#AgeFearless - Creating positive discourse around ageing and menopause
From taboo to public forum, the topic of ageing has certainly changed for the better these past few years. But, why do women over the age of 50 still feel like they’re being overlooked?
Recent research we conducted reveals that since turning 50, over half of Kiwi women start to feel invisible. They believe they’re past the prime of their life and admit that their confidence has decreased.*
We also discovered that for Kiwi women who had gone through menopause, 55% said it had either a huge or significant impact on their life, yet less than 20% of these women felt comfortable telling their workplace what they were going through.
This is why we’re lifting the lid on topics such as ageing and menopause, through our new Visible Repair skincare range led by our campaign, Age Fearless – for those who refuse to be invisible.
“We developed this range for women 50+ to address their specific skin concerns. But we also dug deeper to understand how women of this age in NZ feel toward ageing and menopause, so that not only do we address the physical concerns real Kiwi women have by creating a targeted and clinically proven product, but we support it with real conversations that highlight what it means to age fearlessly.” - Caroline Clarke, GM Marketing and Innovation at essano.
In her late 40s herself, Caroline continues, “Here at essano, we believe ageing is something to celebrate and when we saw an industry that traded on fear all about anti-ageing, we wanted to do something different - we have created an incredible product that works, but also want to increase awareness of the great things ageing brings and shine a light on those great kiwis inspiring others to be just as fearless”.
Our Age Fearless campaign is a bid to create a more positive discourse around ageing, perimenopause and menopause, by having honest, frank and enlightening conversations with real kiwi women in their 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond, showing images of mature women who embody pro-ageing and refuse to be invisible.
What Kiwi women shared with us
So what exactly is it about menopause and ageing that makes women feel this way?
In our survey, we also asked women what the hardest aspects of being 50+ are, and some of the most compelling answers went beyond skin deep. We received sentiments such as:
• “Looking at a face that doesn’t represent how I feel inside.”
• “Losing a certain amount of self-confidence and acquiring older looking skin.”
• “Not being seen as valuable by the younger generation.”
• “Being less visible.”
• “I’m struggling with the way I am seen as a ‘thing’, a stereotype - a middle-aged woman, rather than just a woman.”
These women also listed concerns such as feeling young but looking older, changes to their skin, body and hair due to menopause and their overall appearance as the hardest aspects of being 50+.
92% of all the women in the research admitted that they worried about the physical effects of ageing on their skin, and 80% noticing changes to their skin during menopause. Some of these changes were identified as sagging skin, more wrinkles, enlarged pores and dullness, but the biggest culprit, affecting more than three quarters of women, was hydration.
Here’s why: perimenopausal (the stage before menopause) and menopausal skin experience a significant imbalance to hormones and a decline of estrogen – a powerhouse hormone that stimulates collagen production and oils in the skin that help to retain moisture. Estrogen is vital for maintaining skin hydration, but studies show that a woman is likely to lose 30% of her collagen in the first 5 years of menopause, often causing noticeable appearance of wrinkles and dehydrated skin.
In her book, “This Changes Everything”, an honest guide to menopause and perimenopause, author Niki Bezzant says the changes in our skin when we age come down to a combination of lifestyle and genetics, compounded by hormonal change: “We have oestrogen receptors all over our bodies, from our brains to our little toe joints. That includes our skin. So it’s no surprise we see skin changes happening in midlife and beyond.”
Celebrate ageing and refuse to be invisible
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The women surveyed were asked what the best thing was about being 50+. It was found that Kiwi women also embrace this new stage of life with wisdom, clarity and a sense of liberation. Over the years, it seems women 50+ have developed the ability to not sweat the small stuff and learnt to identify what truly brought joy to carve out more precious time with family.
Niki imparts this wisdom to her readers; “Lastly, we can re-frame how we see ourselves as we get older. We’re conditioned to believe that youthful = beautiful; most of us have grown up with that narrative, reinforced by endless marketing messages and social and cultural norms. Learning to accept our changing faces might be hard, but it will make us feel better. Think of the older women in your life who you love; I bet you think they are beautiful just as they are. You are beautiful, too.”
There’s also a growing number of recognisable Kiwi women who resonate Age Fearless within this age bracket. Survey participants identified the likes of Hillary Barry, Robyn Malcolm, Petra Bagust and Rachel Hunter who are inspirational for how they embrace the journey of ageing.
Visible Repair survey summary of findings:
• Survey participants: 703
• 97% aged 50+
• 3% aged between 40 - 50 years
• 94% of participants currently use facial skincare
• Top skin concerns are hydration (77%), anti-ageing (70%), firming (57%)
• 92% worry about the physical effects of ageing
• 55% believe their prime of life had passed (under 50 years ol)
• 50% believe their confidence has decreased since turning 50
• 55% believe they start to feel invisible after 50
Perimenopause / Menopause
• 75% had gone through menopause,
• 20% currently experiencing perimenopause or menopause
• 41% experienced significant impact, and a further 13% experienced huge impact (total change) on their life with perimenopause or menopause
• 4% told workplace they were going through menopause, less than 5% told their boss and 37% didn’t tell anyone at work that they were going through menopause
• 80% noticed changes to skin during peri-menopause and menopause
• 44% noticed all of the following: constant dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles, drooping / sagging, pigmentation and age spots, lack of elasticity
*Results garnered from a survey done on 700 NZ women 50+ in April 2022
^Independent clinical study on 20 women aged 50 and over