Period skincare: Which products to use and when during your cycle

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·Contributor
·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Dr. Shreya Andric is a dermatologist based in Sydney. She is passionate about skin health and her mission is to educate the public on how to care for their skin, and also clear up the vast amount of misinformation out there on this topic.

While Dr. Andric has independently chosen the products that appear in this article, she does not receive revenue from the links. Some of the links may return revenue to Yahoo Lifestyle Australia.

Dr Shreya Andric is a Sydney-based dermatologist on a mission to educate people on how to look after their skin. Photo: supplied.
Dr Shreya Andric is a Sydney-based dermatologist on a mission to educate people on how to look after their skin. Photo: supplied.

Hormones can have a significant impact on women's skin throughout their lifetime. Fluctuations in hormone levels can cause different skin concerns during your period, pregnancy and menopause.

Here, I break down the various changes that can happen and what you can do to offset some of these changes.

Hormones and skin

Firstly, let’s look at the specific hormones that can impact our skin’s health:

Estrogen

Estrogen helps to stimulate collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid production. These are responsible for skin firmness and hydration.

Inflamed acne consists of swelling, redness, and pores that are deeply clogged with bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells. Photo: Getty Images.
Hormones can have a significant impact on women's skin, explains Dr. Shreya Andric. Photo: Getty Images.

RELATED:

Progesterone

Progesterone works to stimulate production of sebum from the oil glands in the skin. It can cause the skin to swell, and minimise the appearance of oil. On the flip side, too much of it can result in oil buildup.

Testosterone

Testosterone typically presents during menstruation. It works similarly to progesterone by activating the oil glands.

Menstrual cycle

Your skin’s appearance can change depending on where you are at in your menstrual cycle. If you are able to track which phase you’re in, you may be able to better predict how your skin will react and modify your skincare accordingly.

Day 1-6

During the first few days of your cycle, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels are low. As a result, your skin may appear drier and duller. While the exact cause is unknown, it has also been found that women tend to report more skin sensitivity during this part of their cycle.

Opting for more hydration in the form of the right moisturiser can keep your skin feeling refreshed. You may also want to avoid any procedures like waxing that could irritate your sensitive skin.

$20.99 $29.99 at Chemist Warehouse

Elucent Even Tone Exfoliating Cleanser 150g. Photo: Chemist Warehouse.
Elucent Even Tone Exfoliating Cleanser 150g. Photo: Chemist Warehouse.

Day 7-11

At this phase, estrogen production is just beginning which can promote healthy cell turnover. To help slough off dead skin cells and reveal the healthy skin cells underneath, use a gentle exfoliant. Check out my guide to physical and chemical exfoliants here.

Day 12-16

Estrogen reaches its peak at this stage, right before ovulation, which means your skin is going to look its most healthy and glowing. No need to overdo it with products or treatments during this stage.

Day 17-24

During this phase, estrogen levels drop and progesterone reaches its peak. This means you may be more prone to oil build-up and potential breakouts. This may be a good time to have a facial to draw out impurities that can help ward off potential blemishes.

Day 25-28

Just before your period, testosterone production takes over and can lead to the common period breakout. During this time, opting for a salicylic acid to fully cleanse the pores and kill bacteria may help.

$9.69 $13.99 at Chemist Warehouse

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash 175ml, $9.69 from Chemist Warehouse. Photo: Chemist Warehouse.
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash 175ml, $9.69 from Chemist Warehouse. Photo: Chemist Warehouse.

Pregnancy

During pregnancy, your body, including your skin, goes through many changes. Levels of oestrogen and progesterone are elevated. These hormones are believed to contribute to the skin condition melasma, which affects 50-70% of pregnant women.

Melasma is characterised by dark brownish patches that typically develop on the skin around the forehead, nose, upper lips, or cheeks. Similarly, this hyperpigmentation caused by hormones may also cause existing moles, freckles, or birthmarks to change colour.

There is no definite way to prevent melasma, but you can reduce flare-ups by limiting sun exposure and protecting your skin by applying sunscreen daily (and reapplying every 2-3 hours). Azelaic acid and glycolic acid are safe to use during pregnancy and are helpful in treatment of melasma.

$139.05 at Adore Beauty

SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight 50ml, $139.05 from Adore Beauty. Photo: Adore Beauty.
SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight 50ml, $139.05 from Adore Beauty. Photo: Adore Beauty.

Sometimes these patches will fade within three months post-pregnancy once your hormones resettle, however they can persist. If so, it is worthwhile seeing your dermatologist to discuss options.

Menopause

Estrogen levels decrease during menopause. This results in reduced production of collagen which can lead to facial volume loss, a decrease in skin thickness, and ultimately facial sagging and wrinkles. Many women report a sudden onset of skin ageing several months after menopausal symptoms begin. Hormone replacement therapy has been shown to increase epidermal hydration, skin elasticity, skin thickness and also reduces skin wrinkles.

Having a good skincare routine including regular application of sunscreen as well as use of topical retinoids and antioxidants will also help to minimise collagen loss.

$14.39 $17.99 at Chemist Warehouse

CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream 177ml, $14.39 from Chemist Warehouse. Photo: Chemist Warehouse.
CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream 177ml, $14.39 from Chemist Warehouse. Photo: Chemist Warehouse.

Skin dryness certainly increases during menopause, not only on the face but the body too. Moisturisers containing ceramides will help the skin to retain moisture and keep the skin hydrated and soft. Having short (3-5 minute), cool showers with a soap-free wash will also prevent the skin from drying out.

Estrogen has also been found to be protective against “photoageing” (ageing of the skin secondary to ultraviolet light). Another reason why it is can protect the skin from UV exposure.

As can be seen, changes in hormones can have a significant impact on your skin health. By understanding what is happening during each stage, you can adjust your routine accordingly.

Never miss a thing. Sign up to Yahoo Lifestyle’s daily newsletter.

Or if you have a story idea, email us at lifestyle.tips@yahooinc.com.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting