The Hormonal Cycle of the SkinWomen's skin changes in accordance with the natural 28-35 day hormonal cycle. The hormonal cycle has 4 different phases where the levels of hormones change accordingly affecting the look of the skin.
The 4 phases
Days 1-7 - the menstrual phase
Tendency to break out
The first day of bleeding is day 1 of the cycle, where the hormones estradiol and progesterone are at their lowest, and testosterone levels can be dominating. Skin breakouts can be exacerbated at this time.
The body’s immune system also produces a hormone called prostaglandin which is responsible for contracting the uterus. At the same time it heightens our sensitivity to pain so the skin can feel more sensitive, spots can feel painful and the blood vessels dilate which increase redness of the skin.
Due to the lack of estrogen and low sebum production (unless cortisol is dominating), the processes of skin hydration are reduced causing skin to feel more dry and sensitive, so lines and wrinkles can appear more pronounced.
The body temperature drops, as does the metabolism, which decreases the blood circulation making the skin look more dull and grey.
Calmlish beauty hack
Increasing your face yoga and Gua Sha practise during this period will be very beneficial. You'll find our selection of Gua Sha HERE
How to support your skin during the menstruation phase:
- Drink lots of water, herbal tea, juicy vegetables and add 1 tablespoon healthy fats with every meal and 1 tablespoon lecithin granules to keep the skin plump.
- Eat foods rich in chlorophyll which is Natures plant blood. Cooked greens contain lots of minerals including magnesium which is necessary when menstruation to reduce cramps and cravings.
- Supplement with magnesium or take a bath with Epsom salt if you suffer from cramps.
Days 8-14 - the follicular phase
In the follicular phase the ovaries start producing estrogen, which affects skin through increased collagen and hyaluronic acid production, making the skin plump, firm and hydrated. Estrogen receptors are also found within the capillary walls and dilates them which increases blood flow, nutrients and oxygen.
How to support your skin during the follicular phase:
- Eat 1-2 tablespoon probiotic/fermented vegetables with each meal to reduce inflammation.
- Avoid gluten in this phase if you feel inflamed.
Days 13-14 - the ovulation phase
Estrogen reaches its peak at this time and testosterone levels increase too. High on hormones your skin will be glowing at this time.
How to support your skin during the ovulation phase:
- Drink a large glass of water with a pinch of sea salt and a 1sp of fresh squeezed lemon first thing in the morning, preferably followed by a cup of nettle tea, to cleanse the skin from within.
- Ensure enough fibre daily to detox used hormones.
- Drink a daily turmeric latte to help the liver detox used hormones.
Days 15-28 - the luteal phase
There are several skin scenarios in this phase depending on the balance between estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
After ovulation the estrogen levels drop along with testosterone. From day 16.17 the corpus luteum starts producing large quantities of progesterone and a small amount of estrogen, which can make the skin more oily.
If pregnancy happens, the rise in hormones will continue and skin symptoms could be anything from dry to oily to acne or pigmentation or sensitivity.
If pregnancy does not occur, estrogen and progesterone levels reach their peak around day 19-22, after which they start to decline. At this point testosterone may become dominant.
How to support your skin during the luteal phase:
- Get sweaty! Exercise, sauna, Epsom salt baths etc help cleanse the skin from within.
- Drink a cup of strong nettle infusion daily, again to help purify the skin.
- De-stressing rituals such as Gua Sha and face yoga.
- Avoid harsh facials, chemical peels and scrubs during this phase as the skin will be more sensitive and reactive.