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Women are often referred to as the moon, and there are indeed many similarities between the fairer sex and the natural satellite. Our menstrual cycle governs more aspects about us than we could think of. We probably already know that it can affect our mood, but do you know that it can also impact on our skin?

The idea is simple. High estrogen levels (female hormones) make our skin look more beautiful, while the lack of estrogen and more androgen (male hormones) cause our oil gland to be more active (and this is why men have oilier skin).

In one cycle, the female body goes through periods of high and low estrogen level, and this is why our skin’s condition changes too. Unlike men who can probably stick to the same regime that works for him all the time, women need to take extra care by making minor tweaks to our skincare regime to adapt to our body’s changes.

We are going to break down the cycle for you and recommend the right steps you should take to keep your skin in tip-top condition throughout the month – come PMS or not.

Skincare during menstrual period

Have you noticed how weak and tired you feel on the first day of your period? You may think it’s because of “blood loss”, but it’s really prostaglandins (lipids released by the body during this period) that caused this feeling.

These lipids are responsible for causing inflammation and swelling, and so it makes your skin look dull and puffy. On top of that, estrogens (hormones make you womanly!) are at their lowest. Remember we mentioned that estrogens make you look radiant and beautiful? So during your period, with little estrogens, your skin becomes more oily and prone to acne.

Use: Anti-inflammatory products. Consider products like the Arcona Chamomile Balm (SGD45), which has anti-inflammatory properties to alleviate redness, strengthen skin, and neutralise free radicals. If your skin is particularly oily, try products like the Boscia Luminizing Black Mask (SGD51), which exfoliates and unclog pores.

Skincare during pre-ovulation to ovulation period

Just before ovulation, rejoice. This is the time when your estrogen level is at its peak. It seems to be Mother Nature’s way of making us beautiful during our most fertile period. Skin looks radiant and well-hydrated and even collagen production is increased. Because the oil glands become less active, pores also appear smaller. This is also the best period to try new skincare products and go for facial treatments because your skin is less sensitive to irritation.

Use: Products that work on your anti-ageing needs. Your skin is slightly drier so it’s a great time to target at anti-ageing since many of the products in this category are a little oiler and richer. You can try a product like the Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil (SGD84) to nourish and hydrate skin at the same time.

Skincare after ovulation

Your estrogen level begin to see a dip once again, though it won’t be as low as it would be during your menstrual period. To bring over the good skin that you’ve seen just days ago, you may also want to consider facial treatment during this period. Otherwise, work on maintaining hydration level.

Use: All-rounded products that are hydrating and make you feel good. A product like the Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Hydro Dew Drop Moisturizing Serum (SGD61) helps to deliver great hydrating benefit to keep signs of ageing away will work great during this period.

Skincare during PMS period

The week just before your menstrual period comes again is also known as the period you experience PMS. Your body realises it’s not pregnant and it triggers your skin to produce more sebum. Your estrogen declines further and so your skin is oily and acne-prone. This is the period when you experience breakouts, which probably make you even more frustrated.

Use: Oil-control products. Products that contain salicylic acid, for instance, will help control oil and at the same time, gently exfoliate to keep pores from clogging – the cause of blackheads and pimples. Take note, though, that you’d need to be conscientious with sunscreen when you use products containing this acid. Go for a product like the Murad Clarifying Cleanser (SGD56). This dermatologist-developed cleanser contains encapsulated salicylic acid that is continually released to provide acne treatment benefits for hours, even though you’ve rinsed it off. It also promises to reduce 99.9% of surface bacteria that can cause inflammation and breakouts.

Final tips

  • Of course you don’t need four set of skincare products to accommodate your different cycle. You can still stick to the skincare products that you notice are working for you. Just take note of the skin changes you’d experience during different times of the month and understand what’s going on. Then, introduce products to combat the skin issues you’re seeing because of hormonal changes.
  • No matter what, it’s important to stick to at least three basic products. In other words, you should still moisturise even when your skin is feeling oily during low estrogen periods. Simply choose one with a more mattifying formula during this period.
  • The understanding of how your body cycle impact on your skin gives you an idea on when you should schedule your facial treatments. So consider planning your facial treatment schedule according to your menstrual cycle.