Dry skin can happen during any time of the year, especially during winter months when the air is dry, and indoor heating systems are on full blast. However, if you’re dealing with dry skin that seems to coincide with your period, it’s probably because of changes in your hormones.
Hormones change daily, but during your monthly cycle, the changes can cause your skin to become drier or even oilier, which is why you might experience breakouts the week before or during your period.
Let’s talk about what keeps your skin hydrated, what causes you to experience dry skin during your period, and what you can do to combat dryness during your period and beyond.
What’s Keeping Your Skin Hydrated?
You might think your skin’s hydration level is determined by two factors: the amount of water you drink and the quality of the moisturizer you use. Those two factors are important, but they aren’t the most important way your skin stays hydrated.
Your skin uses sebum to stay lubricated, hydrated and protected. Sebum is your skin’s natural oil, and your sebaceous glands produce it. Sebaceous glands are tiny glands located at the bottom of the hair follicles on your skin. The top of each hair follicle (the visible opening) is the pore.
Your sebaceous glands (as well as sebum) often get a bad rap. Overproduction of sebum is synonymous with clogged pores and acne. However, sebum is crucial to your skin’s health. Nothing hydrates your skin better than a mixture of fatty acids and natural waxes, so when sebum isn’t being produced correctly by your skin, your skin can end up dry or oily.
Why Skin Gets Dry
Numerous causes lead to dry skin. Weather, certain products, acne-fighting agents, and hormones can all cause your skin to feel dry and uncomfortable. We usually reach for a solution like topical lotions or creams to get relief, but unless we attack the underlying cause of the dry skin, the cycle will continue, and no amount of moisturizer will “fix” it.
When Skin Gets Oily
Sometimes our skin makes too much sebum. Too much sebum can result in skin that feels oily, greasy, or damp to the touch. Oily skin is prone to more breakouts than dry skin, but dry skin isn’t completely safe from the risk of developing blemishes. In fact, dry skin can trigger an overproduction of sebum that leads to breakouts.
What Controls Sebum Production
Like practically everything else in your body, sebum is controlled by hormones. Specifically, the hormones that control the sebaceous glands are androgens. Androgens are usually considered male-specific hormones, but females make them, too.
Testosterone, in particular, controls not only the amount of sebum you produce but also the type of sebum. Although your testosterone levels don’t really fluctuate that much during the month, your other hormone levels rise and fall, which allows testosterone to become more highly concentrated in your bloodstream.
When testosterone levels are higher, the sebum your skin produces is thicker and stickier, making it easier for it to clog your pores and create breakouts. Let’s look at how your skin reacts during the four phases of your menstrual cycle and how each phase can leave your skin feeling dry and tight.
The Four Phases of Your Cycle
Your monthly cycle is more than just your period; in fact, the week of your period is just a short five to seven days of your 28-30 day cycle. The entire month, your body is changing and preparing for the next cycle, and the changes in your hormones can affect your skin directly.
Menstrual phase. The first five to seven days of your cycle is the menstrual phase. During this phase, you’ll have your period, and your skin may feel dry and irritated. It might be more likely to develop a breakout because your skin is so sensitive.
Follicular phase. The second week of your cycle is the follicular phase. It actually overlaps with the menstrual phase but extends to about day 14 of your cycle. This is often referred to as the “second week” of your cycle and is known for giving you glowing, healthy skin.
Estrogen levels begin to rise during the follicular phase, while progesterone and testosterone levels lower during the follicular phase. You may find your skin is at its best the week after your period.
Ovulation phase. The ovulation phase lasts only 24-48 hours and refers to the day you release an egg to be fertilized. During this phase, progesterone levels spike, which can send your sebaceous glands into overdrive and cause a spontaneous breakout.
Luteal phase. The remainder of your cycle (which lasts about half the month, or roughly two weeks) is called the luteal phase. During the luteal phase, hormone levels gradually regulate before estrogen and progesterone levels begin to decline just before your period starts.
The luteal phase can make your skin dry or oily, depending on how your hormones affect your body. Many people say their skin is dry the first week of the luteal phase (or the third week of your cycle) and oily the fourth week (or the week before your period).
Each phase can create dry skin, but generally, the menstrual phase is when the skin will feel driest overall.
Symptoms of Hormone-Related Dry Skin
It can be hard to tell if the dry skin you’re experiencing is due to changes in your hormones or from your lifestyle and the environment. Smoking, for instance, is notorious for making your skin dry and aging your skin faster than it would normally age.
If you suspect your skin is dry due to changes in your hormones, you can look for symptoms: paying attention, some of them may surprise you.
- Dry skin during the week of your period. This is the hallmark of period-related dry skin. If your skin dries out and is sensitive to breakouts during your period, this is a tell-tale symptom of hormone-related skin dryness.
- Increased sebum production. Sometimes dry skin sends a message to your sebaceous glands to produce more oil to compensate. The oil produced is more adhesive due to the higher concentration of testosterone in your body, which makes it more likely to clog your pores and create blemishes.
- Dry skin around the same time each month, no matter what season it is. If you’re getting dry skin at the same time each month, you can pretty much guarantee it is related to your monthly cycle. No worries, we have the solutions you need to combat them correctly.
You can easily tackle dry skin during your period by using the right products and making a few very simple changes to keep your skin hydrated and comfortable.
How To Combat Dry Skin During Your Period
Using your regular moisturizer may not be enough to battle the dry skin you experience when you’re on your period. It may require you to use better, more effective products with ingredients that work synergistically with your body to keep your moisture levels balanced and regulated.
At Rael, we approach skincare from the K beauty standard, which involves treating your skin with natural ingredients and developing a holistic skin regime that helps balance the skin and keep sebum production in check.
When your skin starts feeling dry, we’ve got effective solutions that are powerful yet gentle on your skin.
Use a Mask
Sheet masks deliver ingredients deep into your pores and are safe to use during every phase of your cycle. Rael’s masks are specifically formulated to work differently during each of the four phases of your cycle.
When your skin is driest during your period, our hydration mask is your new best friend. Just fifteen minutes with our bamboo facial sheet will deliver loads of hydrating ingredients to your skin and keep it feeling moisturized for hours. Side note: it’s also a great way to practice some much-needed self-care during your period.
Use a Treatment
K-beauty technology focuses on using specialized treatments to keep your skin hydrated deeply. Our go-to treatment for deep hydration is the Moisture Melt Snowball.
Formulated with freeze-dried hyaluronic acid, activating this with our serum is the perfect way to deliver a deep surge of moisture that penetrates your skin and keeps it hydrated for over 100 hours.
Increase Your Water Intake
If you aren’t drinking enough water, start. If you’re drinking plenty, drink an extra glass on days when your skin feels particularly dry. Studies show there is a direct correlation between the amount of water you consume and the health of your skin.
While dehydrated skin is a skin condition that can affect anyone, it can contribute to dryness and worsen your dry skin situation.
Use a Better Moisturizer
It might be time to level up your moisturizer game. If you’ve been using the same moisturizer and getting the same dry results, it’s time to make a switch.
Rael’s Daily Restoration Gel Cream is a lightweight moisturizer that delivers potent hydration without feeling heavy or greasy. Our blend of hyaluronic acid and fullerene (a powerful antioxidant) helps create a moisture barrier on your skin to keep your skin deeply moisturized without clogging your pores and causing blemishes.
What If I Have Blemish-Prone Skin?
Dry skin that is also blemish-prone can seem like a tough situation to fix, but the truth is many blemishes (especially those that are related to your period) stem from dry skin. Dry skin that triggers an overproduction of sebum is often misdiagnosed as oily skin.
Using harsh products to reduce blemishes can cause your skin to become even drier, which can, in turn, cause you to produce even more sticky sebum, resulting in more bumps. Instead, opt for gentle ways to balance your skin’s natural moisture levels. Rael’s eight-step skincare routine helps keep your skin looking and feeling hydrated no matter what phase of your cycle you’re in.
Dry skin during your period can be a nuisance that can leave you feeling like your face might just crack into pieces. Rael has the solutions you need, with holistic, plant-based products that help keep your skin hydrated naturally.
If you’re prone to dry skin during your menstrual cycle, you can rely on Rael’s skin solutions to keep your skin balanced and hydrated without clogging your pores or causing irritation. Get healthy, hydrated skin naturally with Rael’s K-beauty solutions.
Sources:10 skin care habits that can worsen acne | AAD.org