Cycle syncing your skincare for radiant skin all month long
For many of us who have a menstrual cycle, we are all too familiar with the mood swings, cramps and cravings that come along with our cycles every month. Our skin is no exception to these hormonal changes either! Depending on which phase of your cycle you are in, you may be experiencing those pesky pimples along your chin and jaw line, oiliness, dry skin or even a natural glow!
'Cycle syncing' doesn't just refer to what happens when you women spend too much time together. It's a term used to describe the art of adapting your skincare routine to your cycle, and switching up which products you're using to boost that healthy glow.
In this blog post, I walk you through each phase of the menstrual cycle, the changes you may see with your skin, and how you should be optimizing your skincare regime for radiant skin all month long!
How to sync your skincare to your menstrual cycle
Your period has four main phases, each with its own unique qualities and effects on your body.
Day 1-5: Menstrual Phase
During our menstrual cycle, all of our hormones start off being at low levels and our basal body temperature is therefore low too. This means we have a decrease in our temperature, sebum production, and skin may appear relatively dull and lacklustre.
During this time I recommend hydrating from the inside out. Natural means of doing this include drinking plenty of warm teas, which enhance circulation and increase skin hydration. Lean towards hydrating products such as nourishing oils and hyaluronic acid to help support the skin's outer layers.
Oils such as jojoba and antioxidant- rich oils which reduce trans-epidermal water loss and mimic the natural wax esters of the skin (you will find these in Edible Beauty’s & Snowflower Illuminating Face Oil) can assist in boosting hydration whilst also brightening the skin. Use hydrating masks and formulas rich in fatty acids such as ceramides, shea and cocoa butter to build skin moisture levels and improve skin resilience. You will find these in Edible Beauty’s & Coco Bliss Intensive Repair Crème. During this time, I also recommend upping the ante on your ingestible wellness products like vegan collagen and greens powders.
Avoid using active ingredients such as retinol, glycolics and lactic acid as your skin may be hypersensitive to these ingredients during this time. Xenoestrogens, found in conventional cosmetic preservatives and fragrances, can wreak havoc on hormonal balance, resulting in an imbalance of androgens that are often the root cause of breakouts and congested skin.
Day 6-10: Follicular phase
As we enter our follicular phase, oestrogen starts to rise and peaks just prior to ovulation. During this time, our skin is glowing! Progesterone levels are low which means the skin is not producing extra sebum and oestrogen is supporting collagen production, keeping skin feeling hydrated and plump.
I recommend using water-based serums like No.3 Exotic Goddess Ageless Serum along with a light-weight lotion to keep skin feeling smooth and hydrated. Skin will have less of a tendency to clog so keep to exfoliating 1-2 times a week.
An exfoliant can assist in boosting skin cell turnover prior to ovulation. It can also help to promote lymphatic drainage and pre-empt a move towards an oilier complexion post ovulation. I believe the skin has a “self-exfoliating” mechanism and only ever recommend physical exfoliants, to help with improving skin circulation and encourage skin cell turnover without harsh actives disrupting the skin’s microbiome balance. Using natural Alpha Hydroxy Acids can also help to refine pores and cleanse the skin. Our approach is using natural gentle AHAs found naturally in lime, apple and strawberry extracts (you will find these in Edible Beauty’s No.1 Belle Frais Cleansing Milk).
To keep the good skin days going, I recommend supporting the skin's organic production of collagen with natural retinol alternatives such as our phyto-retinol, Beauty Reset Drops, and being consistent with your cleansing and exfoliating routine.
During the days leading up to ovulation look at providing extra support for your liver. Using liver supportive herbs such as Berberine, Turmeric and Burdock Root (which you will find in Inner Essentials – Skin+Liver) help to cleanse and detoxify the skin “from the inside” reducing tendencies for overproduction of oil which can arise from hormonal imbalances.
Skin is also less sensitive during this time, so it is the ideal time to road-test any new products on your skin.
Day 11-18: Ovulation Phase
For those who haven't heard of period skin's sister, ovulation skin, it is definitely a "thing". During ovulation, the ovaries secrete hormones that are known as androgens – predominantly testosterone.
Increased androgen and oestrogen that occurs between our menstrual cycle and ovulation can cause sebum (oil) to accumulate in follicles, which can lead to blackheads. This can also lead to a build-up of bacteria which may lead to pimples and breakouts, similar to typical premenstrual acne.
I recommend using water-based serums along with formulas containing anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory botanicals during this time.
Switch to dry oils like squalane which is non-comedogenic and contains anti-inflammatory properties ensuring skin is hydrated without becoming congested. Increase exfoliation to 2-3 times a week and use a sleep purifying mask to balance an oily T zone. Edible Beauty’s & Sleeping Purifying Mousse contains an extract called Alpha Avocuta, derived from avocado oil. It has been clinically proven to reduce the conversion of testosterone into DHT and hence curbs the excess oil production that is caused by imbalanced androgens. Use Turmeric Brightening Serum as a spot treatment for any pesky spots that may arise before your menstrual cycle begins.
Internally, consider upping the ante on liver supportive herbs. Turmeric, Dandelion Root and all bitter greens will help the liver in cleansing and shifting excess testosterone (you will find these in our Liver Cleanse Tablets). I am always recommending my clients create “daily fibre goals”. Fibre is an essential to shift excess hormones wreaking havoc with our skin. Many of us are not getting the 25 -30 grams recommended in our daily diet. Fibre helps to sweep up toxins and oestrogen along with undigested food in the gut and help to feed good gut bacteria keeping our gut microbiome healthy and our digestion in check. Add 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal to your smoothie or morning porridge. Enjoy fibre rich foods such as oats, brown rice, vegetables and legumes.
During the more acne-prone points of your cycle, it's especially important to avoid synthetic fragrances and preservatives, which are notorious for causing the skin to become sensitive and inflamed.
Day 19-28: Luteal Phase
After ovulation, our progesterone levels start to rise with the release of Luteinising Hormone (LH) from the pituitary. Along with an increase in progesterone, skin can become greasier. Our basal body temperature increases and pores can become clogged.
An increase in LH levels can make your skin prone to bacterial overgrowth. Now is the time that I endorse being religious with your cleansing, and considering exfoliating more frequently, but do not use any sensitising treatments, as skin may be sensitive during this phase.
Salicylic acid can be helpful in refining pores and preventing bacterial build up but take care to not use anything which has more than 1% as this can be quite harsh on the skin.
Look out for ingredients like Calendula and Chamomile in your toner/essence to calm skin and keep bacteria and clogged pores at bay (you will find these in our No.2 Citrus Rhapsody Toner Mist).
By becoming more conscious of your hormone fluctuations, you can not only become more aware of how hormones are impacting your mood, you can also tailor a skincare regime for each stage of your cycle, ensuring skin is at its most optimum at all times. Your skin will thank you for this!