We all know from Biology that the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone, and their relation to testosterone levels, are responsible for our menstrual cycle. But their production levels in our bodies also influence the delicate balance of vitamins and minerals in our bloodstream, and cause our skin to change every few days of the cycle.
I am constantly asked for the ideal skincare routine by Elethea’s clients, and I always start by explaining that it depends on lifestyle (diet, environment and exercise), genetics and paying attention to your body over the menstrual month. As a guide, I’ve put together a skin diary for your menstrual cycle and recommended product types you should use at each point in the cycle to ensure the best and most accurate skincare routine.
Every girl should keep these tips in mind, so make sure you share the knowledge with your closest ladies!
Days 1-6: Menstruation
All sex hormones are at a low level during your period. Skin will be sensitive and at its driest. It may also look dull, and dark circles may look more intense.
Products to use:
- Facial oils – massage of the oils into the skin is especially important to promote circulation.
- Intense moisturisers – especially those with additional natural humectants like tamarind seed extract in the Elethea range. These should also be massaged into the skin.
- Regenerative resurfacing and gentle exfoliation treatments – especially those containing fruit enzymes.
- Products containing lightening and brightening ingredients like liquorice root extract, pumpkin seed oil, turmeric – found in Elethea’s Revitalising Fluid SPF30.
Days 7-15: The Rise and Peak of Oestrogen leading to Ovulation
As oestrogen levels begin to rise, the hormones attaches to cell receptors in the skin and promotes the production of glycosaminoglycans like hyaluronic acid in the skin, which allows the skin to keep hydrated by attracting water molecules and upholds the skin structure. Oestrogen also ensures the sebum remains thin, lightly lubricating your skin. Oestrogen has also been linked to higher Vitamin A concentrations in the bloodstream, but lower than usual vitamins B6, B12 and C, although more scientific research needs to be completed in this area. Skin will usually look its best at this time of the month.
Products to use:
- Facial oils with high Vitamin C content like rosehip oil or pumpkin seed oil.
- Nourishing moisturisers and fluids.
- Foaming cleansers twice daily.
Days 16-28: The Rise and Peak of Progesterone leading to Menstruation
Oestrogen levels fall after ovulation and progesterone levels start to rise and peak. Progesterone leads to a number of factors contributing to acne-prone skin: these include the skin having a higher than normal bacterial cell count, the skin’s pores are compressed, there is more sebum produced but it is not thinned and so can block the pores and also feeds the bacteria. The skin is irritable so it needs to be protected but not overwhelmed with products. Progesterone also interferes with oestrogen cell receptors so stops the low levels of oestrogen from having an effect on the skin. There are good levels of B vitamins and Vitamin C around this time.
Products to use:
- Acne sprays – these lower the bacterial count and stop the pores from becoming congested and inflamed. You can make your own in a 30ml spray bottle: 25ml distilled water, add 15 drops tea tree oil, keep refrigerated and use twice daily after cleansing. Sprays containing salicylic acid and glycolic acid are OK, but they are drying so be careful not to over dry the skin as it will start producing even more sebum in response.
- Fruit enzyme regenerative peels – to help unclog pores and resurface any toxins within the skin.
- Light moisturisers or fluids, and use plenty of SPF fluids since your skin is at its weakest.
- Products containing Vitamin A or its various forms.