Did you know that your period can affect more than your mood? Sure, it can make you tired, constantly hungry, sometimes achy, but it can also affect how your hair and skin acts. Today, we will discuss the different phases of your period, how your hormones fluctuate, what changes you can expect and some skin care suggestions for dealing with the changes.
What changes to your hair and skin can you expect on your period? During your period, you can expect your hair and skin to produce more oil. Increase in oil production can lead to acne flare ups, inflammation and increase in blackheads. Your skin and hair follicles can be more sensitive and more prone to irritation.
Let's start by looking at the different phases of your period and how your hormones are fluctuating.
Different Phases of Your Period
Note: The number of days in each phase varies from person to person. Average period can last anywhere between 5 to 7 days.
The follicular phase begins on the first day of your period. During this time levels of estrogen and progesterone are low. Estrogen and progesterone are your primary hormones that help regulate your period.
This phase lasts on an average of 12 to 14 days.
The ovulatory phase lasts 16 to 32 hours.
It lasts about 14 days (unless fertilization occurs) and ends just before a menstrual period.
In this phase, estrogen and progesterone levels are high.
Changes to Your Hair and Skin
- Sensitive Hair Follicles
During the time of leading to your period (luteal phase) you can expect to have more sensitive hair. It is best to avoid any hair removal (waxing, laser, hair dying) appointments currently. Something as simple as plucking your eyebrows might be a little bit more painful than usual.
- Increase in acne and blackheads
As your hormones fluctuate during the month, so does the amount of oil your skin produces. This can result in increase in acne, blackheads or overall inflammation. An increase in oil production usual occurs in the weeks leading up to your period (luteal phase). This is the ideal time to double cleanse in the evenings and cleanse with a gentle cleanser in the AM. Exfoliating twice a week with an AHA mask will also help remove some of the excess oil, slough off dead skin cells and help regulate your oil production.
- Oily Skin and Hair
If you think that your hair needs to be washed more often, you're not alone. As hormones fluctuate so does that amount of oil your body produces. Once you get close to your period, your testosterone levels increase as your estrogen and progesterone levels drop, resulting in increase in sebum production.
New York based dermatologist, Jessica Weiser, M.D. states "As a woman approaches her period, testosterone levels increase as estrogen levels drop. This change in hormones causes your body's natural oil, sebum to increase. Your face and scalp have lots of sebum glands. The more glands the more sebum or oil."
To reduce the excess sebum on your skin, cleanse twice a day. In the morning, cleanse with a product that contains silicic acid. In the evenings, use the double cleansing method. Preferably use an oil-based cleanser first to break up sunscreen, makeup, mascara, etc. and then follow up with a foaming cleanser.
To encourage healthy skin turnover, try using a glycolic mask twice a week. The glycolic acid will help remove excess sebum, keep your pores clean and encourage collagen production.
With an increase in sebum, comes a higher risk of acne and inflammation. Changing your pillow chase twice a week can help reduce facial inflammation and any acne irritation.
- Sensitive Skin
Right before your period most women are a little bit more sensitive. But, did you know that your skin gets more sensitive too? Crazy, yet true. The level of sensitivity depends on the person, but sensitivity is something to be aware of. Your skin might be more sensitive to products, cleanser and sun exposure. To help reduce sensitivity and inflammation, use a gentle cleanser, that will cleanse without stripping or irritating your skin, then use a gentle moisturizer and SPF.
Here are some additional tips that might be helpful:
- Avoid hot shower
- Avoid scrubbing your face
- Avoid new products
- Avoid laser treatments, waxing, threading appointment
- You may even want to avoid massages
Can't stand being touched? Some women can't stand cuddling during this time of month. These women find it extremely uncomfortable almost painful.
Christine Greves, MD, ob-gyn at the center for obstetrics and gynecology at Orlando Health in Florida: “That's because estrogen helps plump, thicken, and protect the skin." Since estrogen levels decrease around your period, "your skin might be predisposed to pain and sensitivity.” It's a good reason to reschedule that dentist visit or wax appointment for another week.
Read about other sensitive skin tips here .
- Tired Looking Skin
Once your period begins estrogen levels are low and your skin isn't producing as much oil as before. Your skin starts to feel dry and tired. To revive tired skin, use products rich in antioxidants. Cleansing with a gentle cleanser rich in kale protein will cleanse while providing a dose of antioxidants to your skin.
Getting extra sleep will also help alleviate the dark circles and tired complexion.
It is not uncommon to be tired during the days leading up to your period and during your period. Your progesterone levels drop the closer you get to your period.
Progesterone is linked to both an increase in body temperature and fatigue – two classic symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
With an increase in body temperature and fatigue, a lot of women finds themselves too tired to fall asleep.
Here are some tips for getting better sleep during your period:
- Keep the room cold. A drop-in body temperature let's your body know it's time for bed.
- Avoid screen time several hours before bed. Blue light is emitted from electronic devices. Your television, laptop and cell phone are confusing your body's natural circarcadium rhythm.
- Decompress before bed. Studies show that mindfulness exercises, yoga or simple breathing exercises help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
- Avoid caffeine before bed. You may be tempted to have more caffeine later than usual. Your tired after all, but more caffeine will just affect your sleep.
Can't get comfortable because of cramps? Try these effective home remedies:
- Use a warm compress to alleviate cramps
- Drink a warm decaffeinated tea with some soothing honey
- Avoid strenuous exercises
- Give yourself ample time to rest.
Don't worry, it isn’t all bad when it comes to your skin and your period. Here are some things you can look forward to:
- Best Looking Skin of the Month
Most women report that right after their periods they experience their most soft, radiant skin ever. Well, it turns out there is a reason for that. That's right, it has to do with fluctuating hormones again. During the middle of your period, your estrogen levels begin to rise and continue as you move closer to your ovulation window. The increase in estrogen, gives your skin more softness, increase glow and the appearance of smaller pores. Some women even say their hair is softer and shinier. Women just seem to feel more attractive during this time. The closer you are to your fertile (ovulation window) the more attractive women seems to look and feel. Shocking and true.
Now, you know how your period affects your skin and what changes you can expect during your cycle. Hopefully, this helps you feel more in control during your next cycle.