Considering that menopause is a natural stage of life that all women experience, you would think that more people would be comfortable talking about it openly. Even in 2021, menopause is often stigmatized based on the shame that our culture places on the process of aging.
Here at Pretty Clean Shop, we want to open up this conversation and help women to be more empowered and comfortable talking about their shared experiences during this natural stage of life.
After all, if we’re more comfortable talking about menopause within our communities, we will be better able to manage and understand the everyday symptoms and body changes that come along with it.
Instead of joining in the narrative of shame around menopause, we like to see it as a new beginning. This new chapter is an opportunity for you to grow and learn more about your body and health – and that is exciting!
Menopause is much more than the absence of menstruation. There can be many confusions involved with navigating menopause due to the body reducing its production of the hormone estrogen, such as changes to skin, hair, sex health, sleeping patterns, mood, and energy. Thankfully, here at Pretty Clean Shop, we have many suggestions for how to make the transition a little easier.
Skin & Hair
Skin and hair changes are some of the most common changes that people experience throughout and post-menopause.
Common hair and skin changes include thinning (in hair) and reduced plumpness (in skin), both of which can be linked to reduced collagen production by the body. Collagen, a protein that helps keep skin plump and hair thick and healthy, reduces in production alongside estrogen throughout menopause. We believe healthy skin and hair starts from the inside, which is why we recommend including some high-collagen foods in your diet such as fish, eggs, berries, citrus fruits, garlic, and red/yellow vegetables, and then supplementing when necessary. Our favourite supplements to help increase your body’s collagen production in support of healthy skin, hair, joints, and nails are the Vegan Collagen Booster gummies from Herbaland.
Increased skin dryness and flakiness is another common skin change that can occur during menopause. To support hydrated, healthy skin during this time, it is important to maintain a quality skincare routine. We recommend starting with a non-stripping cleansing oil such as the Essential Cleansing Oil by Sahajan or the Frankincense Best Skin Ever Cleanser by Living Libations. Hydrating serums are also beneficial, and our favourites are the Total Hydration Serum by Étymologie, the Face Serum from Sahajan, and the Regenerate Face Serum by Wildcraft. Finally, it is essential to find a daily moisturizer that locks all of the hydration in the skin. Moisturizing balm-lovers will love the Heroine Hotty Balm, while those who gravitate towards oils should try the Face Oil by Sahajan, and those who stick to creams should give the Maverick Face Cream by Living Libations, the Geranium Orange Blossom Face Cream by Wildcraft, or the Ultra Hydrating Unscented Facial Moisturizer by Penny Lane Organics a shot.
Thinning or shedding hair is another change that often occurs throughout menopause, and this is a difficult one to manage because everyone’s hair is so different and requires different things. Along with maintaining a healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins such as collagen, we have a few products here at Pretty Clean Shop that may be helpful. For washing your hair, we love the Stimulator Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner Bars by Unwrapped Life as well as the Amazon Rainforest Shampoo Bar for Thinning Hair. Follow that up with a strengthening hair oil, such as the Hair Oil by Sahajan, and you’re good to go!
Arguably some of the most dreaded symptoms of menopause are changes in vaginal and sexual health. Vaginal dryness is most common, as estrogen plays a key role in promoting vaginal health, so reduced levels cause thinner, dryer, and less elastic tissue which can lead to discomfort or pain during intercourse. Luckily, we have a few products at Pretty Clean Shop that can help you navigate these changes – have no fear!
For washing, we recommend using a gentle soap that respects the delicate balance of the vaginal flora. Our favourite is the Savon Orgasmique from Mme L’Ovary – it is natural, fragrance-free, and can be used daily. Next, a hydrating vaginal cream or serum could be especially beneficial during this time. We love the Petal Passion Yoni Serum by Living Libations which is not only moisturizing but also increases elasticity, tones the tissue, and can act as a lubricant. Speaking of, lubricants are also essential when experiencing vaginal dryness, and we have a variety of natural ones to tickle your fancy. If you prefer a butter, we recommend the Radiant Love Butter, Lucky Love Butter, or Languid Love Butter, all by Living Libations. From the same brand, we also recommend the Radiant Love Lube if you’d prefer to go with an oil-based option.
We all know that getting a poor night’s sleep is the absolute worst – from night sweats to insomnia, menopause can unfortunately bring a few sleep-related challenges that will take some getting used to. While it’s always important to talk to your doctor or naturopath for more specific treatments, we have gathered a few recommendations that could have you counting sheep in no time.
While not completely preventable, there are a few things you can avoid or implement as much as possible in order to reduce the frequency and severity of night sweats and hot flashes. Doctors recommend minimizing your consumption of caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and cigarette smoke. Further, avoiding tight clothing and heavy blankets while sleeping and opting for lighter fibres such as cotton can be very helpful. You may want to try our best-selling Turkish Blanket from Pokoloko – it is composed of 100% Turkish cotton, is incredibly soft and light, and is artisan-made and fairly-traded. Doctors also recommend avoiding stress in order to prevent these symptoms, which we know is much easier said than done! Regular exercise like walking, bicycling, and yoga, along with meditation, can be great strategies for combatting stress and promoting better sleep.
Hot flashes and night sweats can also cause sleep disruptions and lead to insomnia. To combat this, we recommend the sugar-free Sleep Max and Sleep Plus gummies from Herbaland. Containing melatonin, vitamin B6, and lemon balm, these gummies can help you to maintain sleep quality, reset the body’s sleep-wake cycle, stimulate calmness, and reduce stress. Along with the gummies, comfort is key to sleeping well throughout the night. One of our favourite products for this is the Eye Pillow with Flax and Lavender from Lot8 – it can be heated in the microwave and smells beautiful. We also love the Unwind Room and Linen Spray made in-house at Pretty Clean Shop – enjoy the aromatherapy benefits of essential oils such as lavender, orange, and frankincense. We hope you’ll be sleeping soundly in no time!
Mood & Energy
In any conversation about menopause symptoms, someone is sure to mention impacts on mood and energy levels. It is common for women to experience brain fog, fatigue, and mood changes during menopause, all of which can be especially frustrating to manage. Luckily, we have a few suggestions and products here at Pretty Clean Shop that can help you to improve your energy levels, reduce brain fog, and manage mood changes.
Top tips include eating a healthy and balanced diet filled with whole, colourful foods, regularly exercising, reducing stress, getting enough sleep (see the tips above!), and reducing screen time. We also recommend integrating wellness teas and revitalizing aromatherapy scents into your daily routines.
Lake and Oak Tea Co., a Toronto-based wellness brand, offers a wide variety of superfood teas and adaptogen blends that have a range of mood-lifting, energy-boosting, and brain-clearing benefits. Their Ashwagandha and Chill Tea can help to reduce stress and insomnia, their Cacao Milk has ingredients shown to boost mood and energy, and their Chaga Coconut Chai is great for reducing physical, mental, and emotional fatigue. We also carry a line of organic superfood tea powders from Tealeaves, which includes their calming and stress-relieving Golden Turmeric Chai, their energizing and brain-clearing Ashwagandha and Beetroot Boost, and their mood-boosting Wild Dandelion Cocoa.
Essential oils can also provide aromatherapy benefits which can relieve some of the symptoms of menopause. Whether you choose to use an essential oil diffuser, a roll-on diffuser blend, or a candle, we have you covered. There are a few essential oils in particular which can provide relief of menopause symptoms: clary sage (which can relieve hot flashes), peppermint oil (which can also relieve hot flashes and help with cramping), lavender oil (which can help balance hormones, improve sleep, and promote relaxation), geranium oil (which can provide stress relief), basil oil (which can have mood-boosting benefits and can help relieve hot flashes), and citrus oils (which have anti-inflammatory properties). In addition to selling most of these essential oils in refillable bottles here at Pretty Clean Shop, our favourite product to provide comfort during menopause through aromatherapy is our house-made Balance Soy Wax Candle which contains a wonderful blend of lavender, clary sage, peppermint, and lemon essential oils.
We hope you learned some helpful tips for using natural products to navigate menopause and the many bodily changes that come along with it…either for yourself, or for a friend. Share these tips with your community to help open up the conversation around menopause and empower those around you to share their experiences during this natural stage of life.