This Is How Your Monthly Cycle Affects Your Skin

Everyone knows that hormones impact skin over the course of your life – most commonly at puberty, during pregnancy, and with menopause – but they also affect your skin on a monthly basis too. 

You’re probably well too aware of the influx of breakouts that flare up just before your period starts – but did you know, your monthly cycle impacts your skin even when you’re not on your period? Ever wondered why you get seemingly random dry patches or those rare days where your skin looks ~perfect~? Well, it’s all tied up with your monthly cycle, too – and you should treat your skin accordingly… 

To get in tune with your body and help minimise breakouts, and we’ve broken down your skin’s monthly cycle for you. 

DAY 1-5 (YOUR PERIOD)

As if cramps, bloating, and fatigue wasn’t enough… You’ve been breaking out for a few days so your spots are out in full force and your skin is at its oiliest – you may even notice your pores appear more noticeable at this time. During this stage it’s important to stick to your regular routine and not change things up too much – just be extra diligent with removing your makeup and double-cleansing. Use cleansing masks to decongest your skin and targeted spot treatments to take down existing blemishes. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and avoiding greasy foods. 

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Try: Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion – This water-thin lotion is perfect for targeting existing and under-the-skin spots because it’s near enough invisible – so can be worn under makeup and layered with other blemish-busting products. It uses zinc and niacinamide to treat and heal, reducing redness and sensitivity in hours. 

DAY 5-10 (THE DRY STAGE)

Your period has finished and your skin has calmed down, but it’s now at its driest and can easily become dull, rough, and flaky. Reach for sheet masks, hyaluronic acid-based serums, and overnight hydration treatments to give your skin an extra hydrating boost. These will help to strengthen your skin’s barrier, which aids in attracting and retaining moisture so skin feels smoother and healthier. Avoid trying anything new or using active ingredients during this time – instead use products with calming, anti-inflammatory properties like cucumber and aloe vera. 

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Try: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – Each molecule of hyaluronic acid has the ability to hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. Apply this to damp skin after cleansing and before moisturising to boost the hydrating benefits of your other products. 

DAY 10-21 (THE HEALTHY STAGE)

As ovulation approaches, estrogen (a hormone) increases, which suppresses sebum production and boosts collagen, making skin appear fresh and glowy. For just over a week, your skin is at its brightest and healthiest – typically calm, well-hydrated, and breakout-free – now’s the optimal time to take selfies and wear minimal makeup. During this stage, blood circulation improves so ingredients absorb more efficiently into your skin – make the most of this and use active ingredients and antioxidant serums. Start to increase exfoliation around day 17 to help skin stay clearer in the next stage. 

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Try: Alpha-H Liquid Gold – Your skin is always naturally exfoliating itself, but this chemical exfoliant uses glycolic acid to ramp up the process, helping to wick away the last remnants of dry skin while keeping pores clear to prevent future breakouts. 

DAY 22-28 (THE PMS STAGE)

As your next period approaches, testosterone (a hormone) increases and kickstarts sebum production – a natural oil which can cause skin to have a greasy appearance and clogs pores, leading to whiteheads, blackheads, and breakouts. Once again, now’s the time to reach for clay-based masks and spot treatments – look for ingredients like charcoal and salicylic acid to help keep skin as clear as possible. This is the best time of the month to book a facial and get extractions. 

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Try: NIOD Flavanone Mud Mask – This deep-cleaning mask uses three different types of clay to decongest skin at three different levels (yet somehow doesn’t strip or dry skin out at all). It takes down blemishes straight away and leaves skin glowing.