Have you ever noticed how your skin gets a little more oily right before your period, leading to the dreaded “period acne” around your chin and/or jawline? Or how your skin may feel super soft and hydrated, glowing a bit brighter afterwards? That’s because your menstrual cycle plays a HUGE role in how your skin will look and feel.
Everyone’s menstrual cycle varies in length, as does the duration of each phase. Keep a journal or use a period-tracking app to make notes on how your skin fluctuates between oiliness and dryness throughout your period, so you can find the best hormonal-balanced skincare routine for you.
A quick note: hormonal birth control, such as the birth control pill, prevents your hormones from ovulating, thus you may experience less dramatic skin changes (e.g. period acne) throughout the month.
Here are a few tips on how you can harmonize your skincare routine with your hormones for that flawless glow:
Phase 1: Follicular Phase
Duration: 7-10 Days
The follicular phase begins once your period ends. The follicles in your 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.
In the follicular phase, your skin is at its peak and your face glows ✨. As estrogen levels increase, your skin thickens, decreasing the size of your pores, and promoting collagen production.
Boost your glow by adding an exfoliator scrub every other day to help remove dead skin cells. Also try a brightening or anti-aging mask to enhance your new skin radiance.
Phase 2: Ovulatory Phase
Duration: 3-4 Days
The ovulatory phase makes when your ovaries release an egg into your uterus (aka when you ovulate). At ovulation, your estrogen remains elevated and your body begins to produce luteinizing hormone, which can mean oilier skin, and blemishes beginning to pop-up.
This is a good time to keep your makeup and moisturizer light, and opt for a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser. Natracare’s organic makeup-remover wipes are gentle enough for your more sensitive skin but still effective. Also try adding dry brushing to your daily routine to help your lymph nodes balance the sudden estrogen rise. A purifying mask, is also a great way to purge pores.
Equal parts (~1 tsp – 1 tbsp) of Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay ; apple cider vinegar (or spring / filtered water) ; and activated charcoal powder
Be sure not to use metal when mixing – opt for bamboo utensil
Phase 3: Luteal Phase
Duration: 10-14 Days
The luteal phase is often broken into two sub-phases. In the first half, your progesterone levels increase to signal your body to keep the uterine lining intact. If you aren’t pregnant and the egg is not fertilized, the second half begins with a dramatic change in hormone levels to signal your period. And the premenstrual symptoms (PMS) begins! Spots, oiliness, uneven skin tone, and dry skin… they all start to play their part.
The key to PMS skincare begins with staying hydrated and increasing water intake, and antioxidants in your diet. Continue your skincare regime from the ovulation phase and as you begin to notice those pesky PMS symptoms in the, try switching to a cleanser with salicylic acid to fight bad skin before your period. Your skin will be more sensitive in this menstrual phase, so be sure to follow with nourishing moisturizer and/or hydrating, soothing mask to rehydrate
Phase 4: Menstrual Phase
Duration: 3-7 Days
The day has come: your period has arrived! Progesterone levels quickly drop and estrogen levels are low.
During the first few days of your period, your skin will continue to be a little more sensitive and you those spots may keep popping up. Because of this, continues to be oily, dry, dull, blotchy and uneven.
At the beginning of your period, continue using a salicylic acid cleanser to fight back the menstrual cycle acne. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich masks are also wonderful to help provide the extra boost your skin needs.
From the mood swings to our bloating and appetite, your hormones affect the majority of all bodily functions throughout the 28-35 day menstrual cycle, including your skin.
By understanding what happens to your skin through the lens of your hormones, you can optimize your skincare routine to minimize irritation and keep your skin looking its best.
Don’t forget to build the foundation of a great skincare routine by living a well-balanced life! Be sure to eat your veggies, catch those zzz’s, manage stress levels, sweat daily, and listen to your skin needs.
What is your favorite beauty lifehack in combating period acne? Let us know below or tweet us!