From mood swings and cramps, to energy bursts and cravings, we know our bodies change throughout our cycles and our skin is no exception. Depending on the time of the month, you might experience oily skin, dry skin, breakouts or a natural glow. For me, about a week before by period is due, my skin gets more oily and I get “period spots” all around my jawline. As my period starts the “period spots” disappear, and then a few days after my period ends, my skin gets nice and clear.
We know your bodies better than anyone, so you’ll probably already have noticed if there are changes to your skin during the different phases of your cycle. Every woman is different and we all have a different experience, but here are some tips for a skincare routine that you can tailor to run parallel with your fluctuating hormones to keep skin glowing during your unique monthly cycle.
Day 1 – 7 (Menstrual Phase)
Our cycle starts at the beginning of your period. At this point, skin tends to be dry, as levels of both of the sex hormones, progesterone and estrogen are low. During the first few days of our period, skin will be a little more sensitive and those dreaded “period spots” keep appearing. Our skin will more than likely continue to be oily, blotchy, dull and uneven. This is a good time for self-care, use gentler products on the skin and creamier moisturisers which will help to fill and rehydrate dry skin, giving the extra boost our skin needs.
Day 8 - 10 (Follicular Phase)
Our skin is stronger after our period ends, our bodies start producing estrogen again. The follicles in our ovaries are now preparing to release a new egg into them. Estrogen begins to increase to thicken the uterine lining so it can later host an egg, this results in our skin being at its peak and our face has a natural glow. As estrogen levels increase, your skin plumps & thickens, decreasing the size of your pores, and promotes collagen production. This is in turn makes our skin appear strong & healthy and is also the time when we’re less sensitive to pain.
This is the time to boost our glow by adding an exfoliator scrub to help remove dead skin cells.
Day 11 – 14 (Ovulatory Phase)
This phase is when our ovaries release an egg into our uterus, we ovulate. At this point in our cycle, during our fertile window, we usually feel at our best. As well as feeling great, our skin is likely to appear stronger and healthier as collagen levels remain elevated. Some of us women may have a natural glow, whilst others may get some pimples at this point as skin is prone to become a little oilier. This is due to our bodies producing luteinising hormone (LH is what triggers the release of the egg from our ovaries), which can mean oilier and blemished skin for some of us. It’s best at this time to keep our makeup and moisturisers lighter, and keep our face cleansed to avoid early breakouts. Other than that, we should embrace the natural glow.
Day 15 – 20 (Luteal Phase 1)
At this part of our monthly cycle, after ovulation, our body’s progesterone levels increase, to tell our body to keep the uterine lining intact. This causes a few changes to happen, including a rise in basal body temperature. Progesterone also causes the production of sebum, a thick oily substance that acts as a natural skin lubricant. This can cause our pores to clog and makes us more prone to breakouts during the luteal phase. Cleanse regularly and soak up any excess oil on the skin with your favourite face mask.
Day 21 – 28 (Luteal Phase 2)
This second half of the luteal phase is what is otherwise known as PMS. Thus begins the dramatic change in hormone levels to signal our period. The premenstrual symptoms (PMS) start to show up. Spots, oiliness, uneven skin, dry skin, mood swings, they all come full force. Retaining water in the lead up to your period is fairly common. For many of us, our skin looks puffier during this time. The cravings that come with PMS can also mean we tend to indulge in less healthy options, which in turn can have an impact on our complexion. The key to PMS skincare is to stay hydrated and to be consistent in our skincare routines. We should at this time again be using more skin sensitive cleansers and soothing, nourishing, hydrating moisturisers to help keep skin clear.
From the mood swings to our bloating and appetite, our hormones affect the majority of all bodily functions throughout the menstrual cycle, including our skin.
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