How to prevent period skin: skincare for your menstrual phases
Mensuration and Acnes....
We’re not going to lie, being a girl can sometimes suck. Periods, stomach pains, hormonal imbalances, we really have been given a lot to put up with and monthly spots or ‘period skin’ has to be one of the worst.
Hormonal acne is basically a sweeping term used to describe acne that is difficult to treat, cystic in nature, and has a connection to our menstrual cycle. Though some of us may feel at a loss on how to treat this type of acne, there are some key steps we can take to controlling it. The first, is to start noticing when you get acne, this is because despite all acne being hormonal, some are more integrally linked to our hormone cycle and can illustrate key imbalances. If you can pinpoint at what point in the month your breakouts flare-up, you can link this to your menstrual cycle and prevent them with a targeted skincare routine.
Though everybody’s skin is different, below we’ve listed some common ways to treat and prevent hormonal acne and banish period skin for good. Keep reading to find out how best to sync up your skincare with your menstrual cycle.
Before menstruation: do a deep cleanse
A lot of us are plagued by what’s known as The Period Spot. Usually defined by a raging cystic, or under-the-skin bump that turns up every month like clockwork, these types of spots usually occur just before we enter the menstrual phase of our cycle. This is the phase just before our period when are estrogen and progesterone levels suddenly drop and our testosterone levels reach their peak. This chaotic combination is reflected on our skin, with most of us experiencing increased levels of sebum, oil production and clogged pores that lay the groundwork for hormonal acne to appear.
To prevent this from happening, you’ll want to focus on clearing your pores which will allow for oxygen to flow freely through them so bacteria can’t cause problems. A deep cleansing pore mask, like the ones listed below, will work to draw out impurities, clean-away dead skin cells and clarify the skin.
During menstruation: Increased hydration
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The menstrual phase is when hormone levels decline quickly to their lowest concentrations. This often leaves our skin to become dry and dull toward the end of our period until estrogen levels kick up again as we restart the next stage of our cycle.
At this point in your cycle, you want to focus on deeply hydrating and nourishing products that won’t exacerbate any pre-existing acne. Look out for ingredients such as Hydralluonic acid, aloe or cucumber which will all hydrate and soothe without upsetting your skin’s delicate balance.
After menstruation: Focus on acids
The phase after menstruation is when our skin will begin to look its best with peak clarity and radiance. This is because at this point in our cycle we experience high levels of estrogen, which has a positive impact on the skin. Estrogen helps to improve the skin's barrier, increasing hydration and stimulating collagen and elastin production. Together, these factors mean our skin will be on its best behaviour, and with no new spots to treat, you can focus on healing pre-existing acne scars, dark spots and any areas of hyperpigmentation.
Look out for ingredients such as salicylic, lactic or glycolic acid that all work to penetrate deep into the skin’s surface and exfoliate away dead skin cells. With regular use, these products will work to lift discolouration, fade stubborn acne marks and prevent new ones from appearing.