The menstrual cycle is a natural and essential process that occurs in the female body to prepare for a potential pregnancy. While menstruation is primarily associated with changes in the reproductive system, many women also experience various skin issues throughout the different phases of their menstrual cycle. These skin problems can be attributed to hormonal fluctuations during each phase, and knowing them can help you take care of them in the right way.
To discuss skin problems during a menstrual cycle and tips on how to manage them effectively, Health Shots got in touch with a Dr Urvi Panchal, MBBS, MD-Dermatology, Dermatologist, Cosmetologist, and Hair Transplant Surgeon, who revealed that different phases of a menstrual cycle affect the skin in different ways.
“Hormonal fluctuations during different phases of the menstrual cycle can give rise to a range of skin issues, making it crucial for women to understand and navigate this connection,” reveals the expert.
Impact of menstrual cycle on skin
Here are 4 phases of a menstrual cycle and their impact on your skin:
Phase 1: Menstruation
The onset of menstruation marks the shedding of the uterine lining, which lasts approximately 3-7 days. Dr Panchal says, “During this period, hormone levels, especially estrogen, and progesterone, are relatively low, which can trigger acne breakouts, leading to the appearance of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.” In addition, skin sensitivity is also common in some women, making the skin more prone to irritation and redness.
Tips to manage skin problems during periods
- Use a mild cleanser and avoid harsh exfoliants during this time to reduce skin sensitivity.
- To address acne, use targeted spot treatments containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
- Keep the skin hydrated with a light, oil-free moisturizer.
Phase 2: Follicular phase
Post-menstruation, women enter the follicular phase, which spans ovulation. Due to an increase in estrogen levels, the skin starts getting better and more radiant. The follicular phase occurs just after menstruation and lasts until ovulation. During this phase, estrogen levels gradually rise, stimulating the maturation of ovarian follicles. Common skin problems during this phase include dryness and skin that appears dull and lacks radiance.
Tips to manage skin problems during follicular phase
- To boost skin hydration and avoid such skin issues, invest in moisturizers and serums that contain hyaluronic acid.
- Gentle exfoliation is a must! Add this step to your skincare routine to remove dead skin cells and promote a radiant complexion.
Phase 3: Ovulation
Dr Panchal says, “Ovulation, the midpoint of the menstrual cycle, marks the release of a mature egg from the ovary. Hormone concentrations rapidly shift during this phase. The surge in estrogen levels keeps the skin looking vibrant and healthy, while progesterone takes a back seat. Due to this, your skin may suffer increased oiliness, which may exacerbate acne breakouts.”
Tips to manage skin problems during ovulation
- Use oil-absorbing sheets or blotting papers to manage excess oil throughout the day.
- Opt for lightweight, oil-free moisturizers and makeup to prevent clogging of pores.
Phase 4: Luteal phase
The luteal phase is the period between ovulation and the start of the next menstrual cycle. In the luteal phase, if fertilization does not occur, hormone levels rapidly fluctuate. Estrogen levels drop and progesterone surges, leading to dull skin, acne breakouts, and sensitivity. It happens due to increased sebum production and pore-clogging during this phase.
Tips to manage skin problems during luteal phase of menstrual cycle
- Ensure to cleanse the skin thoroughly but gently to remove excess oil and impurities.
- Look for skincare products containing ingredients like green tea extract or niacinamide to reduce inflammation.
It’s essential to remember that every woman’s body is unique, and the severity of skin problems during the menstrual cycle may vary. If skin issues become persistent or severe, consult a dermatologist to manage them effectively.