While there is no escaping your endocrine system, it is possible to adapt your skincare regime to support your complexion during your menstrual cycle. In so doing you get to minimise the impact of these hormonal fluctuations.
Fear not, you don’t have to ditch all your skincare and start from scratch, as it’s more than likely that if you’ve taken our advice, your core skincare regime is geared towards protecting your skin and warding off premature ageing. However, what you will want to add are targeted buys that you can use as and when your cycle dictates.
Week 1As you say hello to your period in week one, you’ll be saying bye bye to oestrogen and progesterone, as levels fall to their lowest yet. Frustratingly, rather than being a welcome relief, this drop can leave you low in energy and your skin dehydrated and sensitised, with more visible fine lines and wrinkles.
This is where you’ll want to add an extra dose of hyaluronic acid into your regime to replenish water levels and plump fine lines and wrinkles. You’ll also want to swap to a lower strength retinol (or ditch it for three to five days) so as not to antagonise your sensitised skin.
Weeks 2 and 3The end of week two and beginning of week three see a rise in oestrogen – pores shrink and collagen production increases – hooray! “However, if that’s not the case and you find that you’re getting breakouts at this time, you may well be producing too much oestrogen,” explains Hormone Specialist Dr Sohère Roked.
Cue, some acne busting beauty buys – specifically an acid-packed on-the-spot treatment. Most will contain gold standard sebum reducing and clarifying ingredients zinc oxide and salicylic acid.
Week 4This is when you experience a major spike in levels of the hormone testosterone. This shift results in the skin’s sebaceous glands producing more oil, which can lead to blocked pores and breakouts.
This is the time to control sebum production, stave off spot-spawning bacteria, and slough away pore-blocking dead skin cells. Enlist the help of niacinamide aka vitamin B3 as some research suggests that this active reduces excess sebum production, and its anti-inflammatory properties quell redness from angry spots.
Tag team with azelaic acid, a gentle acid “that negates the effects of testosterone on the skin – one of the driving forces of acne – it is also anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial too,” shares Aesthetic Practitioner Dr David Jack.