This is an image showing how the hormones during menstrual cycle affects your skin

How do hormones during the menstrual cycle affect your skin?

If you suddenly do not fit into your jeans and find yourself hungry all the time, you are most probably going to get your period. To top it off, your back hurts, your body is sore and in between your bazillion mood swings, your skin decides to have a mind of its own! Somehow, your hormones are in charge of either making your skin look incredibly gorgeous or filling it up with acne. And it is all so confusing. Let us find out how your reds change your skin in a month!

Know Your Hormones

There are three important hormones that affect your skin during your cycle. You may have studied them in high school, but here is a quick crash course, in case you have forgotten!

  1. Estrogen - Estrogen is more dominant than the other hormones in your body during the first half of the cycle. It is responsible for your skin’s moisture retention and its structural integrity. When Estrogen is at its peak, it makes your skin wrinkle-free and hydrated - all good things!
  2. Progesterone - Progesterone comes into action during the second half of the cycle. When it increases, your skin bloats and clogs pores. This bad boy is responsible for hormonal breakouts you experience.
  3. Testosterone - Testosterone enters the picture when Estrogen and progesterone exit during menstruation. It produces more oil which clogs pores and causes acne.

Your 28 day cycle at a glance

Day 1 to 6 - The Bleeding

What happens to your body?

The first day of your period marks the beginning of your menstrual cycle. At this point, your hormones are low because they work to shed the uterine lining. You will notice a major dip in your energy levels and experience heavy bleeding and painful cramps.

How does it affect your skin?

Without estrogen, your skin will find it hard to retain any moisture. Your skin will look dull and feel dry. Apart from that, your skin will also be sensitive because your body is producing prostaglandins, compounds with hormone-like effects. You will notice the pimples you had in the previous week have cleared up, owing to the lack of progesterone levels.

What skincare tips should you follow?

  • Use gentle products that will rehydrate your dry skin.
  • Avoid painful procedures such as waxing as your skin is tender and sensitive.
  • Treat your body with care by eating unprocessed and cooked meals.
  • Drinking a lot of water will decrease your pain and boost your energy levels.

Day 7 to 11 - The Rising

What happens to your body?

Your hormones are slowly rising while your eggs prepare for ovulation. The rising estrogen level helps the growth of the lining of the uterus. It also triggers the production of collagen, elastin, and Hyaluronic Acid You will notice your energy levels also increasing. You will feel motivated and optimistic.

How does it affect your skin?

Since estrogen is at its rise, your skin will begin to feel more like YOUR SKIN during this period. It becomes fresher and younger-looking. Your skin is still clearing up and becomes less oily. You may experience some dryness due to the rising estrogen levels.

What skincare tips should you follow?

  • Use a gentle exfoliant to remove your dead skin cells and speed up the new skin cell formation. Our recommendation is the Sukin Revitalising Facial Scrub. It works wonders to remove the embedded impurities from your pores.

This is an image of facial scrub from the brand Sukin.

  • Start using a gentle and lightweight cleanser like the Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser to hydrate the skin. Do not forget to eat light and fresh food to help with detoxification.

This is an image of foaming facial cleanser from the brand Sukin.

Day 12 to 16 - The Peak

What happens to your body?

Just before the ovulation, your rising hormones reach their peak. Estrogen, in particular, carries on the ovulation process, and your body temperature increases, thereby impacting your energy levels. Some women may deal with anxiety or insomnia which makes this period challenging.

How does it affect your skin?

Your skin is clear and begins to glow. These are your goddess days. Sometimes your pores may be more noticeable than before as it grows larger during ovulation. Other times it remains small and unnoticeable. Your skin is hydrated as its moisture retention ability has increased. Overall, you look radiant and sensational.

What skincare tips should you follow?

  • Since your estrogen has reached its peak, it is best to eat foods rich in fibre, as it can lead to breast tenderness.
  • With hormonal changes around the corner, it is best to follow a skin care routine, rather than switching it up on a need basis.
  • Along with your gentle cleanser, use an oil-free Try to opt for something natural as it only enhances your beauty. The Sukin Oil Balancing Mattifying Facial Moisturizer is the perfect choice. Not only does it reduce redness and acne, but also has a non-greasy, matte effect on the skin.

This is an image for oil balancing mattifying moisturiser for oily skin

Day 17 to 24 - The Fall

What happens to your body?

After the ovulation process, the new egg is transferred from the ovary to the uterus. At this point, estrogen levels fall and progesterone begins to rise, which thickens the uterine lining.

How does it affect your skin?

The rise of progesterone and fall of estrogen results in bloating of your skin, which compresses your pores. Your wish to have small pores has finally come true, but at a cost. Oil starts getting trapped in these small pores, which allow bacteria to grow, eventually leading to breakouts.

What skincare tips should you follow?

  • Adding face masks such as the Volcanic Clay Face Mask by First Water Solutions to your skincare routine can help unclog your pores.

This is an image of Volcanic clay mask from the brand First Water to unclog pores

  • You can also use an alcohol-free toner like the Coccoon Refreshing Face Mist to keep your skin hydrated!

This is an image of facial mist with white tea and Jasmine from the brand Coccoon.

Day 25 to 28 - The PMS

What happens to your body?

If your egg has not fertilised, it breaks and falls apart. Since your estrogen and progesterone levels are dropping rapidly, you begin to experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Your mood and sleep are highly affected.

How does it affect your skin?

Since progesterone and estrogen have taken a backseat, you will experience bloating, puffiness, and acne. If that does not sound like a lot, your skin becomes oily and your pores open up, beginning to look massive. Pimples typically develop around your chin and jawline.

What skincare tips should you follow?

  • Cut down on caffeine and alcohol because it will only aggravate your breakouts and mood swings. Instead, try drinking fresh fruit juices and more water.
  • Substitute your cravings with healthier choices. For example, in case you crave chocolate, try eating dark chocolate.
  • In general, follow basic skin hygiene, such as avoid touching your face, as it will only add more dirt and bacteria to your face. Wash your face at least twice a day, with a gentle.

This is a graph showing the level of Estrogen and Progestrone during menstural cycle

This is a table showing different phases of menstural cycle affecting skin


All in all, your skin can never be one thing, owing to your ever-changing hormones. But that is okay because we are in this together. Just remember to stick to a skincare routine that works for you and more importantly, listen to your body!

- By Tanvi Savani

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