Menstruation occurs if there is no implantation of an egg on the uterine wall. This leads to a drop in the hormone levels of progesterone and oestrogen, both of which have the effect of stabilising the lining of the wall. The drop in the levels of the hormones lead to uterine wall shedding, which causes the bleeding associated with menstruation.
There is also a small increase in testosterone at the end of your cycle, right before your period starts. Another hormone called prostaglandin is also secreted from the uterus during this time, and it causes contraction of the wall (leading to cramps).
All of these hormone changes have a massive impact throughout the body, especially on our skin. Low oestrogen will make your skin dry and dull. Prostaglandin causes inflammation in the skin, and can contribute to acne breakouts, redness, and an uneven skin tone.
This is exacerbated by the relatively high level of testosterone and increasing progesterone levels right before your period, which makes your skin oily. Fluctuations in oestrogen and progesterone can also lead to the retention of salt and water in your body, which causes the bloating that is associated with periods.
The link between the menstrual cycle and our skin is one not to be ignored which is why the following treatments should be avoided while you are menstruating…
Facials and chemical peelsBecause of the increased sensitivity of your skin and its propensity to undergo breakouts during this time, we usually suggest avoiding facial treatments or chemical peels. Your skin will be feeling delicate, and it’s possible you could actually trigger or worsen an existing flare up.
Alternatively, having a chemical peel 10 or so days before your period could help prepare your skin for the fluctuations in hormones you are about to experience, and protect against a breakout. Additionally, the best time for a hydrating facial is right after your period has finished, when hormone levels have stabilised and your dry, dull skin could benefit from the extra boost.
Laser hair removalIncreased skin sensitivity is a reason why we also suggest avoiding laser hair removal while you’re on your period. It’s not that the treatment will be less effective, but it might be less comfortable for you.
There might also be a chance of suffering from a reactive rash thanks to the increase in skin sensitivity brought on by the fluctuation in hormone prostaglandins. Instead, schedule any hair removal appointments for after your period has finished.
Fat freezingFat freezing treatments like Coolsculpting are increasingly popular treatments, and patients often want to know if it is safe to get their procedure done during their period. Coolsculpting works by freezing the fat cells, which are more sensitive to temperature changes than other cells in your body.
While it is perfectly safe at any point in your cycle, increased sensitivity and propensity to bloating may make you consider rescheduling. Some common side effects of the treatment are tenderness, swelling and bruising, which may not be ideal if you are already suffering from menstrual cramps.
Also, most follow-up appointments occur at least a month after your first procedure, so if you suffer from bloating with your period already, this can make it more difficult to accurately track your progress. Bloating can also be associated with pre-menstrual syndrome, so the best time to schedule a Coolsculpting treatment may be in the first half of your cycle, right after your period has finished.
Ultrasound lipolysisThis is one treatment that is not recommended on the abdomen when you are menstruating. The procedure works by using ultrasound to break apart fat deposits in your body, liquifying the fat cells and letting them absorb and disperse naturally in the body.
Ultrasound can increase the blood flow and is not recommended during your period, as it can result in experiencing a much heavier period, which can be uncomfortable. So, the best time to schedule this is after your period has finished.
Emmaline Ashley, Aesthetic Doctor
I'm Dr Emmaline Ashley, the founder of Ashley Aesthetics. I'm passionate about beauty, wellness and science. I wanted...Book with Emmaline Ashley