Do we really need to adapt our skincare routine to suit our menstrual cycles?
Skin and periods - more related that you'd think.
We all know the importance of engaging in a solid skincare routine.
It's good for the day to day, it's good in the long run, it's good considering we've all had to wear masks on our faces for the past year and half leading to much acne, break outs, and general dry-ness.
Looking after your skin is crucial all year round, but as it turns out, there are certain times of the month when your skin may need a little more TLC - and it all depends on your menstrual cycle.
Of course, everybody is different and by extension, everybody's skin types are different too. While some of us may have the same skin no matter the stage of our cycle we're at, others may notice a difference whether their at the start, middle, or end of the month.
So, what's the story with your skin during your menstrual cycle?
As above, not everybody will notice changes in their skin during their cycle, but a lot of women will.
This isn't to say that all of us need to start buying new products, dumping our creams, and engaging in super specific routines that take up half of our evenings. In fact, just a few small updates could leave your skin feeling softer, firmer, and looking brighter all throughout the month.
You don't need to go splashing out on any new products either (in fact, dermatologists have argued against it), but an awareness of what's going on inside your body - and how your skin might be reacting to it - is never a bad thing.
What changes could I notice?
At the beginning of your period, your oestogren and progesterone levels drop considerably, which could lead to the skin becoming dryer and more prone to break outs.
Acne right before or during your period is nothing new, and if it's something you experience you'd be better off using gentle products on your face during this time - creams that are light, fragrance free, and focused on hydration.
What's more is that as your cycle progresses and you start ovulating (around day 14), your oestrogen levels are probably at their highest. This may mean nothing skin-wise for some people, or it could mean that you experience a boost of collagen and your skin looks super healthy. You're glowing, essentially.
After you finish ovulating, your body is going to produce more progesterone and something called sebum - an oily substance that could prolong that glowing look - or cause your pores to become clogged and lead to breakouts.
Dr Anjoli Mahto, a consultant dermatologist at Chelsea’s Cadogan clinic, told the Guardian that during the “second half of your cycle, you do tend to be quite progesterone- and testosterone-heavy, and that’s why a lot of people find their skin can get a bit oilier after ovulation and more spot-prone in the run up to their period."
As the month progresses and your egg travels along the fallopian tube waiting to be fertilised (whether it is or not is a different story). When your body releases the unfertilised egg, your oestrogen levels will start to drop again.
Some women feel more irritable during this time, in a state most commonly known as PMS. Here, you might feel bloated, you might want to eat more junk food, and of course, your skin might be more prone to breakouts, dry patches, and redness.
So, what does all of this mean?
It means that our bodies are constantly reacting to the environments around them, and what's going on inside them too. Whether you want to adapt your skincare routine or not is entirely up to you, but either way, it's always good to have an idea as to why our skin reacts in certain ways to certain things.
Dr Sweta Rai, a dermatologist at King’s College hospital, told the Guardian that although your skin can change at different point during your cycle, she generally wouldn't advise buying new skincare products to match.
“Periods in themselves don’t really give you anything to write home about. In the medical world,” she says, “we don’t generally advise different people on [different] skincare products during their periods.”
So, although it might be intriguing to know when and how things may be happening, it's probably not worth adapting your skincare routine to suit your cycle. In fact, companies encouraging so are likely simply engaging in a marketing ploy to sell more products.
Dermatologist Dr Shyamalar Gunatheesan told MamaMia: “Period tracking apps are one thing, but what ‘period skincare’ is trying to do is spin an entrepreneurial trend so you don’t use just one lot of skincare, but a whole lot of different skincare routines.
“I think it’s a bit over the top because there’s no scientific link to suggest a skincare routine can improve what your hormones are doing through the weeks.”
So if you're prone to some acne at the start of your period, that may just be the way things are. Throw on a face mask and relax - there's probably not much else you can do.