Don’t you just hate it when your skin starts acting up just before and during your menstrual cycle? As if the period cramps weren't enough to make you miserable. Not only is period acne a thing, add to the mix dry patches, oily and greasy skin along with a dull and drab complexion and you just can’t wait for the week (and the agony) to end.
You might have also noticed that your skin starts getting better once your menstrual cycle ends, and you’re at your wits end trying to figure out what you’re doing wrong (or right!) that’s causing your skin to go from acting up to looking better in a matter of just a few days.
Well, it’s the hormones, honey!
Your menstrual cycle, typically of 28 days, consists of several stages, each with fluctuating hormone levels. It is a series of changes that a woman’s body goes through in order to prepare for a possible pregnancy. However, these hormones also have a significant impact on one’s skin.
During the first few days of the cycle, the level of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone are low, leading to dry, dull and wrinkly skin. Acne is also a common occurrence during this time. After a few days the estrogen begins to rise, allowing the skin to get clearer and glowing. Mid cycle the oiliness and pimples return and the cycle repeats. EVERY SINGLE MONTH.
But do not take it as bad news! Because perhaps, for the first time, an understanding of this recurring cycle will make your skin predictable, enabling you to optimize your skincare regime according to your skin’s natural changes.
Phases of the menstrual cycle:
- Menstrual phase, Days 1-5: When your period starts, the levels of progesterone and estrogen are at their lowest. During the first few days of your period, your skin will be a little more sensitive than usual and because of this it will appear to be more dry, blotchy, dull and uneven.
- Follicular phase, Days 6-12: In the follicular phase, your skin releases extra estrogen which thickens the uterine lining for the egg. As the estrogen spikes, your skin also thickens which decreases the size of the pores while also promoting collagen production. To achieve a healthy glow during this stage, you can use a gentle scrub every two days to remove the dead skin from the face. You can also use an anti-aging mask and incorporate vitamin C in your routine to further enhance your skin’s glow.
- Ovulatory phase, Days 12-16: During this phase, when your body is going through the ovulation process, the estrogen level remains high and your body produces a luteinizing hormone. This hormone makes your skin oily and acne starts to pop up. To maintain your skin during this phase, you can use a gentle deep pore cleanser 1-2 times a day. Make sure to remove any makeup with a gentle makeup remover before going to bed.
- Luteal phase, Days 17-28: The luteal phase is the start of the premenstrual symptoms (PMS). During this phase, your skin might face woes such as oiliness, dark spots, dry skin and an uneven skin tone. Stay hydrated by drinking enough water and increase the intake of antioxidants during this phase. You can also incorporate niacinamide to control excessive oil production.
How to take care of your skin during your period?
- Hydrate your skin: During our period, our skin tends to become dry and flaky. It is therefore imperative to ensure that it is generously and religiously moisturized to keep it feeling loved and cared for. Make sure to use a moisturizer that is not only hydrating but also helps in soothing and calming any inflammation that the skin might experience during this time. For those with oily skin, make sure the moisturizer is not sticky and greasy as you want to avoid exacerbating the already existing oiliness. The lightweight Leovard Multicream, packed with hydrating and nourishing ingredients as well as several antioxidants, makes a perfect option.
- Avoid using makeup during period days: As your skin is already very sensitive during the menstrual days, try to minimize the use of makeup and let your skin just breathe! Instead, incorporate homemade remedies such as turmeric masks and different fruit peels which will help to rejuvenate your skin naturally. If you feel like applying makeup during your period, just make sure to remove it before going to bed by cleansing it with a gentle yet effective cleanser. We recommend the Leovard Multicleanser for a job done well. It contains salicylic acid which means it also works wonderfully well at combating period acne!
- Use gentle products during your period: When you are on period, it is vital to use products that are gentle, soothing and calming on the skin. The skin is already inflamed during this time and can use all the love and pampering it can get. This means you should avoid using harsh exfoliants such as scrubs and chemical peels on your skin. Products that contain alcohol and fragrance should be completely avoided as they can cause the skin to dry up and get irritated even further.
- Go for a facial: If you want clearer skin during your period days and want to avoid having zits and pimples all over your face, schedule your monthly facial 10-12 days before your period date. During this stage, which is the ovulation phase, the pores are relatively large, making the cleansing process easier and the damage to skin less likely. Also make sure to exfoliate your skin using AHAs to keep the pores free from buildup. A facial during this time makes the skin better equipped for the upcoming dip in the hormones estrogen and progesterone and the start of your next period cycle.
A clear and in-depth understanding of the changes your body and skin goes through during the menstrual cycle as well as having a consistent skincare routine in place helps you better manage the skin woes associated with each stage. It helps keep hormonal acne, dryness, breakouts and uneven skin tone under control, allowing you to enjoy radiant, glowing and bright skin each day.