Period skin is real. Any woman will tell you that when aunty Flo is coming around her skin is like a billboard announcing its presence.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage. Thankfully modern science has been able to tell us what is going on during that time and we can tailor our skincare routine to pre-empt anything it is going throw in our direction.
Let’s talk about
- The different phases in your menstrual cycle
- The hormonal changes and how they affect your skin
- How to tweak your skincare routine to address those changes
And ultimately have glorious skin irrespective of the phase in your cycle
What hormones are at play?
Three hormones affect how your skin looks during your menstrual cycle.
Estrogen: This stimulates the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid and improves your skin’s ability to retain moisture and hydration.
Progesterone: this stimulates sebum/oil production that leads to breakouts.
Testosterone: while this remains constant throughout your cycle it takes the lead when the other two activate the sebaceous glands, triggering them to produce more oil.
Which are the phases of your menstrual cycle?
A regular menstrual cycle lasts approximately 28 days, but it could be slightly longer. The funny part is that the start of the menstrual cycle is counted from day one of the first bleeds so keep track of that date it is the most important one.
The first day of your menstrual cycle is the day of the first bleed
That is how you will be able to identify the different phases of your cycle.
Why does this matter?
Each phase of your menstrual cycle is controlled and affected by the 3 main hormones in your blood. The 3 culprits are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Their levels fluctuate during each phase, and it affects how your skin looks particularly how oily your skin becomes and if you have breakouts
Phase 1: day 1-6 Your period
This is during your actual period. Here all your hormonal levels are low. Your skin looks dull and feels dry to the touch meaning hydration and moisture are key during this period. This is a result of low oil production which prevents your skin from retaining moisture.
- Skin feels extra sensitive so stay away from painful procedures like waxing or skin care procedures
- Skin feels drier than normal and needs more hydration
- Hydrate, hydrate focus on your hydrating toners and serums
- Use a gentle hydrating cleanser
- Use a hyaluronic acid toner or serum
- Use a rich moisturizer that focuses on hydration and moisture
- Stay away from any drying products
Phase 2: day 7- 14-Ovulation
This is in the lead-up to ovulation. The estrogen and testosterone levels are high, and your skin looks radiant and glowing.
Here your skin is at its most attractive It looks moist, and pores appear smaller. This radiance may lead to pregnancy if you aren’t careful because you are also at your most fertile here as well.
- Your skin has a glow that looks brighter feels plump, fresh, and youthful
- You don’t need to do much to help nature, stick with the basics and enjoy the glow.
- Use a cleanser with actives to remove the dead cells and keep the glow
- Add a gentle exfoliant to remove dead cells from your skin’s surface.
- use your regular moisturizer and sunscreen to keep that glow
Phase 3: Day 15 -28
The ovulation glow is gone. Your progesterone and testosterone levels are on the rise. You can expect your skin to feel greasy and oily. This is where you can say hello to spots and breakouts.
In addition, because your body is anticipating a pregnancy (post-ovulation) all you feel like doing is eating and resting. So, you crave sugary high-fat foods and eat them in large quantities much to your dismay.
It is a dull, oily, and greasy mess that doesn’t look good and has the odd spot or 2 if you are lucky. But if you are prone to breakouts the giddy-up and bring in the big guns.
- Use a cleanser with pore unclogging benefits like salicylic acid
- Add an exfoliating toner and serum as well
- Include niacinamide to help with the oil control
- Use a lighter moisturizer to keep the greasiness to a minimum
- Use a clay mask during this period to absorb the oil
For women with relatively normal skin, the difference in the 3 phases is a few bumps before their period. However, for women with acne-prone skin, the difference in how their skin looks during the oily phase can be challenging and this is why I good skincare routine is important.
If you want to learn more on how to keep your skin in great shape so your period doesn’t turn you into a pockmarked disaster get my book Look Younger Longer it shows you step by step how to maintain your skin at peak condition and get it is the best place to start.Follow me on social media