When we talk about menstrual skin, we’re talking about a whole range of skin problems women can encounter during their menstrual cycle each month.
Between the ages of 10-15, most girls begin to menstruate, i.e., they start getting their monthly period. This shedding of tissues and blood from the uterine lining occurs every month for the next 40-something years in most women.
Powerful hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, which help regulate your skin’s ongoing elasticity, circulation and appearance, also control menstruation. That means your period and your skin condition are intimately related, for decades.
The hormonal changes associated even with normal menstruation alone can wreak havoc on a woman’s skin. Added to that, some women also struggle with hormonal imbalances and menstrual cycle irregularities – adding to skin problems such as acne, dryness and flakiness, excessive facial and body hair.
So, what menstrual skin changes occur during your period? Are there special skin care tips for healthy, glowing skin at every stage of your monthly cycle? Here’s the lowdown on menstrual skin, and how to cope with it.
The Menstrual Cycle & Skin Changes
With the start of each monthly period and menstrual cycle, estrogen levels fall and tend to give your skin a dull, washed-out appearance. Then as if that’s not challenge enough, while you’re on your period, your skin is drier and more sensitive than usual.
But have the smartphone and selfie-stick ready for the days immediately after menstruation; because that’s when your skin is at its healthiest.
Then towards the end of the menstrual cycle, just before your next cycle and period begin, progesterone, testosterone and cortisol levels all go up, helping lead to excessive oil production and sending many women with acne-prone skin into an outbreak.
Menstrual Skin Care: What to do when?
For dull, flaky skin at the start of your period:
- Moisturize with gentle skin care products that help retain moisture
- Hydrate from the inside out by drinking plenty of water
- Eat healthy fats, such as avocado, nuts, and fish
For dry, sensitive skin during your period:
- Calm and soothe with gentle products containing Aloe Vera and chamomile
- Use only a lightweight moisturizer, since the roller-coaster that is your menstrual cycle will have you overproducing oil within a couple of weeks
- Improve circulation and nourish your skin with regular exercise
- Eat vitamin-rich foods, such as broccoli, almonds, and fruit
To maximize skin benefits immediately after your period:
- Go easy on make-up and let your skin breathe
- Consider a HydraFacial to extract pore-clogging, acne-causing debris from your skin
- Eat and drink foods rich in anti-oxidants, such as green tea
For oily, acne-prone skin in the premenstrual period:
- Cleanse with gentle products containing salicylic acid
- Exfoliate and moisturize with an oil-free moisturizer
- Eat acne-fighting foods and avoid greasy foods
All-in-all, it can be daunting, trying to maintain healthy, glowing skin at each stage of your menstrual cycle. But it is entirely possible, and worth the effort. Plenty of sleep, a healthy diet, regular exercise and some basic skin care; these are the first steps. They should lay a solid foundation for maintaining healthy, attractive skin throughout your menstrual cycle.
And if you run into a menstrual skin problem persistently pestering you that you just cannot seem to solve; it’s time to consult with your professional partner in skincare – hopefully one of our outstanding ed providers located across South-Central Florida.