Indiana Investigates: How does my cycle affect my skin?

We’ve all experienced period spots, an annoying advertisement to the world of what’s to come, let's unpack exactly why they happen and how to tackle ‘em to the ground! 

Skin and hormones

We each have a cycle lasting 28 days on average, so let’s run through the timeline of things…

Day 1 (the first day of your period) to day 4

During the first four days of your cycle, your hormone levels are low and low levels of oestrogen may make you feel depressed or irritable – this imbalance of hormones can also cause an outbreak of acne as your skin produces more oil during this time. This is when areas such as the chin or cheeks can flair up as the excess oil, otherwise known as sebum, blocks pores. Yippee!   

Tips for Day 1 – 4 of your cycle 

  • Stick to your routine, cleanse in the morning and at night and don’t forget to moisturise too. It may seem counterproductive to moisturise when your skin feels especially greasy but doing so will minimise the amount of oil produced by your skin and therefore it will help reduce acne breakouts. 
  • For an extra boost, I like to apply the SOS Target to problem areas as this ensures sebum production is stopped in its tracks!
  • If you’re looking to really flush the acne out of your system, try some light exercise. When I’m on my period, that’s the last thing on my mind so I usually opt for some YouTube Pilates at home before having a warm bath/shower to relax. Take it easy ladies! 

Day 5 – 10 of your cycle are known as the dry stage for our skin. 

When your period finishes causing drama downstairs, your body takes you on another rollercoaster and produces the most oestrogen of the month, sending a signal to your pituitary gland to release a tonne of the luteinizing hormone – the egg releasing hormone. This imbalance can cause inflammation in your skin, making it more irritated and dry or flaky.  

Tips for day 5 – 10 of your cycle 

  • Now’s the time for soothing ingredients! An aloe vera mask or gentle cleansing with System Akvile’s gentle cleanser with Salicylic Acid is more than enough.

  • With skin being more flaky during this time, I usually drop the foundation makeup and switch it up for a BB cream – it’s pigmented and has moisturising properties which are great for providing extra moisture during the day if you want to cover any redness.

  • If you do wear makeup, try to remove it as soon as you’re home. Be gentle. Don’t scrub your face as it can make it feel very sore. Pat it dry with a towel and apply moisturiser for a calming effect. 

Day 11-21 the golden time for skin

Hurrah!!! We made it. The ovulation phase, joy of joys. Your progesterone hormone levels are increasing. Blood circulation improves and your skin should feel a lot more balanced and chilled out. If you suffer from PMS, stress hormones may increase (they certainly do for me) so now’s the time to try and relax to keep acne at bay. 

Mindfulness can take many forms; meditation (again, YouTube has some great content) or tune into something that makes you laugh, this always helps me to let go of any worries I have. Writing things down, be it in bullet points or to do lists or even a list of things you’re grateful for, all help. Just do something to relax your mind and make your stress more manageable. 

You may experience some acne around this time, it is completely normal. We’ve got you!  

Tips for day 11-21 of your cycle

  • Cleanse day and night.

  • Use System Akvile’s Exfoliant, leave it on your skin for ten minutes AND watch something funny for double self-care points. This will really help your skin and body know what’s up.

  • Here’s a meditation video (PG, it says the F word…) if you’re looking for content 

Day 22-28 we’re acne prone again, but we can handle it because we’re bad-ass powerful women! 

Our oestrogen levels are taking a nice holiday in the French Riviera, good for them. We’re left with an imbalance which makes room for more testosterone and progesterone which means that sebum production is in full swing. Aaaaaaa!

Tips for day 22-28 

  • Cleanse day and night, followed by moisturiser.

  • Increase the intake of greens in your diet, get some cucumber or kale which will shake up your body and help it get going. 

I know it can all seem daunting and tiring, but don’t forget to show your body some love during the hard times – it’s doing its best and you can get through this! 

I hope these steps help you create a personalised skincare routine and provide something to refer to when times are confusing. Our bodies are weird, (wo)man. 

If you have ANY questions or just want someone to vent to about your skin related woes my Dm’s are always open at @indieskky 

Thank you and good luck! x