Period Skincare Routine: Understanding Your Skin
Featured Image by Felicia Lee

Being on your period is rough. Besides the cramps, insatiable cravings and mood swings, you have to make sure you don’t bleed through your pants…at work! It’s a difficult “period” of time, made worse by severe acne. This is why you should create a period skincare routine.

What’s a period skincare routine?

A period skincare routine is a regimen to keeping acne under control throughout the menstrual cycle. Period skincare is personal and can differ from person to person. It’s tempting to go full throttle on your 10-step skincare routine. But this is the time to condense your products to make sure they are working for you, not against you. To build the perfect routine, you need to understand the different phases of the menstrual cycle and how they affect your skin. This will help you determine what products to use and when.

How does my period affect my skin?

The first thing you need to understand about your menstrual cycle is that it is more than the period (week of bleeding). On average, the menstrual cycle is approximately 28 days from the start of your period to the day before your next period. During these 28 days, your body will go through four phases: menstruation, proliferative, ovulation and luteal. The levels of the female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, will rise and fall throughout your cycle causing changes to your skin.

The menstruation phase (First seven days)

Menstrual Cycle Hormone Graph

The menstruation phase is typically the first seven days of your cycle. This is the week your uterine lining is shedding itself (a.k.a the period). During this time, both the estrogen and progesterone hormones will stay low, resulting in your skin clearing up. However, smaller, less aggressive pimples may appear. The skin also tends to look dry and dull so this is the perfect time to stick to soothing and hydrating ingredients for your routine. You can look for ingredients like:

Here are some calming and gentle products to incorporate during this week of your period:

The proliferative phase (Day 8-13)

The proliferative phase is the second week of the menstrual cycle. During this phase, your uterine lining will start to rebuild itself and the estrogen levels will peak right before ovulation. Estrogen helps promote collagen production which results in bouncy and bright skin. Cell regeneration is also at its peak which helps get rid of the dead skin cells. This is the perfect time to use gentle chemical exfoliants such as your BHAs and AHAs to support skin cell regeneration. You can look for ingredients like:

  • lactic acid
  • glycolic acid
  • mandelic acid
  • salicylic acid
  • retinol

Remember to carefully read the instructions on how often to use your chemical exfoliants so don’t damage your skin barrier. Check out these gentle chemical exfoliants for radiant skin:

The ovulation phase (Day 12-14)

The next phase is ovulation, which occurs on days 12-14 in the menstrual cycle. Ovulation can last between 12 to 24 hours and only occurs once every cycle. This is when the egg is released from the ovary and is ready to be fertilized. The rise in estrogen during ovulation will brighten up your skin. However, progesterone levels also start to increase causing oily skin. This is a good time to balance gentle exfoliants with soothing ingredients to help prepare for the next phase.

These soothing products will help keep your skin glowing and hydrated:

The luteal phase (Day 15-28)

Just when you think you are out of the woods, in comes the luteal phase, commonly known as the premenstrual phase. Estrogen levels will start to fall and your progesterone levels will increase. This will also cause an increase in sebum production. Unfortunately, increased sebum production leads to clogged pores which cause acne. This is when you will start to experience breakouts or deep cystic acne. Focus on products with active ingredients to prevent and fight acne such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Make sure to incorporate calming and hydrating products as these ingredients can dry out your skin. A pimple patch is also great for soaking up excess sebum and keeping your finger from squeezing that zit.

Check out these products to help control inflammation and breakouts:

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For more information about Skincare During Your Menstrual Cycle, Check out the full video:

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