Interview with Jane Atherton, founder of Phytomone

Jane photo w&H headshot

[Sarah Sian] Tell us your full name and title…
[Jane Atherton
] Jane Atherton and I’m the CEO of Phytomone & The Menopause Room

[SS] What inspired you to create Phytomone? / What were your own
experiences with menopause?

[JA] I ran my own menopause lifestyle clinic for many years and apart from diet, nutrition, exercise and self-care advice, these ladies were constantly asking for help with their declining skin health.

Fortunately, my previous experience in the beauty industry and training in hormone health gave me the knowledge and insight into why skin ages so dramatically during the menopause transition. But the problem I was having, was being able to find suitable products with the right ingredients to recommend. Regular anti-ageing products are fine but will only ever offer limited results to hormone-deficient skin. I knew menopausal skin could look so much better with the right formulation. During this time, I was also peri-menopausal myself, so was fully aware of how my own skin was reacting and responding to my own usual trustworthy skincare products.

They were no longer capable of meeting the new needs of my skin. So, at the age of 52, I decided to start my own business and create a capsule skincare collection for menopausal skin.

Can you tell us more about your products?
When I began developing the Phytomone Collection it was important to create a ‘Less is more’ range of products. I come from the ‘Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise’ era where layering many products was not part of a skincare regime.

While I appreciate all these different products can be beneficial for the skin, I just didn’t want to waste my time or money on having such complicated AM & PM routines. So, I was adamant our formulations had to be multi-tasking.

For example, our award-winning moisturiser, Pause Hydra Crème is a cream/serum hybrid, which can also be used as an eye cream and our cleansing oil works as a gentle exfoliator and toner. I wanted all the benefits of several products in one application. So we have created a simple, but effective 2 step skincare routine rather than a 6 or 7 step!.

The next stage was to change the rules slightly as far as ingredients and special actives were concerned. Menopausal skin is oestrogen deficient. Without this vital hormone, the body doesn’t produce sufficient collagen. We needed something that the body would recognise and would reactivate the collagen-producing fibroblast cells.

Some of the more popular special actives in regular anti-ageing creams, such as matryxl, syn-ake or retinol do have the ability to increase collagen proliferation, but in oestrogen deficient skin they will only ever have limited results, due to the massive decline in the body’s ability to now produce this protein in the first place.

This led us to focus on facial oestrogen receptors inside fibroblast cells. If we could tap into those receptors with a compound they recognise, it would be instrumental in the fibroblast cells making more collagen. So that’s what we focused on, A plant-based compound, identical to human oestrogen, encapsulated in a unique delivery system, that has the ability to penetrate the deeper dermal layers and bind to facial oestrogen receptors, which then signal the fibroblast cells to give the best possible results.

It is important to point out here though, that the molecular structure of our topical application is too large to pass through into the blood stream or alter hormone levels within the body. It has passed extensive clinical trials with impressive results and is endorsed by medical doctors for use as a cosmetic preparation. 

 It’s been a long journey to get the formulation right, but by working with some of the top cosmetic scientists and hormone specialists, we have been able to produce something quite remarkable, that is considered to be the most advance skincare product on the market for menopausal skin.
If you are in the early stages of menopause / during menopause and
post-menopause – what are the most common symptoms and what are the hero products you recommend from your range?

Apart from collagen production, oestrogen is also responsible for the production of natural oils in the sebaceous glands, skin cell turnover and production of melanin, the pigment which give skin its colour. So, as this hormone begins to decline during perimenopause, you will begin to notice a decrease in skin health. Skin will become dryer, lines more noticeable, development of pigmentation marks, such as age spots and your complexion will lose that healthy radiant glow.

When you actually reach menopause (12 months period free) these problems are accelerated, with an incredible 30% collagen loss in the first five years. By using products specifically formulated for menopausal skin, they hone in on the skins new requirements and ensure you get the best possible results.

We would recommend using the Phytomone cleansing oil, which has an incredible blend of 21 natural oils and comes with a soft bamboo cloth to gently slough off dead skin cells, followed by Pause Hydra Crème, which incorporates 6 specials actives to target skin ageing at the root cause; loss of oestrogen! If your skin is going through a period of excessive dryness, we would recommend you incorporate the multi-tasking face oil, which is also great to add to foundation to keep that soft glowy look to your complexion through the day.

A lot of people feel alone going through menopause – what advice can you give them?
Honestly, the best advice I can give is to join our very popular and interactive social media groups. We have thousands of women who all feel the same and get such relief from knowing they are not on their own. We have an Instagram account as well as open and private Facebook groups. This really can be the best type of therapy sometimes and it’s a great place to educate yourself, receive support, have a moan and keep your sense of humour throughout this unpredictable journey.
We’d love to see you over there, so do come and join us.

A lot of people are feeling anxious, are experiencing lack of sleep
especially due to COVID – if you feel like this and are going through
menopause too it’s doubly worse – what products and advice can you give?

Lack of sleep and hot flushes are two of the most popular menopause symptoms than come up regularly in The Menopause Room and for some women, this has definitely been compounded by COVID.

We have lots of help and suggestions in TMR, not only from the experts but great feedback from real menopausal women, who have found things that do (and don’t) help.

Self-care during menopause is something we are always keen to impress upon women. Make time for yourself on a regular basis, put it on the calendar and don’t cancel!  It could be something as simple as a 30-minute walk, reading a few chapters of your favourite book, or a spa at home experience with Phytomone beauty oils. Do something that destresses you and nourishes your soul.

Definitely seek out Phytomone Sleepless Nights Calming Face Oil, it smells absolutely divine and is like a Spa in a bottle. Just breathing in the gorgeous aromas, will help you drift off to your happy place in no time. All Phytomone beauty oils are 100% natural, with no artificial fragrance and definitely no mineral oil. They are an intense blend of many phytoestrogen-rich oils to deeply nourish hormone-deficient skin.

What is your ultimate skincare routine – am/pm?
Cleanse, Tone & Moisturise with Phytomone exfoliating cleansing oil/toner, followed by Pause Hydra Crème cream/serum moisturiser. I do use the face oil as and when my skin needs it. Or will apply it heavily once or twice a month as a mask experience for an intense nutrient boost.

What is your favourite make up must-haves?
I don’t wear too much make up these days, to be honest. So my make-up bag isn’t bulging at the seams.

Skin tone does get a little lighter as we age though, so I do use a facial self-tanner, just so I don’t look too pale (or ill) I then use a tinted moisturiser for a natural glow. I tend to use a multi-toned bronzer as a blusher.  I outline the corner of my eyes with a brown pencil (less harsh than black these days) A couple of coats of brown mascara and finish with a soft coral lipstick.

Complete the sentence… A woman is her most confident when…?’
She learns to say NO more often without feeling guilty.


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