Skin And The Cycle –– How Your Hormones Affect The Way Your Skin Behaves

What to expect…when you’re not expecting!

Ever had an uninvited pimple that popped up at the most inopportune time? Or how about just before your period? Getting a pimple right before Aunt Flo pays a visit is like receiving a distress signal before a flood –– you know it’s coming, just don’t know when. You’ll notice that your skin often hosts multiple personalities –– at times it’s cooperative and gives you that glow you always desired, and there are other times where it proves to be a rebellious teenager, just waiting for the right moment to make you look bad in front of others. And who’s to be blamed? Your fluctuating hormones, of course.


How often do you notice your skin type oscillating between being dry and super oily? Dryness and oiliness often occurs due to an imbalance in the hormones including progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen. During your cycle, estrogen levels swing between high and low and that’s what impacts your skin’s texture, while progesterone causes excess buildup of sebum production, it also closes your pores and traps in all the gunk, resulting in breakouts.

Basically, your hormones are the main lead in all four acts of your menstrual cycle. And in order to understand why your skin behaves the way it does during your menses, you’ve got to figure out what’s going on in each phase and how to treat your skin accordingly. It’s the domino effect, isn’t it? Your menstrual cycle impacts hormones, your hormones impact your skin. That’s why it’s imperative to listen to what your hormones are saying, so that you can save your skin.

ACT 1 – The Menstrual Phase

What to expect – Dry & dehydrated skin

The first couple of days of your menstrual cycles hormones estrogen and progesterone are at its lowest, resulting in dry and lifeless skin. This is the point where your skin looks like it’s aged a couple of years, with fine lines and wrinkles appearing more glaringly. No hydration equals dull and dry skin.

How to treat your skin

Tip 1 – Cleanse your face, both in the AM and PM. Avoid harsh cleansers that’ll dry your skin out. By doing so you’re forcing your skin to produce more oils, resulting in acne.

Tip 2 – Avoid anything that can cause your skin to break out during this time. Sugar and carbs are a no-no!

Tip 3 – Consume loads of plant proteins

Tip 4 – Consume loads of water in order to maintain your skin’s elasticity

ACT 2 – The Follicular Phase

What to expect – Clear, glowing skin

This is the time when your skin is on its best behaviour –– you’ll actually find yourself glowing during this phase. All your hormones are in check. Estrogen and progesterone levels start rising and this impacts your natural moisture and collagen production. More collagen means tighter, glowing skin without even making the effort.

How to treat your skin

Tip 1 – All you have to do is sit back and relax! Your normal skincare routine paired with a light moisturiser is enough to maintain that glow during this phase.

Tip 2 – Think less is more! Keep the makeup at minimal to retain that natural glow.

ACT 3 – The Ovulation Phase

What to expect – Clear, glowing skin, then excess oil production

Around 14 days into your menstrual cycle you ovulate. During this period, you will experience the same glow that you did earlier, as estrogen levels are at their peak –– until testosterone and estrogen start plummeting down again. This phase will also trigger your progesterone to rise, resulting in more oil production.

An increase in your luteinizing hormone levels is also expected during the end of this phase. This causes your skin to be more susceptible to bacteria and bacterial growth –– and poor hygiene during this phase will result in breakouts.

How to treat your skin

Tip 1 – Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face to prevent any transfer of bacteria on it.

Tip 2 – Try using oil-free skincare products during this time.

Tip 3 – Look out for non-comedogenic products.

ACT 4 – The Luteal Phase

What to expect – Oily & acne prone skin

This happens due to your raging hormones and the constant fluctuation in their levels. Progesterone increases, estrogen decreases and then slowly rises along with the former. And then around the 22-24 day mark, both tend to drop,

This premenstrual phase is what triggers those mood swings and unhealthy eating habits. It’s also the same phase that brings on Aunt Flo’s unexpected visitor –– the big bad pimple. Before your period and slightly into it, you’ll find your body feeling bloated and your skin feeling super oily and prone to breakouts.

How to treat your skin

Tip1 – Avoid salty foods that’ll aid in water retention and cause your face and body to bloat, feel dry, and cause pimples.

Tip 2 – Prevent touching your face during this phase to avoid bacterial contamination.

Tip 3 – Use skincare products that target acne.

Tip 4 – Cleanse your skin thoroughly. During this phase you want to steer clear of heavy makeup that can clog your pores. And always remove your makeup before sleeping!

Steering your way through your menstrual cycle can be a little tasking, no matter how old you are. Since your hormones experience a raging party all through the month, it’s bound to have an impact on your skin. By understanding what your body and skin requires during each phase, you’ll be able to predict and impede those pesky pimples –– Aunt Flo will not be bringing a plus one to this party anymore.

Also Read:

Late period? 10 reasons why and how to deal with them

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