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How your Skin Changes During the 4 Phases of the Menstrual Cycle
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How your Skin Changes During the 4 Phases of the Menstrual Cycle

Skin changes during your menstrual cycle can be rough! Keep reading to learn how you can support your skin throughout your 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 then you get “blessed” with period cramps. That’s not even all, as you probably also experience some not-so-pretty skin changes. 
So why does this happen? Well, let’s take a look.

It’s all about those hormones.    

During your monthly cycle, your skin can become affected by estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Hormone levels increase and decrease throughout your cycle, which can affect the way your skin looks and feels. 


This hormone dominates the first half of your cycle. It helps your skin produce more collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. These are all important factors that allow your skin to stay youthful. At this stage, your skin typically feels plumper and more hydrated.


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 which causes your pores to compress. This may lead to hormonal breakouts.


Testosterone becomes 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?    

The menstrual cycle is divided into 4 phases, each of which affect your skin differently: menstruation, follicular, ovulation, and luteal. You should adjust your skincare routine according to the phase you are in. 

The Menstrual Phase (typically days 1 – 6)   

During this phase, estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest. Lower estrogen levels means that your skin’s barrier function is compromised and your skin may feel less hydrated. Lower progesterone levels results in less oil production. Together, this can cause your skin to be drier and more dehydrated. 

Skincare Routine During The Menstrual Phase  

Hydration is key during this stage. Since your skin barrier function and hydration levels are at an all-time low, your skincare routine should include water-based products and you should regularly moisturize your skin 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, avoid harsh cleansers that strip your skin (not that you should use them normally). The last thing you want is to make your skin even drier.
A natural water-based retinol alternative face serum

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

Estrogen levels increase during the follicular phase and peak at the ovulation stage. Estrogen and testosterone levels eventually balance out and collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid become more active.

This means your skin barrier function will improve and your skin will become more hydrated. Since progesterone is still low, your skin should feel 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, simply focus on maintenance. A regular routine that includes a cleanser, serum and moisturizer should keep your skin looking a glowin'. And since your skin barrier function is at its strongest, it can tolerate and better optimize active skincare ingredients.  
Also, don't forget about your breasts. They need some attention too. 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 using a circular motion. 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 days 14 – 28)

Not gonna lie, this phase isn't known to be fun. Progesterone rises and causes your skin to become more oily. Your face might become puffy. And hello acne breakouts. Also, your scalp and hair may also get a greasy more quickly, so you may want to wash your hair more frequently.
A moisturizing shampoo for sensitive scalps next to a hair conditioner for sensitive scalps

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 your skin to handle.
A great ingredient you should consider is niacinamide. It helps regulate oil production, while also being suiable for sensitive skin. This ingredient can be found in our Aloe Milk cleanser. Also, consider using azelaic acid (found in our Face Foam) to help even out skin texture and brighten your skin tone. Ensure you properly cleanse your skin to get rid of excess sebum and prevent your pores from getting clogged. The combination of excess sebum and clogged pores are the main reason for acne flare-ups.
A soothing milk cleanser for sensitive skin next to a fragrance-free foaming cleanser for combination skin

Final Words   

Whatever stage of your cycle you’re at, the key is to listen to your 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
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