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How to Take Care of Your Skin During Your Period

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BC chapter.

*Disclaimer: I am not a licensed dermatologist nor a skin expert. All opinions in this post are completely my own and do not represent HerCampus as a whole. Please consult with your dermatologist before testing new products or changing your skincare routine.*

In my last post about easy ways to take care of your skin during the fall season, I covered the basic techniques for your particular skin type and what you should do enhance your routine. This week, I’m going to expand on the topic and talk about skin care during your menstrual cycle. It’s bad enough that we have to tackle the harsh weather to keep our skin hydrated and acne-free; when you add changing hormone levels to the mix, it becomes a completely different story. Fear not, for there are ways to still look fresh and revived even if your body feels the opposite. We’re going to talk about ways to not only keep your skin healthy, but also the stages to watch out for to prep ahead of time before your next cycle.

The Pre-Period Stage

During this stage in the game, your skin is on its way to being at its worst from day one. At least a week before your cycle begins, your estrogen levels begin to decrease while your progesterone and testosterone levels increase. This causes increased oil production and clogged pores, making them appear larger. Hormonal acne will typically occur on your chin and jawline, though breakouts can occur anywhere on your face. Along with your skin being the most sensitive, low levels of estrogen can leave your skin looking blotchy so that by day five your skin becomes dull, dry, and flaky.

Tips for Treatment

  • Up your intake of antioxidants by drinking green tea, working up a sweat (while washing your face afterward!) and getting plenty of vitamin C.
  • Use a cleanser that is high in salicylic acid during the blemish-prone period. This type of cleanser cleans out pores, gets rid of excess oil, and keeps bacteria and blemishes at bay.
  • Increase exfoliation to 2-3 times per week or more and stimulate cell turnover using products that remove dead skin cells and brighten skin.
  • Clarifying facials and clay face masks are great at this time for clearing out impurities.


14 days within your cycle, a different hormone called the Luteinizing hormone (LH) is produced, triggered by an increase in estrogen that causes increased oil production, breeding the ideal environment for acne and bacteria. During this time, you’re sure to see a blemish or two, making it very important to amp up your anti-acne routine before more appear. Around this time, however, your complexion should start to clear up, 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. Check your products for the term “non-comedogenic,” which means they have been tested and verified to not clog your pores when applied.

Tips for Treatment

  • Using oil-free makeup and moisturizer is very important.
  • 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 Post-Period Stage

After your period ends, your levels of estrogen begin to increase and your skin typically looks and feels in tip-top shape. If you’re acne-prone throughout the month regardless, continue using products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or tea tree oil. You may find that you need a less potent dose around this time of the month.

Tips for treatment

  • As always, make sure you’re wearing an SPF
  • Skip heavy foundation and let your skin breathe
  • Fall back to your normal routine, but always be on the lookout for when you need to make adjustments

With all that said and done, know that no two menstrual cycles are the same. The basics of any skincare routine are to always gently exfoliate and focus on moisture. To regulate hormones and to increase circulation to the skin, do your best to live a balanced life. Translation: get enough sleep, manage stress, exercise often, and listen to your skin’s needs. Drink plenty of water and eat healthy fats, like oily fish, seeds, and avocado to hydrate from the inside-out and help ward off PMS. Being a woman is hard, but with these tips, you’re sure to always look your best like the boss lady you are! 




Hey! My name is Olivia and I'm a college junior studying Linguistics and American Studies. I’ve been writing since I was young and it gave me so much joy at the time. But once I started college, I traded my pen and paper for a Macbook and wrote for school instead. But some part of me still wanted to write for myself, and I was finally motivated to do so in January 2017. Aside from writing,  I'm a Christian who loves reading, cooking, shopping, playing video games, and sleeping (especially). I'm very much into health and fitness (while at the same time a sweet tooth) and I'm always researching on how to life hack everything. If I'm not studying in the library like a good student should, I'm hanging out with friends or relaxing in my room after a long day.