With seemingly infinite beauty brands and product lines on the market, navigating your skincare routine can be a daunting task. A woman’s skin requires special attention as it changes throughout the menstrual cycle – and these changes are most obvious just before and during your period.
If your skin glowing and luminous one day, and oily and spotty the next, you’re not alone. These changes in skin texture are due to fluctuating hormone levels as progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone ebb and flow at various points in the cycle.
Your skin’s 28-day journey
Your skin during your period
Each menstruating woman goes through a 21-40 menstrual cycle, with a period of menstruation that lasts about 5 days. During your menstrual period, hormones kick our oil glands into overdrive, causing a buildup of oil, also known as sebum. Sebum may cause your skin to look and feel glossier than usual, and it may lead to clogged pores and ultimately breakouts.
Your skin after your period
Immediately following your period, hormone levels change once more, and you may notice that your skin feels slightly dry, leading to a dull complexion. This is due to low levels of estrogen and progesterone, but this period of dryness typically lasts for no longer than a few days.
After this initial fallout period, your body enters the follicular phase of menstruation, during which time your estrogen and testosterone levels will rise. Your skin will appear plump, hydrated and youthful – preparing you for ovulation when (biologically) your body readies you to attract a mate. Once ovulation finally occurs, both progesterone and estrogen soar, leading to a radiant complexion that requires minimal maintenance.
Your skin before your period
Throughout the luteal phase of menstruation, you may feel those pesky PMS symptoms creeping in, and you may find your skin to be more inflamed, sensitive or oily. As your body gears up for menstruation, you may find that you react differently to skincare products that are part of your everyday skincare regimen.
With skin that’s on a never ending hormonal roller coaster, how can we best look after it during each phase of our cycle? Now that you know how your skin behaves during each phase of your cycle, take a peek at some of our tips and tricks on how to deal with your skin, no matter where you are in your 28 days.
Caring for dry skin
Dull, flaky, lifeless skin
When your skin is dry, think of it as your body calling out for you to take a sip of water. To stay hydrated, carry a reusable bottle of water, or your favourite caffeine-free drink with you at all times. If you spend most of your time in dry or air conditioned surroundings, you may wish to invest in a small humidifier, as humid air keeps moisture in the skin.
Begin each day by using a gentle organic exfoliant to remove dry, dead skin cells. Although it may seem counterintuitive, chemical exfoliation (such as glycolic acid) tends to be gentler on the skin than scrubs, as rough exfoliants can cause further dryness, irritation and bacteria build up. If you have sensitive skin, steer clear of strong soaps that ‘strip’ your skin, and opt instead for a gentle, gel-based natural product. (At &SISTERS HQ, we love aloe vera-based cleansers!)
Use nighttime to get your beauty rest. Layer up with a natural moisturiser or masque (try reaching for one containing hyaluronic acid) at just before bed, and wake up with a fresh new face. Applying your moisturiser at night will give your skin the best chance to soak up as much moisture as possible during the restorative hours while you slumber.