Do you look and feel different during your period? We're here to tell you that it’s totally normal, and there are ways to prepare for different stages of your period! Let's talk about it.
The Pre-Period Stage
At least a week before your cycle begins, your estrogen levels begin to decrease while your progesterone and testosterone levels increase. This causes increased oil production and clogged pores, making them appear larger. Hormonal acne will typically occur on your chin and jawline, though breakouts can occur anywhere on your face. Along with your skin being the most sensitive, low levels of estrogen can leave your skin looking blotchy so that by day five your skin becomes dull, dry, and flaky.
Tips for Treatment
- Up your intake of antioxidants by drinking green tea, working up a sweat (while washing your face afterward!) and getting plenty of vitamin C.
- During the acne-prone period, use a salicylic acid serum after cleansing or start with a cleanser that is high in salicylic acid. This type of cleanser cleans out pores, gets rid of excess oil, and keeps bacteria and blemishes at bay.
- Increase exfoliation to 2-3 times per week or more and stimulate cell turnover using products that remove dead skin cells and brighten skin.
- Clarifying facials and clay face masks are great at this time for clearing out impurities.
14 days within your cycle, a different hormone called the Luteinizing hormone (LH) is produced, triggered by an increase in estrogen that causes increased oil production, breeding the ideal environment for acne and bacteria. During this time, you’re sure to see a blemish or two, making it very important to amp up your anti-acne routine before more appear. Around this time, however, your complexion should start to clear up, so embrace it with minimal makeup. At first, you'll start to get your glow back and blood circulation increases, so ingredients are absorbed much better. Check your products for the term “non-comedogenic,” which means they have been tested and verified to not clog your pores when applied.
Tips for Treatment
- Using oil-free makeup and moisturizer is very important.
- Choose calming, soothing ingredients and avoid active facials and potent products. Look for anti-inflammatory properties like green tea and aloe vera.
- Use a vitamin C serum to restore a healthy glow without irritation.
- Treat your skin to a creamy hydrating face mask to prevent dehydration.
The Post-Period Stage
After your period ends, your levels of estrogen begin to increase and your skin typically looks and feels in tip-top shape. If you're acne-prone throughout the month regardless, continue using products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or tea tree oil. You may find that you need a less potent dose around this time of the month.
Tips for treatment
- As always, make sure you're wearing an SPF
- Skip heavy foundation and let your skin breathe
- Fall back to your normal routine, but always be on the lookout for when you need to make adjustments
With all that said and done, know that no two menstrual cycles are the same. The basics of any skincare routine are to always gently exfoliate and focus on moisture. To regulate hormones and to increase circulation to the skin, do your best to live a balanced life. Translation: get enough sleep, manage stress, exercise often, and listen to your skin’s needs.