Your Skin at Every Stage of Your Menstrual Cycle

If you have a menstrual cycle, you already know the effects it can have on your skin. Especially if you’re someone who suffers from premenstrual breakouts (the worst!).

That week before your period, it’s pretty obvious that your hormones have kicked into high gear and are wreaking havoc, but your skin is actually affected differently by each different stage of your menstrual cycle, though the symptoms may be less obvious. 

We’ve created this handy guide to walk you through the different stages of your cycle and the best way to show your skin the TLC it needs at each stage. 

Before we dive in, let’s meet the players (hormones)  in this game we call your menstrual cycle:

Estrogen

Estrogen is our very best friend, when it comes to skin care. It keeps us looking plump, hydrated and glowing. You can expect estrogen to show up at its strongest right before and during ovulation.

Testosterone

Testosterone is always present in our bodies, but is more prevalent during menstruation when progesterone and estrogen are at their lowest. Testosterone increases oil production during your period.

Progesterone

Progesterone swells the skin, produces excess oil and tightens the pores, creating a perfect storm for hormonal acne. Lame. 

Now we know what we’re working with, let’s break down this monthly rollercoaster of skin care.

Day 1 – 6

What’s Going On: Day one starts with your period. Your skin at this time, may not be at its best. Your hormones are all turned down to low, so your skin may be less moist. This means your skin may look dull, dry and just not it’s vibrant, glowing self.

What To Do: Hit your skin with some rehydration! Grab your favorite moisturizer, serum or oil treatment and give your skin that tall glass of water it so desperately needs.

Day 7- 11

What’s Going On: Estrogen starts it’s slow climb to ovulation. At this time you’ll start noticing an increase in collagen and elastin, giving your skin that plump, vibrant and hydrated look.

What To Do: It’s a great time for some gentle exfoliation. New skin cells are turning over, so it’s time to wash away the old and bring in the new. A gentle exfoliant or chemical exfoliant can help ring in the new cells.

Day 12 – 16

What’s Going On: Just before and during ovulation your skin is at it’s finest! Estrogen is peaking and giving you that sought-after, estrogen glow. Your pores will appear smaller, your skin will look moist & soft and your collagen and elastin is working overtime for that perfect plump!

What To Do: Not much! Your skin is at its best, so you can bask in its natural self care. This is the time when you can work in some of your anti-aging treatments. It’s time to shine for your peptide and retinol serums.

Day 17 – 24

What’s Going On: The Honeymoon is over. Estrogen takes a dive and progesterone takes the stage. Sebum production goes into hyperdrive and you’ll start to notice your skin getting puffier. The puffiness leads to smaller pores BUT unfortunately that traps excess sebum, leading to breakouts.

What To Do: Soak up that oil with a clay mask, add a toner into your regime to pull out impurities and bring down those oil levels.

Day 25 – 28

What’s Going On: Oh hello, PMS. We missed you. Testosterone has pushed Estrogen and Progesterone out of the way and is loving the limelight. Expect some hormonal acne to creep in along with its friends; puffiness, excessive oiliness and enlarged pores. When all these fun symptoms come together, you’ll likely notice breakouts around your chin and jawline.

What To Do: Grab an anti-acne treatment. Anything with salicylic acid will help remove bacteria from the skin and prevent future breakouts.

Then get ready to do it all over again!

Our hormones aren’t always kind to our skin, but once we know what is happening, we can start working with our cycle instead of against it.