menstrual cycle hormones skincare

Should you sync your skincare to your cycle? Here at Dr. Miriam A we think so!

Whether you sail through your cycle from one period to the next or are one of the *90% of women who suffer from premenstrual symptoms, hormones have a huge impact on our day-to-day health. From skin to sleep to energy levels, staying on top of your cycle is crucial to better understanding your body and maintaining your health.

Here we break down the phases of your menstrual cycle and share how to best care for your body, skin and mind.

hormonal changes through menstrual cycle chart Dr. Miriam A

The phases of your menstrual cycle

Women’s hormonal cycles are complicated. Compared to a man’s rhythmic production of Testosterone every 15 mins, women have a monthly cycle where not one, but several hormones journey through peaks and troughs. Oestrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone each ride their own wave throughout the month, bringing their own benefits and challenges.

Most women have been taught the bare minimum about how our hormones affect us. We track our cycles mainly to avoid messy situations in public and to plan (or avoid) pregnancy. But there’s so much more to how our cycles affect our bodies and skin.

Use your cycle to stay ahead of the curve, plan your skin care and get the best of your skin!

Firstly, it’s important to note that the menstrual cycle varies in length from one woman to the next. Then, it’s a matter of working out which phase you’re in to identify which hormones are at work and how they affect you.



Day 1-5: changes during menstruation

Rehydration. Anti-inflammatory support. Take it easy!

Day 1-5 of your cycle begins with your monthly bleed and marks the early follicular phase of your cycle. All sex hormones will be low. You may feel tired and sensitive, both physically and emotionally.

The skin is often drier than usual at this time and will benefit from a focus on skin hydration.

An at-home rehydrating skincare tip I love is to have a warm bath, then apply a hyaluronic acid serum on your face whilst still in the humid bathroom. This will draw water into the top layers of your dry skin, both from your deeper tissues as well as from the air around you. After 20 minutes, apply a rich emollient cream to seal that moisture within the skin crevices, followed by a thin layer of Vaseline or Shea butter or PawPaw to trap it in overnight.

With menstruation comes inflammation throughout your body, worsening symptoms of any chronic conditions and causing general pain. Rosacea sufferers may find their skin flare up a little. Focus on skincare with anti-inflammatory action, such as Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) and Azelaic Acid.

Treatments may feel more painful during this time, be it waxing, Botox, filler, or micro-needling. If you’re considering a challenging treatment, best to plan this in the next phase of your cycle.


Day 6-10 : Follicular Phase.

You look good. Regenerate your skin now.menstrual phase and skin dr miriam A

Now oestrogen is rising. This is the best bit. You start feeling good emotionally and more energised. If you have something in the works, now would be the best time to start a new project and do all your creative thinking.

Skin begins to look and feel its best….because it loves oestrogen! Your skin will feel more plump, firm, and hydrated. Because oestrogen stimulates your production of hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin, you can expect to see better skin hydration, thickness, and elasticity.

Choosing treatments that work with your rising levels of oestrogen will mean better results! Amplify your response with regenerative treatments that kick-start your fibroblasts into action, such as skin boosters, polynucleotides, or micro-needling.

Skincare should focus on collagen-building ingredients, like active Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids, such as lactic and glycolic acids).

Intermittent fasting at this time can boost your oestrogen levels even further and, if you can manage to leave 15-17 hours between dinner and breakfast (think early dinner, late breakfast), your cells will renew through the process of autophagy which makes your body more resistant to virus, bacteria and even cancer.


Day 11-18: Ovulation.

Get ready to…Cleanse, balance oil, and reduce inflammation. menstrual cycle skincare

Ovulation marks the end of the late follicular phase and the beginning of the luteal phase. In a 28-day cycle, ovulation usually happens on Day 14, though it may be sooner or later depending on the length of your cycle. Oestrogen has peaked and is falling quickly. Testosterone now rises with the release of the egg, fuelling some motivation of a HIIT class but also stimulating the skin’s sebaceous glands to produce more oil, so you may notice a few breakouts. Then directly after ovulation, all 3 hormones dip, so you may notice a drop in energy and mental clarity for a couple of days.

Your best skin may transition to become oily or even spotty.

Focus on cleansing and reach for your actives to balance your skin – keep the actives gentle and seek guidance from someone who knows!

Depending on your skin’s behaviour, you may benefit from a combination of the following skincare tips. Oil-free cleansers will lift sebum without clogging the skin. Assist your skin to exfoliate with AHAs and to unclog deep pores with BHA, salicylic acid. Reduce inflammation with azelaic acid. Control overactive oil glands with prescription-strength active Vitamin A. And calm the skin with niacinamide.

Be gentle on your skin and seek guidance.


Day 18-24: Early Luteal Phase.

Keep going. Cleanse, balance, and reduce inflammation. menstrual cycle hormones skincare

In the second half of your cycle, progesterone starts to rise and peaks six to eight days later. Oestrogen has its second peak, though levels are lower than progesterone at this time. Progesterone can cause oily skin, inflammation, and acne breakouts that may last until menstruation begins. It can also make eczema and chronic skin conditions worse.

Your oil glands may become over-productive during the luteal phase. Acne may follow due to excessive oil and dead skin cells blocking pores, causing bacteria to thrive and overgrowth, leading to inflammation and very angry spots, so it’s important to manage this through exfoliation and balancing oil production.

Continue your skincare focus on cleansing, balancing the oil glands, and reducing inflammation as advised for ovulation.

A great treatment to consider is resurfacing facials. You can book your treatment with us here.

Keep your stress levels down. Follow your intuition for calm evenings on the couch and allow yourself carbohydrate-rich meals. Don’t force yourself into long gym sessions or intermittent fasting. Stress hormones, like cortisol, will heavily blunt your progesterone production and disrupt your menstrual cycle! This is particularly important for peri-menopausal women who already have lower progesterone levels.


Day 24- 28: Late Luteal Phasepremenstrual skincare

Cleanse, balance oil, reduce inflammation and rehydrate.

After progesterone peaks, all 3 hormones drop in preparation for menstruation.

You may feel irritable. Your skin may still be suffering excess oil and acne breakouts but it will start drying up too, so take care to rehydrate your skin with hyaluronic acid.

Book your consultation here with Dr Miriam A.: Skincare Clinic appointments

women cycle skincare advice

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