How Your Cycle Can Affect Your Skin

Two women one with acne, one with clear skin

As women, we’re all in agreement that all of our skin types are different. However, there’s one main thing that we have in common that impacts heavily on the behaviour of our skin and that’s our menstrual cycles. Skin changes during the menstrual cycle can push our skincare routines to the limit, but by understanding what stage we’re at and when, and adapting our skincare regimens to suit, we can benefit from having flawless skin throughout our changing skin cycle. Period!

How does the menstrual cycle affect skin?

Skin changes during the menstrual cycle can be really dramatic. Hormones, including progesterone, estrogen and testosterone are ever-changing throughout your cycle and end up moving in and out of their natural balance. Your hormones will be particularly unbalanced for a couple of days before your period, which is why problems such as acne can surface during this time. This imbalance of hormones causes sebum (oily secretion) to build up beneath the surface of the skin, making it oilier than usual and creating the perfect conditions for spots and other facial blemishes.

There are four unique phases that occur during your cycle called menstruation, follicular, ovulation and luteal. Each phase affects your skin in a completely different way, but by identifying each in turn, you’ll be ready to adapt your skincare routine to help it cope with each phase. 

Can I use skincare during my period?

Absolutely! In fact, it’s important to use skincare throughout all four parts of your cycle to ensure that your skin stays healthy and protected from pollution, the elements and harmful UV rays from the sun. Menstruation is actually the first part of your cycle, so it’s a great place to start when thinking about your skincare routine. Whilst you’re on your period, the levels of important hormones such as estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest. These low levels can cause your skin to appear a little on the dull side, which is why some people suffer from dry skin just before a period. Staying hydrated and regularly moisturising your skin can help to bring that healthy glow back and stop any lines or wrinkles from becoming too prominent. 

How to change your skincare routine during menstruation

We’ve already talked about keeping your skin hydrated and moisturised, but it’s also important to make sure that you’re cleaning your face more frequently during your period. Sebaceous glands are in overdrive during this time meaning if you don’t keep your face as clear from oil as possible, you could be at risk of menstrual acne. In the few days before menstruation, choose hydrating moisturisers that are suitable for dry skin, then keep skin clean and oil-free during menstruation with cleansers suitable for oily skin, such as Cerave’s Foaming Cleanser.

When is skin at its best during the menstrual cycle?

After your period comes the follicular phase, usually around day 10 to day 16 of your cycle. The follicular phase is one of the calmest phases of the full cycle, with a nice emotional uplift and low levels of skin irritation. Thanks to the increased levels of estrogen, you’ll probably notice that your skin is glowing and feeling super healthy during this time. Testosterone is also on the rise in this phase, which results in your skin feeling naturally moisturised and strengthened by additional collagen.

How to change your skincare routine during the follicular phase

Since your skin is at its best during this phase, a regular routine that includes cleansing, toning and moisturising should keep it looking great! This phase is less about changing your skincare routine and more about looking after its healthy glow! Prioritise SPF, vitamin C and retinoids during this period and enjoy your gorgeous, glowing complexion! 

How Does Ovulation Affect Your Skin?

By the 14th day of your cycle, ovulation will start. A mixed bag for your hormones, it begins with estrogen and testosterone in balance and ends with progesterone increasing whilst estrogen decreases. Thanks to the balance of testosterone and estrogen at the start of ovulation, you can enjoy your skin at its very best for around five days. However, once progesterone levels start to increase, you’ll end up with oily skin during ovulation.

Ovulation is the phase that happens just before the luteal phase. Luteinizing hormones make your skin much more prone to bacteria, so it’s important to keep your skin clean, particularly if you’re someone that suffers from blemished skin.

How to change your skincare routine during ovulation

Skin during ovulation can sometimes be a pain to manage! Since your skin may end up feeling oilier towards the end of ovulation, we recommend using skincare that’s oil-free, so as not to clog your pores. Make sure that you always take your makeup off properly and wash your hands frequently, so you don’t transfer any bacteria to your face.

How Does the Luteal Phase Affect Your Skin?

During the luteal phase, you’ll get tough to handle premenstrual symptoms from painful skin changes to irritable mood swings. The hormonal imbalance that happens during the luteal phase is to blame for all of these symptoms and depending on how severely your body reacts to the imbalance, you may find yourself having to change your routine to counteract the effects. During this time, you’re more likely to experience bloating and swelling across the whole body due to water retention. Combine this with hormonal fluctuation and you can expect your skin to feel more oily than usual. You may even suffer from puffiness around your face. 

How to change your skincare during the luteal phase

The luteal phase is a great time to take care of yourself and luteal phase skincare falls nicely into this category. Avoid wearing heavy makeup during this time and any products that could clog your pores, as your skin is more prone to breakouts and use skincare that targets acne alongside cleansers that are good for oily skin. Staying hydrated and eating healthily will help to reduce bloating and mood swings for a much happier you!

Whatever stage of your cycle you’re at, making sure that you stick to a full comprehensive skincare routine will give you a good base to work with during each phase of your cycle. Visit our skincare hub today and find the best products for your skin, offering everything you’ll need for each stage of your cycle.

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