Is monitoring your PERIOD the key to perfect skin? Expert reveals why you should change your skincare based on your menstrual cycle to zap breakouts and nurture a natural glow
- Hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle can cause acne, breakouts and dry skin, depending on the time of the month
- Before a period, progesterone increases, which can lead to inflammatory acne along with dry, sensitive skin
- On the contrary, when estrogen increases after menstruation, the skin can improve and become more hydrated and glowy
- Dr. Anthony Rossi, a New-York-based, board-certified dermatologist, told FEMAIL how to best manage these hormonal fluctuations for healthy skin
What if monitoring your menstrual cycle was the key to perfect skin?
Hormonal fluctuations before, during and after menstruation can cause a wide range of reactions, from breakouts to dry skin to the more agreeable estrogen-induced glow.
Adapting one’s skincare routine to these internal changes can help keep pesky pimples at bay while making the most of those healthy skin days. Here, Dr. Anthony Rossi, a New-York-city-based, board-certified dermatologist, tells FEMAIL how to best manage hormonal fluctuations throughout the month—and hopefully achieve healthy, radiant skin.
Fluctuations: Dr. Anthony Rossi, who works with the hormone-focused brand Knours (pictured), told FEMAIL how people can adapt their skincare routine to their menstrual cycle
First, a little biology refresher: hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle occur as the body prepares for ovulation, then releases an egg. Meanwhile, the uterus gets ready for a possible implantation of the egg by thickening its lining.
When the egg isn’t fertilized, the lining sheds, which is when a period occurs.
Throughout the cycle, levels of estrogen and progesterone fluctuate, which can have an impact—positive or negative—on the skin.
‘The period before shedding and bleeding occurs can include acne flare-ups and breakouts, mainly due to the preceding rise in progesterone,’ Dr. Rossi, who works with the hormone-focused skincare brand Knours, told FEMAIL.
‘When progesterone is high, one may experience inflammatory acne papules [small raised bumps] and pustules. Skin may also feel dry and sensitive.
Hormones: Throughout the cycle, levels of estrogen and progesterone fluctuate, which can have an impact—positive or negative—on the skin (stock image)
‘Estrogen on the other hand helps to promote the skin’s moisture retention and thus when estrogen levels are higher one may feel their skin more hydrated and luminous.
‘After menstruation, the rise in estrogen may coincide with improvements in one’s skin.’
Hormonal acne can be most prominent just before ovulation, when progesterone and testosterone surge. Breakouts that are due to hormones tend to appear on certain areas of the lower face, and can also pop up on the body.
‘Hormonally-induced acne is very common and classically appears along the chin and mandible [jaw bone], and can also occur on the back area,’ Dr. Rossi added.
‘There are usually red inflamed papules as well as pustules. These areas can also feel sensitive and tender.’
Being aware of these hormonal fluctuations and their effects on the skin makes it possible to use different products depending on the time of the month, so as to best meet the skin’s needs.
During breakouts, for example before menstruation, it is helpful to use products that will moisturize without clogging pores. Conversely, making sure the skin is nourished during periods of dryness (or after the period, when breakouts are typically less frequent) can help keep it in top condition.
Some steps can also help throughout the cycle, and people might want to monitor their own skin and reactions, since hormonal changes and their effect vary from one person to the next.
‘Using products that are not sensitizing or drying is helpful during your cycle,’ Dr. Rossi said.
‘It is important to not only cleanse the skin regularly but retain moisture throughout and being strategic about that helps. Knowing when you may break out is important to help as well. Using products that are non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging) are helpful when skin is acne-prone.’
New: Knours, a cosmetics brand that started in 2017 at Nordstrom, launched a range of products earlier this year with the goal of helping people adapt their skincare to their cycle
The cosmetic industry seems to be catching up on the importance of hormonal fluctuations and their impact on the skin.
Knours, a cosmetics brand that started in 2017 at Nordstrom, launched a full range of products earlier this year with the goal of helping people adapt their skincare routine to their menstrual cycle.
The line includes soothing products meant that be used during breakouts, as well as more nourishing formulas designed to give the skin a bit of extra nourishment when needed.
One of the most adaptive products is a dual-phased mist made up of an aloe-vera-based formula on the bottom, and natural oils on top.
People are meant to use it without shaking it during breakouts (usually prior to their period), as to spritz only the lighter formula on their face. Then, when the skin is not inflamed (after the period), they can shake it to moisturize their skin with the oils.
The brand also created an app for people to track their cycles and the state of their skin, so they can best adapt their skincare routine to their own needs.
In addition to hormones, other factors can cause breakouts or acne flare-ups—and being aware of them helps manage their consequences.
‘Acne is classically a cyclical disease where there are periods of flare-ups and improvements, so it is not surprising to have an acne flare-up at some points,’ Dr. Rossi said. ‘It is important to aware of triggers that can make your acne worse: hormones, stress, diet, or products.’
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