Is Your Cycle in Sync with Your Skin?
Ways to put your best face forward all month
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.
‘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.
‘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).
‘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).
‘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. ■