The effects of your cycle on your skin
There are natural ups and downs for your skin every month, but with the right set of skincare techniques you can fight breakouts and promote more radiant skin throughout your entire cycle.
Most of us agree that our monthly cycle has some pretty irritating effects on our skin. Dry and flaky one day, then oily or spotted the next, it’s hard to keep up!
The good news is, menstrual cycles become increasingly regular as we age, allowing you to track your symptoms and sync your cycle to your skincare routine. For example, hormonal pimples often arrive later in your cycle, 5-10 days before the first day of your period, alongside other PMS symptoms.
The first thing to do is download a period tracker like Cycles, and get to know your menstrual Cycle! Then, you can follow this cheat sheet for syncing your skincare to your cycle:
Skincare for every phase
Period Phases (Days 1-6)
Your skin may feel dry and sensitive the first few days of your cycle due to low hormone production. To soothe and moisturize your skin, increase the use of creaming, hydrating products in your skincare routine.
Try a gentle hyaluronic acid facial serum to keep your skin feeling hydrated and plump.
Follicular Phase (Days 7-11)
Following your period, estrogen production begins again and stimulates cell turnover. This means that it's a good time to focus on gently exfoliating your skin during this phase to prevent clogged pores.
Try a vitamin C serum during this time to boost your glow.
Ovulation (Days 12-16)
Estrogen levels peak during ovulation, so this is the time for radiant skin! However, you might notice that your skin becomes a little oiler during ovulation, and some pimples may pop up.
Be sure to stick to a good cleansing routine to reduce excess sebum, and opt for oil-free formulas.
Luteal Phase (Day 17-28)
The hormone progesterone reaches its peak during the luteal phases, meaning your oil glands will be producing a lot more sebum than normal. Hormonal acne tends to strike at this time, before your period starts.
This a good time to do a clay-based mask to draw out impurities. Double the benefits of your mask by taking a warm bath and then doing a mask afterwards to help open your pores and get a deep clean.
On a daily basis, wash your face with a face wash containing salicylic acid to decrease redness and help pimples heal faster.
General skincare tips
Alongside the tips above, here are some good skincare habits to promote healthy skin at every phase in your cycle:
- Avoid harsh exfoliants as they increase inflammation which is a source of breakouts
- Always remove makeup before bed, no exceptions!
- Avoid touching your face as your hands can transfer bacteria to your face leading to breakouts
- Clean your makeup brushes on a regular basis
- Sleep with your hair tied back and change pillow cases often
- Wear SPF 15 or higher, everyday, all year round
- Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night (a time for your skin to heal)
Fighting acne with a good diet
If you struggle with skin issues, you can adjust your diet to include anti-inflammatory foods and promote healthy skin:
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat plenty of leafy greens such as spinach, broccoli and kale
- Get your dose of Omega 3s ie. nuts, seeds and cold water fish
- Include healthy fats in your diet such as avocado, olive oil, coconut oil and egg yolk
- Opt for foods rich in zinc to fight breakouts, such as sunflower seeds, shellfish and legumes
Know when to ask for help
If you feel like you’ve tried everything and still experience frustrating symptoms, it may be time to reach out for help. In cases of extreme acne, a dermatologist, doctor or even nutritionist can find a treatment that works for you.