Ugh, your period has officially begun. You’re having terrible cramps, your boobs are sore, you’re craving chocolate like a mad woman, and now...your skin is acting up too?! The reason for your skin acting funky is the same as for everything else-- hormones. You might be wondering how exactly hormones are capable of altering your skin’s condition during your period, so let’s jump right in.
As the menstrual cycle progresses after the end of a monthly period, estrogen and progesterone levels spike and gradually increase usually around days 7-16. During this time, your skin retains elasticity well, remains well-hydrated, and even sports that healthy ‘glow’ reminiscent of your favorite highlighter. You will generally feel more emotionally uplifted as well. It is advised to maintain your normal skincare routine including a gentle cleanser and hydrating moisturizer.
In the days leading up to your period and once your period starts, you may notice that your skin begins to misbehave. This is due to changing estrogen and progesterone levels which in turn affect your skin’s texture and increase oil build-up underneath the skin’s surface resulting in an acne break-out. This is why acne often signals the impending arrival of your period.
Once your period begins, your skin takes on a dry and dull appearance due to declining estrogen levels. Increasing progesterone levels make your skin much oilier and more susceptible to bacteria, which affects the severity of acne.
Thus, it’s especially important to avoid anything that may further clog the pores during this time, such as, greasy food, heavy make-up, and touching of the face. It also is best to avoid oil-based makeup and skincare products. As far as your skincare routine goes, exfoliation with a gentle scrub and a hydrating mask should be added along with twice daily face-washing and moisturizing.
Aside from increased dryness and oiliness, your period also affects your skin’s sensitivity. You may notice more irritation from products used on the skin that contain any type of fragrance or scent. The sun’s rays may exacerbate your skin’s irritation further, causing redness, more dryness, and blotchiness. To combat this, utilize a protective sunscreen and reapply every two hours if you plan to be out in the sun, though it is recommended to limit sun exposure to avoid further skin irritation. Don’t forget to wear a floppy hat with a wide brim and additional layers of clothing to double-up on protection.
Being a woman is rewarding but also can be challenging, especially dealing with all of the baggage that comes along with your period. Preparing for the inevitable changes to your skin and maintaining a solid skincare routine with additional protective measures can help make the transition a lot smoother.