During menopause, EVERYTHING dries out – and I do mean everything. Seemingly overnight, our skin goes from supple to saran wrap. Our hair goes from bouncy to brittle. Our poor eyes fall prey to a condition known as dry eye syndrome. Now we need to lubricate our eyes, even if we don’t wear contact lenses.

We flake, crack, and itch. We exfoliate spontaneously, like granite outcroppings. We feel physically uncomfortable in this leathery new version of skin even while we are learning to be emotionally at home in it.

And so we spend the equivalent of the national debt (okay not OUR national debt, but say the debt of a small monarchy somewhere) on moisturizers, creams, emollients, and oils just to stay EVEN. We drink enough water to intoxicate ourselves. We ingest AND apply those little gold Vitamin E capsules religiously.

And should we menopausal goddesses travel or reside somewhere less than humid, like say Arizona or the High Sierra? We fall further and further behind on the moisture meter, fighting a losing battle with dryness. I can personally attest to the fact that the Lake Tahoe area can suck the moisture out of a monsoon. And me.

What can help us in our desire to took and feel less iguana-like? Well, the aforementioned Vitamin E as a daily supplement, lots of water, good non-toxic creams and moisturizers such as those from Emerita.com (check out their day and nite creams) have definitely helped the Venuses. Take a spa day once a week (even an hour or two at home) and slather yourself with good goo on hands and feet, apply a moisture mask to your face, another to your hair, and put your feet up with a glass of wine (yeah, yeah, we know – alcohol is dehydrating – we’ll just drink more water later. Our mental health needs its own form of lubrication.)

In addition, try to eat a balanced diet – watch out for the non-fat or low-fat diets – they are likely to dry your skin even more, for obvious reasons. Soy protein if you are not allergic or sensitive to soy can also be a moisture boon for menopausal women.. And chocolate – eat dark chocolate. I have no scientific basis for recommending this other than it is high in antioxidants AND fat AND it makes you feel great.

"The Big M", the long awaited chronicle of the real-life adventures, musings, wit, and wisdom of the Venus group of Menopause Goddesses, is available at . The Big M