We're all familiar with hormonal breakouts (a.k.a period spots), a visible sign of our PMS, but did you consider that waves of greasy skin or random dryness could be linked to your menstrual cycle too?
Your skin can change depending on what stage you're at in the 28-day cycle, from greasy and acne prone to dry and normal, so you should treat your skin accordingly.
Dr Terry Loong is a top skin doctor who reckons that understanding your monthly 'Skin Cycle' is the key to working with your skin, rather than against it, and making better choices about what products you use and how effective they will be. "The Skin Cycle is all about being in tune with your body and can help minimise breakouts, sensitivity and dryness and maximise skin repair," she says.
As diagrammed in the excellent new Beauty Book (out now, Dhs60) by the natural beauty experts at Neal's Yard Remedies there's an easy way to identify the rhythms of your skin. See the stages they identify below with top skincare tips from Dr Terry:
The Spotty Stage
At day 1 (the first day of your period) you're probably already in the acne-prone arena. This is when you need to be extra diligent with your cleansing routine, remembering to remove dirt and sebum when you take your makeup off at night and in the morning, and avoiding greasy foods. Work up a sweat (as long as you wash your face afterwards!) and up your intake of these greens which stimulate and support detoxification to help unclog pores which when blocked, could become spots.
• Double-cleanse at night and use an oil-fighting cleanser with salicylic acid.
• Increase exfoliation to 2-3 times per week or more and stimulate cell turnover by using products that remove dead skin cells and brighten skin.
• Clay face masks are great at this time for clearing out impurities.
• Have extractions and clarifying facials.
The Dry Stage
By day 5 of your period your skin can become dull, dry and flaky. Gentle exfoliation and moisture-retaining skincare will help protect and repair the skin's barrier, and be sure to hydrate it from the inside-out. Drink plenty of water and eat healthy fats, like oily fish, seeds and avocado.
• Choose calming, soothing ingredients and avoid active facials and potent products. Look for anti-inflammatory properties like green tea and aloe vera.
• Use a vitamin C serum to restore a healthy glow without irritation.
• Treat your skin to a creamy hydrating face mask to prevent dehydration.
The Happy, Healthy Stage
For the middle part of your cycle your complexion should be at its clearest so embrace it with minimal makeup. At first you'll start to get your glow back and blood circulation increases so ingredients are absorbed much better during this time. To keep your skin happy and harmonious and to ward off PMS keep your stress levels low. As well as getting sufficient sleep, exercise and meditation is a perfect prescription for this. Try daily yoga which combines the two.
• Exfoliation is ideal at the start of this stage – use a scrub or exfoliator 1-2 times per week.
• Now's a good time to use an anti-ageing mask and maximise your skin's rejuvenation powers with an antioxidant serum.
Dr Terry Loong is launching her bespoke Skin Cycle Skincare Programme at the Skin Clinic drterry.com
H/T Cosmo UK