How Your Cycle Can Affect Your Skin

The best skincare routine in the world can’t stop your skin from being affected by your menstrual cycle. While everyone’s skin and cycle are different, there are common facial skin issues that appear during particular phases of your cycle that you need to be aware of. 

If you know where you are in your cycle, understanding the impact it may be having on your otherwise flawless skin can help you shake up your skincare routine to suit and avoid some of the adverse effects from spots to dry skin and oily areas!

How Do Hormones Affect Your Skin?

As your cycle progresses, multiple hormones increase or decrease which causes either dry skin or oily skin. These hormones, including progesterone, estrogen and testosterone, end up moving out of their natural balance which creates either too much oil or not enough.

Your hormones will be particularly unbalanced a couple of days before your period and during it, which is why problems such as spots and acne surface during this time – the imbalance of hormones causes sebum to build up beneath the surface of the skin making the skin oilier than usual and creating the perfect conditions for spots and other facial blemishes.

What Are The Phases Of The Menstrual Cycle?

There are four unique phases that occur during your cycle, and each of them affects your cycle differently! Menstruation, Follicular, Ovulation and Luteal are the four phases that make up your cycle that you need to be aware of. We’ll talk you through each of these phases, what they mean for your skin, and how you might be able to counteract any adverse effects by changing your skincare routine! 

How Does Menstruation Affect Your Skin?

While 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, so hydration becomes most important during this time. 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. 

What happens to your skin during menstruation?

The time during which you’re actually having your period is the most notorious time for skin irregularities such as spots or blemishes occurring. The truth is that it’s the phase just before your period that causes all these facial nasties to appear – during menstruation, your skin should actually be pretty low maintenance. 

If you notice any intense symptoms during this time, we recommend that you speak to a dermatologist as it may be that your skin is being affected by a condition outside of the natural changes that occur during your cycle!

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 spots and even menstrual acne from forming. Twice a day should keep any excess sebum at bay!

How Does the Follicular Phase Affect Your Skin?

After your period comes the follicular phase. This is usually around day 10 to day 16 of your cycle and your estrogen levels will slowly rise during this time. The follicular phase is one of the calmest phases of the full cycle with a nice emotional uplift and low levels of skin irritation.

What happens to your skin during the follicular phase?

Thanks to the increased levels of estrogen, you’ll probably notice that your skin is glowing and feeling super healthy. Testosterone is also on the rise during this phase which causes your skin to naturally be 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, there’s not much you need to change about your skincare routine! A regular routine that includes cleansing, toning and moisturising should keep your skin looking great. Just be careful not to go too heavy on the moisturiser during this phase, your skin should be plenty moisturised with just a light application.

How Does Ovulation Affect Your Skin?

By the 14th day of your cycle, ovulation will start. This phase is a mixed bag for your hormones and is a real tipping point in the cycle; it begins with estrogen and testosterone in balance, and ends with progesterone increasing while estrogen decreases.

What happens to your skin during ovulation?

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. All that estrogen at its peak will give you skin a beautiful, healthy glow – however, once progesterone levels start to increase, your skin will end up feeling much oilier.

Ovulation is the phase that happens just before the luteal phase, which means that a luteinizing hormone will also increase during this period. Luteinizing hormones make your skin much more prone to bacteria, meaning that if you’re not up on your hygiene you could end up causing issues such as acne during ovulation.

How to change your skincare routine during ovulation

Since your skin may end up feeling oilier towards the end of ovulation thanks to those progesterone levels, we recommend that you try to use skincare that’s oil-free so as not to add clog your pores. It’s important to make sure that you always take your makeup off properly during ovulation and make sure you wash your hands frequently so you don’t transfer any bacteria to your face. 

How Does the Luteal Phase Affect Your Skin?

This phase is the most difficult to deal with – during the luteal phase, you’ll get tough to handle premenstrual symptoms from painful skin changes to irritable mood swings and cravings for anything that falls into the junk food category. 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.

What happens to your skin during the luteal phase?

During the luteal phase, 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, and you may even suffer from puffiness around your face. If breakouts are going to happen at all, it’ll be during the luteal phase!

How to change your skincare during the luteal phase

This is a time to really take care of yourself – while you might be tempted to lean towards the junk food, try to make sure that you’re staying hydrated and fill your plate with vitamins from veggies to help ease the bloating and mood swings.

In order to get your skin through this breakout time, we recommend avoiding wearing heavy makeup as much as possible and ensuring that you are diligent in your skincare routine. Heavy foundations and layering makeup could lead to clogged pores and a greater risk of breakout, while using skincare that targets acne and cleansing will help to counteract the naturally higher levels of oil on the skin.

Whatever stage of your cycle you’re at, making sure that you stick to a full comprehensive skincare routine that includes a face wash, facial cleanser to remove every scrap of makeup, a moisturiser that suits your skin type, and occasional exfoliation to remove the buildup of dead skin cells will give you a good base to work with during each phase of your cycle. Browse our full skincare range at Beauty Base to discover products to suit you!

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