Period Skincare: How to Sync Your Routine to Your Cycle
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Most menstruators have that moment when they look in the mirror, see that pesky pimple, and wonder if "it’s that time of the month again." If it feels like you have better chances of winning your company raffles than preventing a hormonal breakout, you’re not alone. Such spots are notorious for reasons beyond your control. But even though one cannot avoid breakouts, you may have more power over your skin than you think. The idea of period skincare is simple. It is in understanding how your menstrual cycle affects your skin, and you’ll be on your way to happier and healthier skin – all month long.
Hormones don’t just impact your reproductive system. Imbalances in estrogen and testosterone can often show up on the skin hence adjusting your skincare routine to your cycle might help.
Phases of Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle generally lasts for 21 to 35 days, split into four hormone-driven phases: menstrual, follicular, ovulation, and luteal phase. Let’s talk about how to take care of your skin during each cycle.
Period Skincare During the Menstrual Phase (Days 1 to 6)
Skin Concern: Dryness
Goal: Moisturize and Nourish
Products to Look For: Rich in hyaluronic acid and ceramides
At the start of menstruation, your body has low levels of hormones progesterone and estrogen. This can cause the skin to look more dehydrated than usual. At this phase, your goal is to regain moisture that has been lost. Look to adding hydrating products to your routine with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides.
Skincare During the Follicular Phase (Days 7 to 12)
Skin Concern: None
Goal: Maintain and Stimulate
Products to Look For: Usual skincare consisting of cleanser, serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen
Following your menstruation, you will begin to see the effects of your hormones rising. Your skin starts to appear softer, smoother, and plumper due to collagen production being at its peak. At this point, your skin is relatively calm and clear so your usual skincare routine should be just fine. Stick to your cleansers, serums, moisturizers, and SPF.
Skincare During the Ovulation Phase (Days 13 to 16)
Skin Concern: Increase in sebum production
Goal: Actives and Prevention
Products to Look For: Non-comedogenic/non-pore clogging cleanser, lightweight hydrating serum, lightweight moisturizer, and sunscreen
While the complexion generally normalizes during the follicular phase, the short ovulation window comes with skin benefits. You’ll notice a healthy glow, and pores appear smaller. Your skin is also locking in moisture better, which is always a plus!
Sebum production might be higher than usual during this time, so you may notice an increase in skin oiliness. It’s best to use non-comedogenic (read: non-pore clogging) skincare. Depending on your skin type, it is recommended to avoid oil-based products altogether.
Stick to a simple routine: double down on your cleansing routine and keep the rest simple. Double cleanse using Pestlo Ourecipe Oil to Foam Cleanser then use your regular face wash after. Followed by a lightweight hydrating serum, a moisturizer that’s not too heavy, and top it all off with an SPF.
Skincare During the Luteal Phase (Days 17 to 28)
Skin Concern: breakouts
Goal: Oil Control
Products to Look For: Non-comedogenic/non-pore clogging skincare
During the luteal phase, an important focus is on controlling and preventing breakouts. It is the time between the egg release and the start of menstruation — when the body prepares for a possible pregnancy. Progesterone and estrogen levels start out very high, which can cause more oil to be produced.
During this time, your skin is more prone to acne breakouts. But don’t fret! This can be avoided by using non-comedogenic products and making sure to clean your skin thoroughly to minimize oil buildup and clogged pores.
Yes, hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle affect many aspects, including your mood, energy levels, food cravings, or skin conditions. The best way to face your monthly cycle is by being aware of these changes and listening to your skin needs.