments and supplements. However, these plant-based solutions can sometimes have an adverse effect on the skin, and should not be taken without consulting a doctor or physician first.

Badgett: From an ayurvedic point of view, I think many clients don’t realize that menopause is a very complex process. It’s so much more than hot flashes and dry skin. Everyone wants a magic pill to cure them of their symptoms, but it’s just not that simple. You really have to address the entire person’s lifestyle when you’re addressing menopause.

What homecare practices do you recommend to these clients?
Dubois: I emphasize the importance of exfoliation, antioxidants, and skin-stimulating products such as those containing growth factors, peptides, stem cells and retinol. Hydration and sun protection are also vital.

Gilbert: I recommend that clients use virgin coconut oils as a natural facial moisturizer. Coconut oil is free from preservatives and chemicals that can dry out menopausal skin, and so is truly effective in retaining moisture.

Badgett: Transcendental meditation is the No. 1 solution I recommend. A wealth of scientific research validates its effectiveness in reducing many of the mental stress factors influencing menopause. Research shows it creates virtually the opposite physiological response that stress does, and helps the body recover more quickly from stressful stimuli. I suggest menopausal clients meditate for 20 minutes twice a day.

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