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Skin and Period

Posted by Serene Ang on
Skin and Period

How does our menstrual cycle affect our skin?

Did you know that our menstrual cycle affects our skin? You may have noticed that your skin is glowy, hydrated and then it totally changes 1 week after to being oilier and more prone to breakouts even though you did not do anything different in terms of skincare and diet. Yes, our hormones are the culprit here. Not only should we adapt our skincare to the external environment like seasons, but we should also adapt our skincare and routines to the internal environment which is our hormonal cycle. The 2 key hormones that are most crucial are Estrogen and Progesterone. They work hand in hand to support our menstrual cycle and any imbalance will cause issues and trouble to our skin.

Estrogen

Stimulates collagen production, increases blood circulation, increases metabolism, increases skin hydration levels. Secretion of estrogen causes our skin to be delicate, firm and elastic.

Progesterone

Increases our immunity, controls skins secretions, balances skin. However, high levels of progesterone will cause excess secretion of sebum, thickening of cuticle layers and it is also linked to the secretion of melanin which causes spots and freckles.

Estrogen levels are highest during ovulation while progesterone levels peak 1 week before menstruation.

 

Menstrual cycle graph estrogen progesterone

 

There are 4 common skin issues that are caused by fluctuations of hormones in our Menstrual cycle

  1. Oily skin and acne

  2. Spots and blemishes

  3. Dry skin

  4. Sensitive skin

These issues may occur at different times during the menstrual cycle. Let’s see how we can manage these issues and also adapt our skincare and routines to our monthly cycle.

Time Period

Skin Problems

Plan

During menstruation

(Day 1- 6)

Skin may appear dull, dry and may be more sensitive than usual.

The rapid decline of both estrogen and progesterone levels during menstruation causes a decrease in the blood circulation and metabolism which may cause skin to appear dull, dry and more sensitive.

 

Focus on hydration and nutrition for the skin to boost the blood circulation to the skin to combat dryness and dullness. Use more facial masks to prevent water loss. This is also a good time to use a gentle scrub to stimulate blood circulation and brighten dull skin.

Second week after menstruation

(Day 7 – 13)

Skin is in its best condition up till ovulation. Skin feels hydrated, smooth and plump.

At the end of our period, estrogen levels starts to increase again. This also increases skin metabolism and stimulates collagen production. Skin absorption is also at its best. Hence this is the best time to apply nutritive or reparative skincare.

This is the ‘golden week’ for our skin- the best time to restore and rebuilt and nourish it. Use skincare that focus on more reparative functions such as those that repair and rebuild, stimulate collagen production. It’s also the best time to use Whitening and Anti-aging products for better efficacy.  This is also a good time to drink some herbal soup to replenish blood and qi (energy). Read more on Ba Zhen Tang.

Third week

(Day 14- 20)

After ovulation, progesterone levels start to increase while estrogen levels start to fluctuate. During this time, you may experience changes in your skin condition- higher levels of oil/sebum production, more white/black heads, clogged pores and skin may appear rougher with enlarged pores. Spots/freckles may appear and also appear darker.

Use less oily products, focus more on oil control or use oil free skincare. Increase sun protection due to increased tendency to form dark spots. This is also a good time to focus on your diet to reduce oily and fried foods and drink more water to encourage skin metabolism.

Fourth week

(Day 21-28)

One week before our period, the levels of progesterone peaks. This may cause increased sebum production, thickening of corneal skin layers, more blackheads and even experience acne breakouts.

Your skin is at its weakest, it may feel rough, sensitive and also dull hence it’s not advisable to go for any facial treatments during this time.

 

This is not the time to try out new skincare products or go for facial treatments. Stick to your trusted skincare products and routine.

Use gentle products during this time as our skin is more sensitive. This is a good time to use a gentle facial wash and scrub to get rid of dirt, excess oil, dead skin and clogged pores to brighten dull skin. Due to high levels of progesterone, use adequate sunblock to prevent dark spots formation. Avoid long periods of activity in the sun and always re-apply sunblock as needed. Take more fruits/vegetables with vitamin C to combat skin dullness and dark spot formation.

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