Is Your Cy­cle in Sync with Your Skin?

Ways to put your best face for­ward all month

Cosmopolitan (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

HORMONES. They course through your body con­stantly, and they play a mas­sive role in how you feel and look. Your skin is not ex­empt from their tem­per­a­men­tal be­haviour: they can make you look grim or amaz­ing, de­pend­ing on where you are in your cy­cle. This means that, to look ra­di­ant, you need to adapt your skin­care rou­tine dur­ing the month to ac­com­mo­date the changes go­ing on in­side your body.

What ex­actly goes on with skin over a four-week pe­riod? Dr Mari­cia Du­ven­hage of the Re­newal In­sti­tute, who be­lieves that each hor­mone plays a sig­nif­i­cant part in the main­te­nance and ap­pear­ance of skin, gives a week-by­week break­down of what’s hap­pen­ing on the in­side – and how it af­fects the way you look on the out­side.

Week 1

‘From day one to seven, oe­stro­gen is at its low­est, which makes skin dry up,’ she says. ‘This means that, to pre­vent de­hy­dra­tion of skin cells, you should be us­ing a richer mois­turiser. Dur­ing this pe­riod, there’s also a higher level of cir­cu­lat­ing prostaglandins in the blood­stream, which in­creases your sen­si­tiv­ity to pain – so rather avoid treat­ments such as wax­ing or thread­ing at this time.’ FIX IT A rich mois­turiser such as En­v­i­ron Orig­i­nal Rich Day Mois­turiser (R355) will help en­sure skin stays sup­ple, plump and healthy.

Week 2

‘From days seven to 10, oe­stro­gen starts to in­crease again and skin cells start re­gen­er­at­ing,’ says Du­ven­hage. ‘Col­la­gen is also stim­u­lated, lead­ing to plumper, stronger skin. As cells re­gen­er­ate, fo­cus on ex­fo­li­a­tion to pre­vent pores from clog­ging (which can lead to spots). You ovu­late be­tween days 12 and 16; oe­stro­gen will peak at this stage, lead­ing to even higher mois­ture and col­la­gen lev­els. Con­tinue to ex­fo­li­ate and use a lighter mois­turiser.’ FIX IT Use a pow­er­ful skin

pol­isher such as Skn­logic Ex­fo­li­ate Enzy­matic With Pa­paya Ex­tract (R139), and switch to a lighter mois­turiser

such as Nivea Per­fect & Ra­di­ant Light Mois­turiser For Oily Skin SPF 15 (R99,99).

Week 3

‘From days 17 to 24, oe­stro­gen will start drop­ping again in prepa­ra­tion for the ap­proach­ing men­strual phase,’ says Du­ven­hage. ‘This will cause hy­dra­tion lev­els in skin to de­crease, so start rein­tro­duc­ing a richer mois­turiser. Testos­terone will also start to in­crease, which may cause break­outs. A spot treat­ment will help com­bat any rogue zits.’ FIX IT Ban­ish blem­ishes with Thurs­day Plan­ta­tion Tea Tree Blem­ish Stick (R120).

Week 4

‘Dur­ing days 25 to 28, the lev­els of both oe­stro­gen and pro­ges­terone will drop rapidly,’ ex­plains Du­ven­hage. ‘This of­ten leads to wa­ter re­ten­tion and puffi­ness – and your face is un­for­tu­nately not ex­empt! Testos­terone will also be at its high­est – which means oily skin, an in­creased risk of break­outs, and dull, greasy hair.’ FIX IT Keep ex­fo­li­at­ing and us­ing a spot treat­ment – and in­cor­po­rate a clar­i­fy­ing sham­poo such as Moroc­canoil Clar­i­fy­ing Sham­poo (R345) into your beauty rou­tine. ■

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