Are you experiencing the menopause? As you will probably know by now, it can come with many different menopause symptoms. Outlined here is some useful information to help you understand and cope with the menopause.

What is menopause?

The menopause is when lower hormone levels cause your periods to stop completely which usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, although it can happen earlier for some people. 

The time before your period permanently stops, when hormones begin to change and you start experiencing menopausal symptoms is called perimenopause.  

Symptoms of menopause.

When your ovaries stop producing as many hormones, it can cause a variety of menopausal symptoms. The most common signs of menopause are hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, mood swings, vaginal dryness, brain fog and headaches. Other symptoms include less energy, decreased sex drive and less muscle strength. You may also experience heart palpitations, weight gain and joint pains.

It is important to know that the change in the level of hormones can affect everyone differently. You may have many menopause symptoms or none at all, and they can change over time. 

 How to manage the menopause 

Although these changes are totally natural it can be a difficult time for some women, however, there are many menopause treatments that can help with symptoms and give you a better quality of life. 

Hormone replacement therapy  

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an effective way of managing the menopause.  By replacing the hormones that are at a lower level, HRT can relieve most menopause symptoms. It is advisable to speak to your GP to discuss the risks and benefits if you are interested in starting HRT.  

Lifestyle changes

Changes to your lifestyle can also help you manage menopause symptoms including eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep and exercising regularly.

Looking after our skin whilst having fun in the sun.  Applying sunscreen regularly is very important for looking after our skin whilst in the sun.

How does an SPF work? It is SPF?

SPF stands for sun protection factor. It is a measures of how well a sunscreen will protect our skin from UBV rays which is the kind of radiation that causes sunburn, damages skin and can lead to skin cancer.  All sunscreen products protect against UVB rays.

What’s the difference between the different SPFs?

SPFs are rated on a scale of two to 50+ depending on the protection they offer. The number shows how long the sun’s UV rays would take to burn your skin with sunscreen, compared to the time it would without.

If you skin would normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, applying an SPF 15 sunscreen would allow you to stay in the sun without burning for approximately

150 minutes (a factor of 15 times longer).  This is a rough estimate that depends on skin type, intensify of sunlight and the amount of sunscreen used. 

Generally, SPF 15 is considered mild protection, 15-30 is considered moderate protection and 30+ is considered high protection. Whatever SPF you use, make sure you reapply sunscreen every two hours to help keep your skin safe.

Which SPF should I use?

When choosing which SPF is best for you skin tone is important. Skin types can be divided into six different categories. These range from fair skin that burns very easily and doesn’t tan through to darker skin that doesn’t burn easily.

Those with fair skin, light-coloured eyes and freckles are at highest risk of sunburn and skin cancer. They should always use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.  If you’re very fair, you’re at a higher risk of causing damage to your skin if it’s exposed to the sun without protection.

Those with a darker complexion have more natural sun protection. Even if you have darker skin sunscreen you should still use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to protect your skin. Even if darker skin doesn’t visibly burn, there’s still a risk of the skin being damaged beneath the surface which could lead to long-term skin damage

including skin cancer.

Extra care must be taken to protect babies and children as their skin is much more sensitive. Always apply a high protection sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and preferably SPF 50 and babies younger than six months should be kept out of direct sunlight.

Staying Safe in the sun

Remember whichever type of sun protection you use keep your sunscreen topped up regularly when you are in the sun.  Do not rely on sunscreen alone when it’s hot outside you should try to protect your skin by wearing a hat and a t-shirt.  Between 11am and 3pm when it is the hottest time of the day choose a high SPF to help prevent sunburn and to protect your skin.

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