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How Your Skin Changes Throughout the 4 Phases of the Menstrual Cycle

How Your Skin Changes Throughout the 4 Phases of the Menstrual Cycle

Periods aren’t cute. Period. 
   
I know you know what I mean.
      
You go through about 16 emotions within a span of 10 minutes. And when it turns up a notch, and you get “blessed” with period cramps. Or when you’re just innocently showering, and you look down only to witness a murder scene. And that cute pair of white jeans you just bought? Forget them.
       
That’s not even all, as you’ll probably also experience some not-so-pretty skin changes. Just the cherry on top, you weren't looking!
      
So why does this happen?
Well, let’s take a look.

       

It’s all about those hormones.    

During your monthly cycle, your skin is impacted by estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These hormone levels will increase or decrease throughout your cycle, affecting the way your skin looks and feels. And depends on them, your skin will either become very dry or very oily. 
  

Estrogen

  
This hormone is very active and dominant in the first half of your monthly cycle. It helps your skin produce more collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. These are all important factors for your skin to stay youthful. At this stage, your skin typically feels plumper and more hydrated.
  

Progesterone

  
During the second half of your cycle, progesterone is more active. This hormone stimulates the production of sebum, making your skin more oily. Also, your skin will slightly swell up which causes your pores to compress. This may lead to hormonal breakouts.
   

Testosterone

   
Testosterone will become more active when estrogen and progesterone decline during menstruation. This hormone triggers your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Meaning? The excess sebum and clogged pores will give you more acne. Yay!
 
  

What Are the Phases of the Menstrual Cycle?

    
An average menstrual cycle will typically last 28 days. It is divided into 4 phases, and they all affect your skin differently: Menstruation, Follicular, Ovulation and Luteal. And depends on which phase it is, you should change up your skincare routine accordingly.
 

The Menstrual Phase (typically day 1 – 6)

   
During this phase, your estrogen and progesterone hormones are at their lowest.
A lower level of estrogen means that your skin’s barrier function is compromised, and your skin will become less hydrated. Also, less progesterone means there’s less oil production. 
  
Together, this combination will cause your skin to be drier and more dehydrated.
   

Skincare Routine During The Menstrual Phase

  
Hydration is key during this stage.
As your skin barrier function and hydration will be at an all-time low, your skincare routine should focus on adding more water content to your skin, as well as retaining all that water.
   
You should regularly moisturize with soothing and nourishing ingredients, such as ceramides, peptides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin. These ingredients will provide the moisture that your skin desperately needs.
    
Also, you should avoid harsh cleansers that can strip your skin of all moisture and natural oils (not that you should use them normally). The last thing you want is to make your skin even drier.
  

The Follicular And Ovulation Phase (typically day 7 – 14)

  
Your estrogen will increase during the follicular phase and peak at the ovulation stage. Also, your estrogen and testosterone levels will balance out. Factors like collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid will become more active.

This means your skin barrier function will improve and your skin ought to become more hydrated. Not to mention, progesterone is still low, so your skin should be moisturized without being too oily. You can say yay (for about a week).
   
  

Skincare Routine During Follicular And Ovulation Phase

Since this is the best stage for your skin to be at you can focus on maintenance.
  
A regular routine that includes cleanser, serum, and moisturizer should keep your skin looking a glowin'. And since your skin barrier function is at its highest, it can tolerate and better optimize active skincare ingredients.  

Also, don't forget about your breasts. They need some attention too... like a massage. Touching and massaging your breasts are good any time you want to connect with yourself. In case you didn't know, your breast tissue extends from the breastbone in the center of your chest all the way over to your armpits as well as below the collarbone midway down to your ribs.

Using a pump of our Intimacy Oil, massage your breasts in a circular motion, and don't hesitate to cover your whole chest. The more you do this the more connected you will feel to such an important part of your body!
 

The Luteal Phase (typically day 14 – 28)

Not gonna lie, this phase isn't known to be fun.
   
Your progesterone hormone should rise, and make your skin more oily. Your face might become puffy. And hello acne breakouts. Also, your scalp and hair may also get a little greasy so you may want to wash your hair more frequently.

matcha mint shampoohair smoothie
    

Skincare During The Luteal Phase

   
This is the time to really pay excellent attention to your skin.
Your focus should be on controlling oil production and treating acne breakouts. Also, since your skin is likely to be more sensitive than normal, beware of active ingredients that could be too potent for you to handle.
    
A great ingredient you should consider is niacinamide. It helps regulate the amount of oil on your skin, while being benign enough for even sensitive skin. Also, consider using azelaic acid (like in our Face Foam) to help even out skin texture and brighten up your skin tone.
    
In addition, make sure you deep cleanse properly to get rid of all the sebum and clogged pores. They are the main reasons behind your acne flare-ups.
   
Final Words
   
Whatever stage of your cycle you’re at, the key is to listen to your own skin and act accordingly. 
   
At any given time, your routine should include a gentle cleanser, a serum with active ingredients that target your specific skin concerns, and a moisturizer that suits your skin type.
     
If you need help picking out a product, we are always happy to help. Please email us at connect@graydonskincare.com and we’ll go out of our way to assist you!

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