As women, our bodies go through a lot every month. From ovulation, to PMS and menstruating, it might sometimes feel like you’re on a roller coaster ride. Our monthly cycle has an effect on just about every part of our body – physically, mentally, emotionally, and of course, our appearance.
Your menstrual cycle has a major effect on the appearance of your skin, and may be to blame for many of the skincare challenges you’re faced with every month. That’s because our hormones play a major role in skin health, and when hormones surge or fluctuate, it shows on your face.
While every woman’s cycle is unique to her, it’s worth examining a typical monthly cycle to understand how and why your skin might operate the way it does – and what you can do about it. It’s normal to experience ups and downs throughout the month, but with a targeted, good quality skincare regime and healthy lifestyle, it’s possible to enjoy healthy, great-looking skin throughout all stages of your cycle.
How hormones affect the skin
During a typical menstrual cycle, most women will experience bouts of dryness and oiliness. In general, skin becomes most “problematic” just before, and during one’s period. This is the time in which you may experience pesky hormone-related breakouts.
Oestrogen production may influence the skin’s texture and thickness and progesterone production plays a major part in the skin’s natural oil production. When these two hormones fluctuate, it has a direct impact on the skin.
Your cycle days 1 – 6
Due to low hormone production in the first few days of your cycle, your skin may feel dry or somewhat sensitive. This may make lines and wrinkles more noticeable. Apply plenty of hydrating products to counteract dryness, especially products containing hydrating hyaluronic acid. Try Biomedical Emporium HA Contour Masque (R1341.00), a rich formulation that helps increase the skin’s production of collagen and hyaluronic acid, reinstating the barrier integrity and providing long-lasting hydration. Skin is rejuvenated and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles is reduced.
Your cycle days 7 – 11 (follicular phase)
Oestrogen production increases and stimulates cell turnover. For many women, this is the time during which their skin looks and feels its best. This may be a good time to gently exfoliate skin to prevent clogged pores and to include a vitamin C product in your regime to increase radiance. Try Biomedical Emporium Skin Biotic C Cream (R1340.00), a nourishing moisturiser rich in vitamin C, that’s suitable even for sensitive skins.
Your cycle days 12 – 16 (ovulation)
Oestrogen peaks during ovulation, which may result in glowing skin, but you may also notice that your skin becomes a little oilier during this time. That’s because oestrogen and testosterone production slowly decreases and the production of progesterone slowly increases. If not managed, this may lead to the formation of breakouts. Now is a good time to follow a regime that encourages sebum control and to opt for oil-free formulas. If your skin is prone to breaking out during this time, try Biomedical Emporium Anti-Acne Serum (R834.00). Anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, this calming serum helps soothe irritation, reduce pore size and decrease excess sebum production, leading to clearer skin.
Your cycle days 17 – 28 (luteal phase)
During the luteal phase, progesterone reaches its peak, resulting in the skin producing a lot more oil than usual. You may experience hormonal breakouts during this time. This is a good time to use detoxifying products that draw out impurities and products containing salicylic acid to decrease redness and help existing breakouts heal faster. Biomedical Emporium’s Facial Cleanser (R540.00) is a fantastic cleanser to use all month as it contains spot-busting salicylic acid and deeply yet gently cleanses and provides light exfoliation without disturbing the skin’s barrier integrity.
Regardless of your individual needs throughout your cycle, everyone’s skin will benefit from following a fresh, healthy diet, cutting back on sugar and caffeine and cutting out smoking. Drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, exercise regularly and follow good skin hygiene (that means washing your makeup off every night and stop touching your face!).
Your monthly cycle may affect your mood, your energy levels and the appearance of your skin. As your body prepares for possible conception leading up to your menstruation period, plenty of hormonal changes occur, leading to fluctuating levels of oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone. Understanding your cycle is essential, as it affords you the opportunity to better treat your skin at its various stages and address concerns with the right products and ingredients.
About Dr Judey Pretorius
Dr Judey Pretorius is a highly accomplished Biomedical Scientist and product development specialist with substantial experience in the disciplines of acute, chronic and post-surgical wound healing, regenerative medicine and cell therapy. She holds a Master’s degree in Genetics and Molecular Biology followed by her PhD degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Medicine Development and Design. She has also obtained an Advanced Diploma in Dermal Aesthetics.
Dr Judey Pretorius gained extensive experience as a Research and Development Formulation Scientist. She was responsible for the Scientific and Biomedical formulation of therapeutic products of premium brands in respective disciplines. Her contributions included cosmeceutical, pharmaceutical and medical device developments.
She is the co-founder of Biomedical Emporium®, a biotechnology company specialising in the formulation of advanced biological products, cell culture processes and tissue engineering for advanced wound healing and an advisory on regenerative medicine. She has made unique formulation discoveries that have had a profound influence on the course of new developments in aesthetic and wound care treatment.