How period hormones affect your skin
Your monthly cycle can bring along a whole host of hormonal changes, both emotional and physical.
From sensitive skin to breakouts, keeping on top of your skincare during menstruation can feel like a minefield. However, with just a few tweaks to your routine during each phase of your menstrual cycle, you could be glowing all month long.
The Menstrual Phase
During the first week of your cycle your progesterone and oestrogen hormones are at their lowest. Decreased progesterone results in less oil production and hydration, so dry and dehydrated skin can expect to become more…dry and dehydrated. Existing conditions such as eczema and dermatitis can also worsen during this phase.
For my oily friends, this is your time to shine (or not). Expect less oil, and maybe even a reduction in blemishes.
Low oestrogen means reduced production of collagen and hyaluronic acid, so look for products containing humectants (ingredients that attract water) and anti-inflammatory ingredients to soothe those hormonal breakouts. These include hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, glycerin and urea. Your skin is having a time of it, now is not the time for hardcore exfoliation. As the great prophet TLC once said : “I don’t want no scrubs”.
The Follicular Phase + Ovulation
Your oestrogen levels are on the rise, and peak during ovulation when your chosen egg is released into the world. Progesterone levels stay low, so not only is oil production still minimal, your skin is now increasing its collagen and hyaluronic acid production.
Now is the time to reintroduce some gentle exfoliation into your routine and capitalise on the skincare equivalent of the planets aligning.
Your skin is at its peak as your body prepares to get you fertilised. Find some good light, take a few thirst traps and bask in your unfertilised glow.
You’ve just had the best of times, now prepare for the worst of times.
Your oestrogen levels remain high, so collagen and hyaluronic acid are still being produced. However, progesterone is quickly catching up and your sebaceous (oil) glands are back in action and working overtime.This initial increase in oil production is the cause of the hormonal blemishes you might notice just before your period hits.
As both progesterone and oestrogen decrease, oil production slows down, leaving behind a fragile skin barrier. You might notice an increase in skin sensitivity, which is perfectly normal.
Treat blemishes as and when they occur with a targeted treatment, and avoid going straight for heavy duty acne products. The Charcoal, Tea Tree Oil & Mineral Mud Mask is great to use directly on the blemish, or all over the affected area. Charcoal is a great detoxifier and tea tree will minimise inflammation while healing active breakouts. It also contains glycerin, one of those key humectant ingredients I mentioned earlier.
While tracking your cycle has endless benefits for your health and wellbeing, it’s important to note that no two cycles will be the same. Contraception, antidepressants and gender-affirming hormone therapy can all affect the phases of your menstrual cycle. Sometimes eradicating them altogether.
Focus on the health of your skin, not its appearance.