How Your Period Affects Your Skin

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Your period can be bittersweet. I mean it’s a symbol of fertility and you either welcome it or dread it monthly for decades. Between mood swings, cramping, and sometimes pregnancy scares, your period has probably given you headaches – both figuratively and literally – for years.

Photo Courtesy of Abigail Keenan

Did you know there’s another thing affected by menstruation? I know, I know – that isn’t enough. It’s true, though. Periods affect the look and health of our skin.

Your Period and Your Skin

Our skin follows a 28-day cycle, just like our periods do. Over the course of four weeks, our skin produces new skin cells at the base of our epidermis. This new layer grows upward, pushing the old cells up and sloughing them off. Our period cycle follows a much similar 28-day format. The four phases of periods are the follicular phase, ovulation, luteal phase (after ovulation and the beginning of the period we recognize), and then finally menstruation.

How the Cycle Affects Your Skin

Throughout that cycle, our estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels fluctuate, sometimes in very large swings. These fluctuations affect wrinkles, skin thickness, and hydration. It’s a rollercoaster ride for our entire body, including our skin. About five days in, estrogen levels drop, leading to dull, sensitive, dry, and dehydrated skin. When ovulation hits, estrogen and testosterone levels rise, giving us that glow we all love. After that, progesterone levels continue to rise, which is when we get the famous “period skin”. We all know it well. It’s that time when we get breakouts. *shudder*

How Birth Control Affects Your Skin

Some women go on birth control to even out their hormone levels so they feel and look better. While this can work, it’s not always the case. Not all birth-control pills are created equal. Some may work incredibly well for you, while some seem to do next to nothing for your skin. Every woman is different with differing hormonal fluctuations. What works for one woman and her period might not work for your period.

How Your Weight Affects Your Skin

Your period can be affected by your weight, which can, in turn, affect your skin. Women who are over or underweight can have periods that are less regular and less even. Being over or underweight can cause either too much of a swing in hormone levels or too little. In either case, your skin will be thrown off even worse than a woman with a regular period.


Conquering Your Period Skin

So now that you know how your period affects your skin, it’s time to start thinking about how to deal with the problem. They key is to give your skin what it needs when it needs it. Let’s break it down.

  • During the first part of your cycle, get a facial to get rid of zits and excess oil deposits in the pores from your previous cycle’s menstruation period. It’s a good idea to do a good exfoliation during this time.
  • During ovulation, gentle toners and dry-brushing help with the spike in estrogen levels in the skin.
  • During menstruation, focus on hydration with masks containing anti-inflammatory ingredients to combat breakouts.

That’s it. Your period affects every part of you, including your skin, and knowing what to do about it can help you keep your skin looking its best. Know that you’re armed with the knowledge of how periods affect the skin and what to do about it, go forth and get that beautiful skin you’ve always wanted.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • kathy downey

    Just an interesting,my granddaughter is having such a hard time now with bad skin,I try to give her hope that things will get better.We will be discussing this post over the weekend.Thanks!

  • Jonnie

    My period used to be the worse culprit for causing breakouts. It has eased up over the years, thank goodness, but I still feel like my cycle affects my skin more than anything else. Thanks for the tips!