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Ladies, have you ever noticed that your skin seems to change from week to week? One moment you feel like you're on top of the world without a pimple in sight, then a few days later find yourself with a new cluster of pimples that popped up overnight. As women, our skin physiology changes during the different stages of our menstrual cycle as different hormones fluctuate, which directly impacts our skin barrier function.
However, now that we know this, we say it's time to use our cycles to our advantage and kick hormonal flare-ups to the curb. Enter: cycle syncing aka the method of tailoring your skincare products around your period to better prep your skin for the next thing your hormones are going to throw at it.
In the blog below, we break down how your skin is impacted during each phase of your menstrual cycle and share the ideal products you'll want to include in your regimen to ensure your skin stays clear and radiant all month long!
How do I sync my skincare to each phase of my cycle?
Before you can sync up your skincare routine, you need to get into the flow with your flow! If you have a regular monthly period and don’t have any underlying hormonal conditions (i.e., PCOS), you should try to track your cycle and take note of how your skin changes throughout the month. If you notice your skin changes have become recurring patterns, then this cycle-syncing method may be a great way for you to prevent and/or treat unwanted skin flare-ups.
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty!
This is the part of your period when you are actively bleeding. As you shed your uterine lining, estrogen and progesterone start to decline rapidly. Estrogen helps to plump the skin, keep it hydrated, and increases collagen production, while progesterone boosts circulation and sebum (oil) production. So, what does this mean for your skin? Low hormone levels can cause the skin barrier to become weaker and not retain water as well as it normally does, resulting in drier and more sensitive skin.
To combat these effects, we recommend pairing back your routine and focusing on products and practices that will restore your hydrations levels. This is when to you want to reach for hydrating masks, serums and moisturizers (the thicker the better) that feature ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ectoin, peptides and ceramides to help lock in moisture and repair your skin barrier. Some of our favorites are the Hyaluronic Marine Hydrating Modeling Mask, Hyaluronic Marine Hydration Booster, DermInfusions Fill + Repair Serum, and Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion.
If your skin is feeling really dry and lackluster, treat yourself to an at-home spa night. Start with the hydrating mask, and then apply your serum, and finish it off with a moisturizer to seal everything in.
Follicular Phase (Post-Menstruation)
Mark “good skin days’ on the cal because the forecast is looking clear and bright! Once your period ends, estrogen levels rise in preparation for ovulation. As we mentioned above, more estrogen means more collagen production and increased hydration levels, so expect to see plump, calm and radiant skin. Additionally, progesterone levels become more balanced during this time, so you’re likely to experience fewer breakouts and oily patches.
During this hormonal sweet spot, you just need to support your glowing complexion. Our Alpha Beta Daily Peel Pads are great for maintaining radiance because they contain exfoliating acids (AHAs & BHAs) that help to promote cell turnover while smoothing and toning skin. Another one of our favorites is the Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Overnight Texture Renewal Peel. It is formulated with powerhouse ingredients like retinol, bakuchiol, ferulic acid and rambutan that work synergistically to stimulate natural collagen production, control excess oil, and dramatically improve moisture barrier function.
All good things must come to an end right? At the mid-point of your cycle, you’ll want to savor every moment of glowy skin you have left from the extra estrogen production – things are about to shift. During this phase, testosterone levels ramp up which causes your oil production to increase.
When you’re ovulating, prevention is key for getting ahead of breakouts in your luteal phase. Opt for an oil-free, lightweight moisturizer over heavier creams and continue to exfoliate with the Alpha Beta Daily Peel pads to keep pores free from any build-up.
We will just cut to the chase – this part of the cycle is no walk in the park skin-wise. When you think of stereotypical "period skin”, you're most likely imaging the luteal phase. At this point, your body is preparing itself for a fertilized egg and your progesterone levels start to rise. As progesterone levels surge, so does your oil production and with that comes clogged pores, breakouts, sensitivity and redness.
The best thing to do during this phase is hunker down and be diligent about your skincare routine. Trust us, if you skip a day, your skin will pay the price! Your battle plan should involve using non-comedogenic products that keeps your oil production in check and prevents breakouts and flare-ups. During this phase, intensive clarifying masks like the DRx Blemish Solutions Clarifying Mask will be your new best friend. This purifying mask features colloidal sulfur, kaolin clay, and bentonite clay which work together to neutralize acne bacteria while drawing out excess oils and toxins from deep within your pores.
As you may have guessed, after the luteal phase, the cycle repeats itself and you start back at square one.
We hope we provided you with a better understanding of how your hormones impact your skin, but of course, our recommendations are just general guidelines. As much as we would love to create a universal “one size fits all” cycle syncing plan that works for every woman, that’s just not how our bodies work. It’s important to pay attention to your unique cycle and how your skin looks and feels, and tailor your skincare around your specific needs that day.
Discover Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare for All Your Skincare NeedsFor more skincare tips from the experts at Dr. Dennis Gross, check out our blog’s newest content today. Shop the collection of Dr. Dennis Gross bestselling skincare by dermatologists.
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