Women experience periods every month - but symptoms, duration and regularity vary from woman to woman. Just as one may experience heightened changes in moods and others experience severe period cramps, we cannot accurately say how your skin may change throughout the month. However, studies have found that women's skin typically fluctuate through the month based on your period cycle.
This is when period skincare can come in handy to treat patterns you see in your skin - acne right before your period and increased redness during your period are just some examples. However, take period skincare with a pinch of salt as you may need to focus on your overarching skin problem to help improve your skin - such as constantly hydrating your skin to prevent dry skin and continuously exfoliating your skin and using acne products to combat oily skin.
Here's how your skin fluctuates throughout the month:
Menstruation (3 to 7 days)
This is when you experience your period - your estrogen and progesterone levels are low, which can cause your skin to appear dry, dull and tired. This is due to reduced oil production and lower skin barrier function.
In addition, elevated prostaglandins hormone levels might also increase skin sensitivity and redness, especially if you already have sensitive skin.
Action: It is thus important to remember your moisturiser during your period to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Avoid using products with acid and always use a sunblock to protect your skin.
Follicular Phase - Post Menstruation (7 to 12 days)
Directly after your period and typically on the 14 day, your skin is at its best with estrogen levels rising. This is because estrogen helps to promote the skins ability to retain moisture and increase collagen production for plump, glowing skin.
Action: You can resume use of products with acid and active ingredients to give your skin the boost it needs for greater glow!
Ovulation (13 to 15 days before the next period)
This is typically the mid-cycle point and your egg is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube. Both estrogen and testosterone levels are at their peak and cases an increase in the luteinizing hormone. This is directly linked to the start of hormonal acne and you may see your skin getting oilier in the day.
Action: Remember to keep your skin clean by cleansing at least twice a day. It is also important to use your moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated - this is even more so if you have oily skin! The right oily skin moisturiser will keep your skin hydrated and control sebum production, as opposed to not using it and causing sebum production to increase as your skin tries to combat dry skin.
This is also the best time to exfoliate your skin with a gentle scrub and use a clay mask to absorb extra sebum.
Luteal Phase (Pre-Menstruation)
Your estrogen levels drop, leading to acne due to the rise in progesterone. This can cause inflammation in the skin, and therefore painful acne with pus. An imbalance of testoterone will also increase sebum production, leading to clogged pores and more breakouts.
Action: If your skin is especially prone to breakouts right before your period, it is important to incorporate non-comedogenic and anti-inflammatory products into your routine. Apply a pimple gel that can sooth inflammation on your acne areas and a moisturiser to reduce sebum production.
Incorporate a purifying mask 1 to 2 times before your period to clear your skin and apply a suitable moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated and happy.
Ignoring the cycle...
Although we have been going on and on about syncing your skin care regime to your period, here's other skin care tips your must remember to keep your skin beautiful and healthy all month long!
1. Keep your skin clean
Bacteria is the root of all evil and this is no different for your skin. For some people, not bathing immediately after a sweaty workout session can trigger acne, and for others, it might cause eczema and rashes.
While oily skin and increased sebum production can cause acne, it is external microbial exposure that can worsen acne and cause inflammation and pus. Wash your face at least twice daily to keep your skin clean and free of bacteria and pollutants.
If you put on make-up, always double and even triple cleanse with an oil-based makeup remover and then a water/gel based cleanser to thoroughly clean your skin. Skin clogged by makeup, residual skin care and bacterial is prone to acne! Internal factors like increased sebum production contribute to acne's onset.
2. Always use a moisturiser
If using a toner, serum and moisturiser seems like too much work - start with a moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated and happy. Hydrated skin is key to healthy, glowing skin because it is not thirsting and dry.
Depending on your skin condition, you may need a moisturiser to reduce sebum production and shine, or one that hydrates and nourish the skin. Always choose the right moisturiser for best results!
3. Your diet may matter, or it might not...
Some people are especially sensitive to dietary requirements for their skin - for example, one may have increased acne breakouts from dairy products, or even fried food. For these people, ensuring that they follow a healthy diet is essential to having good skin.
For others, it may be less important. Eating a healthy and balance diet, however, is always essential for a healthy body and even good skin. Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, and antioxidant-rich foods are important for your skin. They aid in reducing inflammation, maintaining supple, moisturised skin, enhancing circulation, and delaying the ageing process of the skin. Eat berries, plums and vegetables rich in anti-oxidants for anti-ageing properties!
All in all, it is important to take care of your skin with a good skin care regime to avoid dry, sensitive skin, or even acne and inflammation.