24. Itchy skin
We’ve all heard of the seven-year itch, aka someone in a long-term relationship who is feeling unhappy with their partner after several years, and considering having a sexual relationship with another person…
Well get ready for this next itchy revelation fellow Hotties! May we introduce you to the menopause itch!
Take note of the following ‘fun’ fact:
The menopausal transition usually begins between the age of 45 to 55, often lasting around the seven year mark, but it can be as long as 14 years...
Digest that little gem then groan out loud when you realise that this particular itch has quite the long ‘shelf life’ - not only can it exceed its ‘best’ before date, it can actually exceed its ‘sell by’ date and twice over!
This seemingly benign occurrence even has its own proper medical name: Pruritus, which - with apologies to Dame Prue - has absolutely nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off! More like ‘flake off’, but don’t let that put you off your mille feuille Hotties!
So let’s delve into and explore another one of Mother Nature's wonderful gifts to us peri/menopausal women, by visiting the Menopause Command Centre for an up-to-date evaluation of this s-itch-uation AND how we can get that situation back under some semblance of control.
Once again that pesky little troublemaking hormone oestrogen raises its head above the parapet, ready to create a little more mischief and mayhem.
Because it can’t keep bloody still!!
Its constantly fluctuating levels, particularly its decline, affects the production of collagen and natural oils which are both responsible for keeping our skin fresh and hydrated. One of the fallouts from this rather exasperating hormonal roller coaster in a woman’s life is itchy, dry or flaky skin.
A mild case can be mildly irritating involving dryness, itchiness, prickly or crawling sensations which can happen anywhere on the body.
The most common places include the face, limbs, neck, chest and back. The elbows, T-zone, scalp and vulva may also be affected.
A bad case can be somewhat akin to taking part in an I’m A Celebrity bushtucker trial where it can feel like a gazillion bugs and creepy crawlies have been unceremoniously dumped all over you - only you quickly realise that it’s not Ant & Dec co-ordinating this pulsating pile on - it’s Mother Nature herself, courtesy of the Menopause Command Centre.
So what can us Hotties do to keep us from scratching that itch? And more to the point, we don’t want to be the ones who put the ‘itching’ into bitching, we want to be the ones taking it out!!
First up, completely overhaul your bathing ritual.
It’s ‘out’ with the old itch-inducing products which aggravate, and ‘in’ with the itch-soothing products to banish that (b)itch!
Do your research Hotties, as there are lots of products out there for hair and skin-cleansing, including moisturising and hydrating products especially designed for dry, sensitive, itchy skin which can help provide relief. Your local pharmacist is a great place to start. They can recommend a whole host of lotions and potions, or even antihistamine tablets and supplements, along with other specialist over the counter medicated products; they can also advise whether you should contact your GP for further advice.
Embrace your inner Goldilocks by gathering - not sowing - (porridge) oats. Not for eating fellow hotties but to bathe in!
Move over Cleopatra with her bathing in asses* milk - it’s time for you to dunk in the gunk of an oatmeal bath. Oatmeal is renowned for its soothing effect on dry, irritable skin.
*for our American readers and for the avoidance of doubt - because so much can get lost in translation with our shared language - ‘ass’ in this instance is a (British) word for mule or donkey…As you were!
So let us present you with some prudent pruritus pointers because we know Goldilocks never got her oats right on her first attempt!
- Make sure the bath water is lukewarm, NOT hot. You don’t want to scald that precious booty or aggravate already tender, sensitive skin.
- Sprinkle the recommended amount of oat soak or 1 cup of your DIY oatmeal under running water as the bath tub fills.
- Soak for about 10-15 minutes.
- Haul your butt out of the bath tub and gently pat yourself dry so your skin still feels damp and immediately apply a gentle, fragrance-free moisturiser.
As always ladies - you know the drill… Eat, sleep, rage/rave, repeat… Nooooo, not that drill ~ this one!
And while you're soaking in that bath or soothing your body with pruritus-friendly potions, here’s a little playlist to help scratch your boogying itch.
Itch and Scratch - Rufus Thomas
Scratch My Back - Otis Redding
Feeling Good - Michael Buble
Daydream Believer - The Monkees
Never Ending Story - Limahl
Wild World - Maxi Priest
Burn - Ellie Goulding
Set You Free - N-Trance
Scream - Usher
We Love To Boogie - T Rex