Do you find your skin changes during your cycle? Does acne get worse during certain times of the month? This can be attributed to the changing hormone levels throughout your cycle.
The hormonal acne cycle is something many of us struggle with. For most women, hormonal skin breakouts are as common as their cravings, bloating, and other PMS symptoms.
The first menstrual phase: Hydration & Nourishment
During the first phase the the cycle, the Menstrual phase from day 1-7 of your cycle, estrogen and progesterone hormones are very low. This can make the skin look dull, dry, and tired. Plus, the increased levels of prostaglandins make the skin feel more sensitive.
It’s a great time to focus on hydration and nourishment of your body and skin.
Avoid exfoliating and waxing, instead, opt for anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial face masks with green tea and raw honey. I love this homemade face mask; combine equal parts by weight of ground green tea leaf powder + honey + grapeseed oil (or coconut oil). Apply to a dry face and leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
The Follicular Phase Glow
The second phase of your cycle, which lasts from day 7-12 is called the Follicular phase. Once again, your hormone levels change and can cause Follicular phase acne. This is when estrogen levels are rising, leading to glowing & plump skin. Collagen levels also increase so skin is more elastic and resilient, you might notice fewer fine lines and wrinkles. To support your skin and prevent acne during the Follicular phase use a vitamin C serum to boost the glow, my favourite is Beautycounter’s Counter+ All Bright C Serum. This is a great time to try new products because your skin is more resilient.
Preventing acne during the Ovulatory phase
The Ovulatory phase from day 12-16 is when we want to focus on preventing acne which usually flares up during the next phase of the cycle. Estrogen and testosterone levels are at their highest and luteinizing hormone peaks, so we need to clean out the pores with a deep cleaning facial and exfoliation.
I use Viva Health Skincare Amaze Exfoliating Gel which is toxin-free, endocrine disrupter free, and only exfoliates the dead skin cells, leaving the healthy skin undamaged.
The Luteal Phase Maintenance
The last phase of the cycle is the Luteal phase (day 17-28). During this time progesterone peaks which causes pores to tighten. However if you have too much testosterone it can cause more oil production, which can get trapped in the tight pores, resulting in acne during the Luteal phase.
To support your skin I suggest cleaning with a gentle foaming cleanser, using anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial face masks and serums to prevent Luteal phase acne.
I am obsessed with Herbal Face Food Serums because they are packed with anti-microbial herbs to tackle any hormonal acne that comes up before or during your period. Plus the anti-oxidant properties in these serums help remove fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.
By: Janelle van Leeuwen BSc.