How hormones affect our skin… it’s no big secret, in fact, most women would have a tale or two to tell about how hormones have wreaked havoc on their skin at least once throughout their lifetime. Whether it’s due to our menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, or a host of other challenges our hormones face, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there at some point, and it can be extremely frustrating. For me, I started taking care of my skin at a fairly young age, (I was always a bit of a skin nerd). I foolishly thought that because of this, I would be spared when it came to skin catastrophes as I got older. Well, it turns out that was only partially true. Although taking good care of my skin definitely helped me to coast through my hormonal skin changes a little easier, I still had my share of troubles, especially during my early to mid-30’s. I started breaking out like a teenage girl at 33 and I was horrified! I was able to get things under control with some of my own tips and tricks! I want to share with you adjustments to my routine that worked for me. Hopefully, they may work for you as well! There are many reasons your hormones can go awry, in this piece, I’m going to focus on how our menstrual cycles affect our skin.
The dreaded menstrual cycle… there are several ways our periods affect our skin. Depending on what point you’re at in your cycle, you could be battling increased oil production, breakout prone skin, sun sensitivity, dehydration, or all of the above.
Let’s first discuss breakouts and increased oil production…The last 2 weeks of your cycle, so basically the 2 weeks prior to getting your period, your estrogen levels drop and testosterone levels rise. Testosterone, being a predominately male hormone, will likely cause an increase in oil production and create a perfect environment for breakouts. The best way to combat this problem is by adjusting your cleanser during this hormonal time. Using a lighter, gel based cleanser can help balance out those oily pores, Dermalogica’s special cleansing gel is a perfect choice. It provides a “squeaky clean” feeling without over drying the skin or changing the Ph. balance. Depending on your skin type, you could even opt for a cleanser with salicylic acid during these couple of weeks, I recommend Dermalogica’s clearing skin wash. It’s part of the medibac line and works wonders for preventing or targeting existing breakouts. Making a change to your cleanser and not your entire skin care routine can help to balance out the skin without disrupting your entire routine. If you continue to struggle with persistent breakouts, you may want to schedule an appointment with you dermatologist. He/She may be able to prescribe a topical treatment such as a retinol cream to add into you routine.
Next on the list, the sensitivity factor…During the week of your period you may experience increased dryness and sun sensitivity as estrogen levels bottom out. Be sure to lather on the sunscreen and increase fluid intake and moisturizers accordingly! Of course, sunscreen is always a must, however, it is especially important this week because we are more sensitive to the sun’s harmful rays during the week of our period. Dermalogica’s solar defense booster is a perfect choice for daily sun protection! You just add a little into you morning moisturizer and you’re ready to go! Keep in mind it’s always best to avoid direct exposure when the sun is at its strongest, generally between the hours of 10am-4pm. In terms of moisturizers, if you’re feeling a little dry during this week, I would recommend going up a level in moisturizers. If you’re uncertain which one is best for you, check in with your skin care therapist! We are always happy to help!! This is a great time to do some gentle exfoliation as well. Remember, you may be a little extra sensitive, so you don’t want to overdo the exfoliation but a gentle choice like Daily Microfoliant could be a perfect addition to your routine this week. It helps to eliminate dead skin cells on the surface, which can aid in maintaining skin clarity and moisture.
So you may wonder, at what point in your cycle is your skin at its best?? The answer…the week following your period! Estrogen levels are on the rise and our skin is generally clear, smooth, and glowing!! I hope you find some of these tips useful in adjusting your skincare routine. Be sure to schedule your spring facial with your skin care therapist to keep your skin looking and feeling its best!! Happy Sunday!!