For something so natural and normal I find it upsetting that the menopause is shrouded by stigma and negativity. Many women at this point in their life feel ashamed, that they are no longer beautiful, that they have already served their main purpose in life, to reproduce. They need support and encouragement, not a wall of silence and sneering.
The beauty industry is awash with anti-ageing products to fix wrinkles, age spots, loss of firmness and so on, but I see little mention of the menopause in the context of skincare. Why? Dry skin, oily skin, spots, facial hair, sagging skin, facial flushes – these (and more) are all skin issues that can occur even at the very early ‘peri’ stage of menopause as a result of a drop in the female hormone oestrogen. Ageing suddenly accelerates but the link with menopause is often not made, unless you deliberately seek it out and research it.
It is against this background that I applaud the few beauty brands who have recently launched skincare ranges for menopausal women, including Rodial with its March announced Cougar line (while I applaud their move I find their choice of brand name quite vulgar).
But the product I am going to talk about today is Stratum C, a line of skincare launched in September last year by British company Forme Laboratories.
Stratum C uses a mix of 6 different peptides to combat skin problems related to the menopause. It has already secured a celebrity fan, the gorgeous TV presenter Linda Barker who has spoken publicly about her challenges with the menopause.
The formula in Stratum C stems from research into wound healing and skincare carried out at Reading University. According to Forme Labs its combination of peptides – chains of amino acids – has been shown in studies to nearly double the skin’s own production of collagen. Why is this important? Because menopause suppresses the body’s natural collagen production. It is said that as much as 30% of our collagen is lost during the menopause.
The Stratum C line – named after the outermost skin layer - comprises 5 products: a night and day moisturiser, a repair serum, a gentle cleanser, a pigment correction gel and a spot relief paste. I was sent the moisturiser to test and I have been using it for a few weeks now - more on my findings in a minute.
How Stratum C works:- it uses 2 different combinations of peptides: 1) to relax the muscles and 2) to stimulate collagen growth
- it uses Hyaluronic Acid to improve skin hydration and elasticity
- it contains a base moisturiser based on natural ingredients including jojoba oil and apricot kernel oil, the latter being a good source of vitamins A and E which are both lost during menopause
Forme Labs also says its moisturiser contains 45% water (its serum just 18%!), compared to high-street anti-ageing brands which can contain as much as 90% water and offer tiny quantities of active ingredients.
After 2 weeks of using Stratum C as my only day and night moisturiser, what do I think? While I can’t comment on some aspects of its effectiveness, as I don’t have menopausal skin, I have found this cream to be incredibly moisturising. It’s been an instant thirst quencher for my skin, which has become drier as I’ve got older. When I touch my skin after I’ve applied it, it feels extremely moist and looks beautifully hydrated.
Final thoughts:As I get older I can see myself looking ever more closely at product labels to check for ingredients that are know to combat menopausal skin problems. Using Stratum C, meantime, has been an introduction to that future – and a very positive one!
The Stratum C Moisturiser costs £85 and can be bought here.