5 Yoga Poses That Can Help Manage Menopause Symptoms (Looking At You, Hot Flashes!)

Savasana never felt so good.

When it comes to our skin, estrogen is a star player. The hormone serves important functions, like helping to keep the skin barrier healthy and encouraging the production of key proteins like collagen and elastin. But as estrogen levels decline during perimenopause and menopause, all the skin perks we receive courtesy of the hormone begin to fade away. “Estrogen loss leads to reduced hydration and compromised barrier function, and loss of elasticity and resiliency,” says Hadley King, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “Aging skin therefore becomes thin, atrophic, dry, fragile, dull, and wrinkled.”

If you’re like me, you first noticed the signs of skin aging on your face (hello, flakiness and wrinkles.) However, the effects of estrogen loss aren’t isolated to the skin above our necks—our entire bodies are affected, including the vagina and vulva. In fact, our genital areas are particularly susceptible to changes due to menopausal loss of hormones, explains Tiffany Pham, MD, an OB/GYN and medical advisor at Flo Health, an ovulation and fertility app.

“The skin of the vulva may become more dry or more prone to irritation due to a decrease in sebaceous (oil) glands that keep the skin moist,” says Dr. Pham. “Additionally, there is a loss of collagen and fat in areas like the vulva which leads to changes to the structure or shape. The loss of collagen causes the skin of the vulva to become thinner which can make it more susceptible to irritation or damage from topical products, clothing, or rubbing from exercise or sex.” Our vaginal walls also become drier and lose lubrication during menopause.

This means we need to show our vulvas the same TLC we show our faces, which thankfully, products like Foria’s Midlife Magic Set ($138) set out to do. As someone who’s been dealing with menopausal skin changes for a while, I was excited to learn that the kit’s four products—the Everyday Body Wash, Everyday Body Oil, Everyday Vulva Moisturizer, and Botanical Melts—are designed to soothe, hydrate, and refresh changing menopausal skin using organic, plant-derived ingredients that won’t strip or irritate compromised skin.



Foria, Midlife Magic Set — $138.00

Originally $166, now $138

Includes a bottle of Everyday Body Wash, Everyday Body Oil, Everyday Vulva Moisturizer, and a pack of Vibrance Melts.

Pros:

  • Designed for head-to-toe hydration
  • Formulated with organic, plant-based ingredients to hydrate and moisturize without stripping skin
  • Discounted when purchased as a set

Cons: 

  • Pricey

Could the Foria products work their “magic” on the dry, itchy skin on my arms, legs, and back? Would they be able to help with occasional vaginal irritation? I was ready to put the products to the test and find out.

Foria Everyday Body Wash with Organic Botanicals – $36

Dr. King points out that the heroes of this pH-friendly, fragrance-free body wash include a hydrating blend of organic jojoba, avocado, olive, safflower, sunflower seed, and olive oils, all of which help moisturize and support the skin barrier. There’s also soothing chamomile and glycerin, an emollient that helps attract and increase moisture levels commonly found in vaginal moisturizers.

My take: I usually need to use a separate body wash for sensitive skin on my vaginal area, so having one product that is safe to use on my entire body is a nice change. The body wash has just a hint of natural scent, a smooth texture, and leaves my skin feeling soft and clean post-shower. The only downside is that it doesn’t produce much of a lather, so you might need to use a different soap or cream when shaving.

Foria Everyday Body Oil with Organic Botanicals – $42

Sunflower seed, jojoba, sweet almond, castor seed, rosehip, and omega-rich sea buckthorn organic oils are the moisturizing stars of this non-greasy, fast-absorbing body oil. “These oils have emollient properties and help to soften the skin and support the skin barrier,” says Dr. King. There’s also skin-soothing calendula and vitamin E, which can improve dryness, irritation, and itching caused by menopausal skin changes, per Dr. Pham.

My take: I’ve never been a big body oil fan—I don’t like feeling greased up or taking a chance at staining my clothes. However, this product decidedly lives up to its non-greasy billing. I apply as directed post-shower and love that it makes my skin glisten sans any greasiness. My skin feels hydrated and smooth, smells great (I noted a light lavender scent) and—bonus!—the oil dries instantly so no clothing stains. I recommend this one if you’re sporting ensembles that show off your arms, shoulders, or legs.

Foria Everyday Vulva Moisturizer with Organic Botanicals – $40

Designed for external daily use for the skin on and around the vulva, this product uses organic oils (in this case sunflower, pumpkin seed, sea buckthorn fruit, and coconut) along with triglycerides, all of which support the skin barrier and lock in moisture, says Dr. King. There’s also vitamin E, which studies have suggested can be beneficial for vaginal symptoms associated with menopause and can presumably benefit vulvar skin as well, says Dr. Pham.

My take: This is the product I didn’t know I needed but now can’t live without. Seriously—who knew we should be moisturizing our vulvas daily? Using it makes me feel so comfortable. The formula goes on easily, absorbs nicely, and the hydrating effects last for hours. The moisturizer is also designed to reduce friction, so it’s my go-to for wearing tight jeans. The only caveat: I’d probably skip it before a workout where I was going to be sweating a lot, as it might feel a little too moisturized down there.

Foria Vibrance Melts with Organic Botanicals – $48

This product is designed to address internal hydration and irritation of the vagina with organic, Fair-Trade cocoa butter (often used as a vaginal suppository base for its emollient properties) along with soothing organic chamomile, and toning organic raspberry leaf. MCT oil also delivers the triglycerides Dr. King likes for their moisturizing properties.

My take: I was a bit wary of using a vaginal suppository—my only other experience being with messy yeast infection treatment—but thankfully, this was not the same. The melts come in plastic cells that you peel open and insert without an applicator. I had some difficulty using the product on my first try, as the melt was literally melting as soon as I opened the package (likely because I didn’t store it as recommended in the refrigerator.) But once it was in, I understood the hype. It gives the same, soothing feeling the vulva moisturizer delivers. Directions are to lie down for at least 20 minutes after use, with night-time application suggested. I used the product before bed and woke up to a still-moisturized feeling and a welcome lack of leakage in the morning.

All in all, I love that these products gave me a newfound appreciation of the need for caring for the skin on my whole body—especially areas I didn’t even think about moisturizing before. And while you can buy each of them separately, purchasing them in a kit makes creating a holistic self-care routine that much easier. Menopause can be tough, but any products that help us look or feel better as our bodies change are definitely at least a little “magic” in my book.

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