1. Your cycle
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  3. Period

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Spots, Dry & Oily Skin: How Hormones Affect Your Skin Before and During Period

Your menstrual cycle has a lot to do with the appearance of your skin. We broke down the average menstrual cycle by phases to give you a better understanding of how these hormone surges affect our skin, and how to switch up your skin routine to make sure you’re nourishing your skin in the right way.

During the average menstrual cycle skin experiences different periods of dryness and oiliness. Your skin will be the most problematic during your period and a couple of days prior to it. This is when you can expect period-related pimples, spotting, and acne. All this happens due to the buildup of sebum underneath the surface, causing the appearance of oily skin.

If you were wondering what hormone causes oily skin, the answer is in the effects of multiple hormones. Hormones that fall out of balance, like progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone, affect the oiliness, and the appearance of the dry skin. 

Estrogen reaches a high and a low point during the menstrual cycle. It causes changes in the skin texture because it affects skin texture and thickness, as well as structural integrity and the balance of fluids. Changes in hormonal levels can cause acne, and progesterone plays a big role in this process. Progesterone causes breakouts as it closes the skin pores and induces larger sebum build-up underneath the surface of the skin. 

During the first days of your cycle, levels of such hormones as estrogen and progesterone are low. This causes dry skin and the dull, lifeless appearance of the skin, lines or wrinkles appear more obvious. Moisturizing and hydration are the best skin boosters during the initial days of your cycle. Hygiene during your period will help protect your skin from bacteria and possible skin infections.

During the first week of the menstrual cycle, estrogen which is essential for your skin is low. Aside from regular cleaning and moisturizing, your skin should require little maintenance and overall be in a good shape. 

If your skin issues during the period are more severe than what you perceive as normal, consult a dermatologist. There could be other underlying issues related to hormonal levels that need checking out. A dermatologist might suggest some examinations if they suspect that the problem isn't only skin related. They might also suggest a personalized list of skin care items along with the right ingredients when buying skin care products.

If you struggle with skin issues related to hormonal misbalance your best bet is to work with a dermatologist or a skin care specialist. They will help you find the right food and skin care products to gain a healthy, glowing skin. Here are some of the tips for keeping your skin beautiful and healthy during the most difficult time in your menstrual cycle:

  • Clean your face twice a day. Even if you normally don't have to use facial cleansers multiple times every day, you should consider doing it during your period. This is because hormone imbalance during your cycle will cause sebaceous glands go crazy. Sebaceous glands produce sebum — a natural oil. As your skin gets oilier, the more cleaning will it take to remove excess sebum. This will help to avoid pimples and menstrual acne from forming.
  • Use medication and supplements. A wide range of conditions and illnesses relate to menstrual cycle. These conditions also cause serious skin issues. Cystic acne and acne scars are only some of them. There are multiple types of medications your doctor might prescribe. You could receive hormonal treatment, different vitamins or supplements, and homeopathic remedies to ease the menstrual bloating, abdomen pain during periods, and skin issues. Using natural remedies is fine as long as you are not using them instead of prescribed treatment.
  • Cutting out sugars and carbs from your diet will help prevent breakouts.
  • Find the products that work for you best. For some women, cleansing wipes are a magical cure. For others, it is the blotting paper. Rely on lotions and other products aimed to nourish the skin to remove extra oils and keep pores clear.
  • Get facial treatments. Your local cosmetician could be very familiar with menstrual cycle-related skin issues and they might offer treatments, masks, massages, and other effective remedies.

During the follicular phase, which is the first 10-16 days of your menstrual cycle, estrogen levels slowly rise. Your skin will be ‘on it’s best behavior’, and you are also less likely to suffer from irritation what other issues. You will feel an emotional uplift because of the increasing serotonin levels.

As the estrogen levels rise, you should notice a healthy glow by the ninth day of the menstrual cycle. Between the tenth and thirteenth day of the menstrual cycle, estrogen will be at its peak.

This is also when testosterone levels will begin to rise. Your skin will be rich in natural moisture and collagen which will make your skin stronger and more elastic, so keep your routine simple with using only light moisturizers. 

Your skin will be in it's best shape during the follicular phase. Your regular daily routine should be enough to provide the nourishment the skin needs.

Day fourteen before your next menstruation starts is the day of your ovulation. Your skin will look its best during the next five days until testosterone and estrogen will begin to decrease.

Your progesterone levels will start to increase, which will overall result in the oilier skin. Estrogen, which reaches its peak levels during ovulation, gives your skin a healthy glow. 

The increase of the luteinizing hormone will make your skin prone to bacteria. Avoid going to bed with makeup during the ovulation period and pay more attention to the hygiene of your hands to avoid transferring bacteria onto your face. This could cause more acne.

  • Use oil-free skin care
  • Use light, water-based skin care products like face mists, sprays, light tonics, and micellar water (but don’t forget to wash it off your skin after using) 
  • Avoid using products that clog the pores; Look for products that have a "non-comedogenic" mark.

Premenstrual symptoms, aside from causing cravings for junk food and overall irritable mood, also cause uncomfortable skin changes. Some women don't find these hormone fluctuations during cycle difficult to deal with, while others have to adjust their entire schedule and routines around the menstrual cycle.

All of these drastic changes are due to hormonal imbalance that takes place before, during, and a few days after the periods

You should keep your skin care lighter during the premenstrual period and during your periods. Focus on hydration and avoid layering different products, especially if they are oil based.

Before and during the period, you might experience increased oiliness of the skin, as well as bloating and swelling throughout the entire body. This is due to water retention. Keep yourself hydrated and enrich your meals with more vegetables and foods to add more vitamins to your diet.

Luteal phase begins in the second half of your cycle, once your ovulation starts. Here are some skin care tips for the luteal phase:

  • Avoid processed and salty foods, snacks and foods rich in salt will cause more bloating, make your skin feel drier, and increase your breakouts. Also, avoid touching your face and resist picking blackheads, whiteheads acne or any other skin irritation that occurs.
  • Premenstrual symptoms are also known as PMS. The symptoms might include the nervousness, increased appetite, bloating, and breakouts, particularly in the area of the chin and around your nose. During this time it would be wise to avoid heavy makeup.
  • Being more devoted to the cleansing of the skin.
  • Focus on skincare products made to treat acne.
  • Cut-out inflammatory foods such as caffeine and find sugar.
  • Take supplements in order to prevent further skin issues.
  • Avoid using make-up whenever it's possible.
  • If you have to use makeup, go for a lighter, natural look, and particularly avoid using heavy foundations. Avoid layering multiple products such as highlighters, contour, and setting powders on to your skin.

Your menstrual cycle has a lot to do with your overall mood, energy levels, and the condition of your hair and skin. Feeling sick during periods isn’t uncommon. As your body prepares for the conception throughout the month leading up to the menstruation, your entire body is adjusting its hormone levels to producing a new and healthy egg.

As a result of the physical and physiological changes within your body, your skin might become either more dry or oilier. These changes trigger by fluctuating levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Learning to adjust your diet and skin care routines will help you keep your skin in great condition, despite intense hormonal changes.


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