Being a girl has many benefits and beautiful sides, but every single one of us has complained about their period at least once in their life. More possibly, we complain every month. And like it isn’t enough to have the menstrual cramps, bloating, mood swings and weird cravings during “that time of the month”, another thing period brings us are skin changes. The hormones mess with our skin during the whole month, and whatever symptom you have, it does not look good. So, the list of things that can happen to your skin thanks to hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle is down below…
According to a research published in the Archives of Dermatology, 63% of acne-prone women experience them during the premenstrual period. This usually begins 7 to 10 days before the start of a period. This type of acne is not a matter of hygiene, it is all about the hormonal levels that shift during the menstrual cycle. At this point, your testosterone levels are actually higher than estrogen and progesterone, which causes most of your acne problems.
In order to get it under control or at least soothe your skin a little, there is something every girl should know. You can talk to you gynecologist about getting on birth control. Birth control pills work by increasing a protein called sex-hormone binding globulin (SHBG) in the blood. SHBG soaks up the free testosterone in the bloodstream that is the cause of acne. Your doctor may also prescribe you some medicine for lowering testosterone levels in case the birth control pills don’t work. And, of course, even though hygiene is not the cause, lack of it can make things much worse, so don’t touch your face too much, clean your phone regularly and avoid smoking.
Around the middle of your menstrual cycle, your progesterone levels will rise, which will stimulate the production of sebum. Sebum acts as a natural skin lubricant. It is a thick, oily substance, and for some women it causes the “healthy skin glow” while the others experience larger pores during this period.
There are some things that you can do to make your pores smaller or at least make them look smaller until the hormonal misbalance passes. First of all, as larger pores may also cause acne, do NOT pick or squeeze them. You know very well that that can lead to no good, just the opposite. Next, try using a cleanser or a lotion that contains salicylic acid, which will help clean the clogged pores. Protect your skin from too much sun, exfoliate it and you can also try rubbing a small block of ice on the affected surface. And, of course, don’t forget to wash off your make up before going to bed.
Skin is dryer than usual
While we are on our period, our estrogen levels are pretty low, which causes the skin to dehydrate. This is why during this time it is too dry. What you need to do is use more moisturizing products and try to help your skin get the care it needs before the estrogen levels rise and increase the amount of lipids on the skin. These lipids will prevent the water from evaporating from the skin and maintain its moisture. The estrogen levels are highest around the 16th day of your menstrual cycle and until the 20th.
To heal your skin during your period, get a rich moisturizer (oatmeal, shea butter, cocoa butter, glycerin, urea, and petrolatum are the most helpful ingredients for dry skin). Choose the one that works best on your skin – this may mean you have to try several different types. Use it consistently and even when your skin isn’t dry – this will stop it from getting too dry during your period in the first place. A useful tip: use the moisturizer while your skin is still damp, because it helps your skin seal in more hydration.
Increased sun sensitivity
The hormones that cause your pores to get larger and clogged also cause your skin to be more sensitive to sun and can cause red patches of skin. It goes without saying that you should always use sunscreen to protect your skin, but be even more careful about that right before and during your period. Combine good protection with good moisturizing in one product for the best outcome.
The female hormone, estrogen, increases skin pigmentation. This is usually only a mild change during your period, though, but it can be visible by the naked eye – on the parts of the body where the skin gets a bit darker, as well as on the areolae of the breasts and face. This will pass on its own soon enough, so just apply some concealer under your eyes to avoid the tired look.