We found a skincare product for each week of your cycle
The week leading up to your period is the worst: You're tired, achy, crampy and cranky. And, of course, your skin just *has* to pile on by breaking out.
The upside? By the time your period is over, your complexion is clear and radiant—but then it betrays you once again just a couple weeks later. It's a vicious cycle (literally).
While you can't magically look perfect 24/7, you can be smarter with your skincare, based on where you are in your cycle (who knew?). Get ready to glow with your flow...
You probably known by now how hormones can affect you before and during your period (sore boobs, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, tummy troubles, you know the drill). But the swing in hormone levels through your menstrual cycle also impacts your skin. "During those 28 days, your hormones fluctuate—specifically estrogen, progesterone and testosterone," explains dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross.
In other words, when hormones are at certain levels, they can cause your skin to feel super dry...or really oily. And at other points, you'll likely experience clogged pores and cystic acne (fun, we know).
The good news is that "you can generally break down your cycle to predict how your skin will behave," says Dr. Gross. And when you know how your skin is going to act during certain days, you can tweak your routine to keep your complexion looking clear and bright. Here's your week-by-week plan to saving face...
Week 1: Amp up your moisture
The science: "Studies have shown that the skin barrier is driest during menstruation, which is partly due to low levels of estrogen," says dermatologist Dr. Sheilagh Maguiness. While you're on your period, you might notice your skin feels dehydrated and tight—and even more irritated or sensitive than usual.
The solution: Keep things simple and avoid harsh scrubs or acids this week. "Amp up your moisture levels with either a hyaluronic acid serum or a rich cream," suggests Dr. Gross.
Week 2: Maintain your glow
The science: "After your period ends, your estrogen production kicks back into gear, stimulating collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid," says Dr. Maguiness. Translation? Your skin is looking good!
The solution: This week is all about maintaining clear skin—and preventing future breakouts. "This is a good time to focus on exfoliation and hydration to keep your face from looking dull," says esthetician and acne expert Zaida Gordon. Try incorporating a gentle exfoliator formulated with alpha hydroxy acids once or twice this week to keep pores clear.
Week 3: Prep your skin
The science: "During this week, ovulation occurs: That means your estrogen peaks and progesterone and testosterone are also increasing," explains Dr. Maguiness. Your skin goes from good to great (yay!).
The solution: "But remember, when you get a blemish, it actually started forming invisibly under the skin two weeks ago," reveals Dr. Gross. So don't let the glow fool you. "To avoid a future breakout, use a clay mask this week to help absorb excess oils," says Gordon.
Week 4: Find your balance
The science: "Right before your period, progesterone and estrogen levels drop below testosterone, which causes excess oil production, inflammation and larger-looking pores," says Dr. Gross. "The oil your skin produces also thickens, which can clog pores and lead to acne."
The solution: Break out the acne treatments. "Consider swapping out your gentle cleanser for one with benzoyl peroxide," says Dr. Maguiness, adding that you'll also want to keep a spot treatment with salicylic acid handy. And if your skin is *really* oily? Use a lighter-weight moisturizer with anti-inflammatory benefits.
Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our April/May 2022 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.