During our monthly cycles our hormones fluctuate and change a great deal with each phase. These hormone fluctuations mean that our skin has different needs during each of these phases. Here we are going to break down what your skin needs and when! This information is based on a 28 day cycle, but adjustments can be made based on the timing of your own cycle.
Phase 1: Menstruation: The menstrual phase is the first phase in the cycle. This phase can last anywhere from 1-7 days. During this time we have low progesterone, low estrogen, and high protaglandins. Low progesterone causes low oil production, low estrogen causes low skin barrier function (find more on the skin barrier here), and high protaglandins causes inflammation. The best way to care for your skin at this time is to moisturize and nourish using a moisturizer or serum that contains hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory ingredients. This would be a good time to avoid harsh exfoliants, and hair removal.
Phase 2: Follicular: The follicular phase is from day 7-14. During the follicular phase we have progressively increasing estrogen from days 7-11 until it reaches its peaks starting around day 12. This allows the skin to rebalance collagen and hyaluronic acid production. During this time our skin cells are turning over making it an ideal time to exfoliate to boost the benefits of this natural cell turnover. It's also a good time to maintain your nourishing skin care routine with antioxidants.
Phase 3: Ovulation: Ovulation occurs on day 14. Days 12-16 is when estrogen is at its peak. Our skin at this time is plump, glowing, and strong. But it's also prone to bacteria at this time as well. Keep skin plump with peptides and natural retinol alternatives, vitamin C, face oils, and facials. This is a good time for hair removal.
Phase 4: Luteal: The luteal phase lasts from days 15-28. During the luteal phase our progesterone levels are high. When progesterone is high our skin is oily, has reduced skin barrier function, and is prone to breakouts. Days 17-24 is a good time to use a clay mask to absorb oil, then days 25-28 use a salicylic acid wash to help prevent breakouts. This phase is a good time to avoid heavy skincare, heavy makeup, hair removal, harsh exfoliants, over moisturizing, and inflammatory foods. It's the time to use AHAs, to meditate, rest, and take zinc with vitamin D.
If you have noticed a vast difference in your skin, even though you use the same products everyday, then your skin is reacting to the hormone levels in your body based on the phase of your cycle that you are in. Keeping these tips in mind throughout the month can help you stay on top of your skin needs.