How Your Period Affects Your Skin?

So you just ate an entire packet of malteasers, broke down crying at that stupid RSPCA commercial, and maybe slammed one too many doors today… Well, I’m sorry to break it to you but your period may be due soon.

Your monthly menstrual cycle doesn’t just bring cramps, cravings and mood swings though – it can also wreak havoc on your skin. Increased oil production, dryness, enlarged pores and increased sun sensitivity are just some of the symptoms we experience during the dreaded shark week.

So, here is the low down on what happens throughout your period and the week leading up to it so you can counteract any skin issues you may have for clearer, healthier looking skin all month round.

Day 1-7 (Menstruation Period)

When your period begins, your body produces a large amount of prostaglandin, a hormone that causes your uterine walls to contract. Prostaglandin increases your pain sensitivity so your skin will more tender and touchy. So be gentle to your skin around this time and don’t invest in any painful or aggressive treatments like peels or waxing. Prostaglandin also makes your blood vessels constrict so you may flush more easily and appear redder than usual.

During your menstrual cycle, your levels of the hormones progesterone and oestrogen drop significantly (this is why you feel so emotional!). These low levels dehydrate your skin and cause it to be more prone to fine lines and wrinkles. Make sure you slap on extra moisturiser and anti-ageing treatments during this time to avoid dryness, flaking, and those negative signs of ageing.

Day 8-14 (Ovulation Starts)

Breathe easy and rest assured that this is a great period for your skin! Your body starts replenishes its oestrogen and serotonin levels, and as result, your moods are much more balanced and your skin improves greatly.

Increased levels of oestrogen and progesterone plump up cells and encourage the production of collagen, so your skin is more hydrated and smooth than any other time during the month. New skin cells are being produced so it is a great time to exfoliate old skin cells for a brighter, healthier look as well. These hormones are also being secreted at a higher rate so around day 12, just before ovulation, is the perfect time to have facials and extractions performed.

The ovulation phase begins and hormones, such as oestrogen and luteinising are at their peak. This means your skin is at its tightest with collagen production excelling and your pores appearing smaller.

Day 15-22 (Preparation for Menstruation)

After your body assesses it is not pregnant, your hormone levels begin to drop again in preparation for menstruation. Progesterone and testosterone, however, increase leaving your skin oilier and more acne prone. Too many of these hormones increase the possibility of acne and blemishes because extra sebum is produced, blocking and inflaming the pores.

Excess oil is also caused by the fact that our levels of the oestradiol hormone fall, but testosterone remains high.  This difference means that your skin is especially acne prone at this time. During this period cleanses and skin peels are really important to counteract the amount of oil produced. This will keep your skin as clear and smooth as possible.

Day 23-28 (Week before Menstruation)

Your skin is still considerably susceptible to excess oil and acne a week before menstruation starts. This is because androgens are produced at a much higher rate than at any other time. Breakouts and significantly blocked pores may be an issue.

Your skin barrier is also very weak and tends to be disrupted; your skin is duller, drier and more prone to fine lines and wrinkles. So, during this time invest in barrier repair actives that include ceramides, cholesterol and essential fatty acids. It will also help prepare your skin for your menstruation period in a couple of days.

But cheer up it’s not all doom and gloom. If you feel you need some help in managing all this: This is what we here for and we Can help.

Teresa Russo
Clinical Director
Visible Changes