The female body undergoes remarkable transformations throughout the menstrual cycle, impacting not only internal bodily processes but also external appearances. One area that requires particular attention during this time is skincare. With fluctuating hormones, varying levels of hydration, and increased sensitivity, it is crucial to adopt a targeted approach to skincare during your menstrual cycle.
Sujata Pawar, Founder and CEO, Avni, a startup focused on holistic menstrual care, listed the dos and don’ts of period skincare.
The Menstrual Cycle's Impact on Skin Health
Pawar said, “To establish an effective skincare routine during menstruation, it is essential to understand the different stages of the menstrual cycle. Typically lasting 28 days, the menstrual cycle consists of menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase. These stages bring about hormonal fluctuations that can impact the skin, leading to issues, such as acne breakouts, heightened sensitivity, and dryness. By gaining insight into these changes, you can tailor your skincare regimen to effectively address these concerns.”
According to The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, perimenstrual, a huge number of adult women experience acne flare, which is a significant and common issue. Hormonal therapy might be a useful addition to the arsenal of treatments for women who experience hormonal breakouts linked to the menstrual cycle.
Dos for Period Skincare
Hydration: Quench Your Skin’s Thirst
Pawar noted, “During your menstrual cycle, hormonal shifts can lead to water retention and skin dehydration. Counteract this by ensuring optimal hydration.” Drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain skin moisture levels and support overall skin health. Also, incorporate hydrating facial mists or toners into your skincare routine to replenish and revitalise your skin.
Gentle Cleansing: Embrace Mild Formulations
In the menstrual phase, the skin tends to be more sensitive to inflammation. It is advisable to choose gentle cleansers that effectively remove impurities while preserving the skin’s natural oils. Pawar suggested opting for cleansers infused with soothing ingredients like chamomile or aloe vera, as they can help alleviate any potential discomfort during this time.
SPF Protection: Protect Your Skin From Harmful Rays
Irrespective of the phase in your menstrual cycle, safeguarding your skin from harmful UV rays is imperative. Protecting your skin from sun damage requires the use of broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Pawar added, “This is especially crucial because sun exposure can aggravate skin issues caused by hormonal changes, such as hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.”
Non-Comedogenic Products: Prevent Breakouts
Pawar highlighted, “During the luteal phase, sebum production tends to increase, making the skin more susceptible to breakouts. To prevent clogged pores and blemishes, opt for non-comedogenic skincare and makeup products. These formulations are specifically designed not to block pores, reducing the likelihood of acne flare-ups.”
Don’ts for Period Skincare
Harsh Exfoliation: Tread Lightly
While exfoliation is crucial for maintaining a healthy complexion, it is essential to avoid abrasive methods during your menstrual cycle. Pawar added, “The skin may be more sensitive, making it prone to redness and irritation. Opt for gentle exfoliation techniques, such as chemical exfoliants or soft exfoliating brushes, to slough away dead skin cells without causing undue harm.”
Overuse of Acne Treatments: Exercise Caution
During the luteal phase, hormonal fluctuations can lead to an increase in acne breakouts. Pawar said, “While it may be tempting to reach for acne-fighting products, exercise caution and avoid overusing them. Excessive application of harsh acne treatments can cause dryness and further irritate the skin. Instead, focus on gentle, targeted treatments and consult a dermatologist for personalised recommendations.”
Skipping Moisturisation: Nurture Your Skin
Regardless of the menstrual cycle phase, moisturisation should never be overlooked. Skipping moisturiser can disrupt the skin’s natural balance, leading to dryness or excess oil production. Invest in a lightweight, oil-free moisturiser that caters to your skin type and apply it diligently to maintain a supple, well-nourished complexion.
Touching Your Face: Minimise Contact
Throughout your menstrual cycle, it is crucial to avoid touching your face to prevent the transfer of bacteria and dirt, which can worsen the risk of breakouts. Cultivate a conscious habit of keeping your hands away from your face, and utilise clean tools like brushes or applicators when applying skincare or makeup products.
This article contains information provided by an expert, however, we advise you to consult with your expert for a diagnosis tailored to the specific needs of each menstrual cycle.