I am sure this is something everyone with a menstrual cycle gets. Our skin changes throughout the month.
The adjusting hormones throughout the month bring times of great skin – flawless, plump. And times when our skin feels dry and flaky and times when we think you have used an entire bottle of oil on our skin.
So I have a question for you.
Why do we use the same skincare regime all month, even though we know our skin requirements are changing? Let’s look at the four phases of your cycle, how the cycle can impact your skin and essential oils to give a try to support the changes.
Menstruation (Days 1-5): Moisturise and Nourish
Day one of your period is day one of your cycle. Your body is producing more of a hormone called prostaglandin which causes contractions in the uterine walls during menstruation.
Oestrogen and progesterone levels both fall during the menstrual phase, though secretions of the former start to rise gradually halfway through the phase. The body temperature falls during menstruation, which slows blood circulation and metabolism, leaving the skin with a dullish appearance.
- Avoid exfoliating and waxing
- Focus on hydration – moisturise
- Use an anti-inflammatory raw honey mask to hydrate and calm any existing breakouts
- Keep your skin routine simple
Follicular Phase (Days 6-12): Maintain & Stimulate
Your ovaries have restarted production of oestrogen, increasing serotonin levels (the feel-good hormone) and improving your mood.
Your skin is likely to be a little dry and flaky at the beginning of your cycle, Drink plenty of water and increase healthy fats.
- Choose calming, soothing ingredients and avoid active facials and potent products
- Look for anti-inflammatory properties like green tea and aloe vera
- Use a vitamin C serum to restore a healthy glow without irritation
- Treat your skin to a creamy hydrating face mask to prevent dehydration
Ovulation (Days 13-16): Prevention
Oestrogen starts to rise, collagen levels boost, skin is thicker and more elastic creating a natural ‘glow’. The skin may have a better, more even tone, and feel firmer. Oestrogen plumps up skin cells and encourages the production of collagen. People don’t get spots at this time. This is the best your skin will look all month. Your skin is hydrated and smooth.
- Use a vitamin C serum to prolong your skin’s glow
- Now is the time to try new products since your skin is at its best
- Exfoliate with lactic acid or fruit enzymes to keep pores free from build-up
- Book a facial to deep clean pores before oil increases during Luteal Phase
- Exfoliate with lactic acid or fruit enzymes to keep pores free from build-up.
Natural vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant and protects skin from free radicals that damage skin cells and increase the onset of ageing.
Luteal Phase (Days 17-28): Calm Inflammation & Control Oil
Progesterone peaks which cause skin to swell and pores to tighten. An imbalance of testosterone can increase oil production, which gets trapped in tight pores, causing pimples to form.
- Cleanse with a gentle foaming cleanser or oil cleanser
- Use anti-inflammatory spot treatments like black cumin seed oil
- Use niacinamide (B3) serum to balance oil production and reduce inflammation
- Calm skin and breakouts with cooling clay masks
Essential oils are powerful supports for your cycle and used in skin care and these oils can assist to maintain and promote great skin (and moods too!).
Remember to track your cycle and note what works well for you