How hormones affect your skin before, during & after your period

Heather Campbell
 min read

How hormones affect your skin: One day your skin is at its best, with an even and fresh complexion. The next day, everything goes haywire with shine, discomfort, and pimples.

How hormones affect your skin before, during & after your periodYour menstrual cycle and hormones may be the explanation.

Digestion, moods and sensations can tell you as surely as an app on your phone where you are in your menstrual cycle. In the same way, your period also affects your skin.

The menstrual cycle is regulated by hormones such as estrogens and progesterone. Hormone levels fluctuate during the menstrual cycle and also affect the skin. You can preventively care for your skin with the right skin boosting serum in anticipation of the different stages of your menstrual cycle.

Read on to learn all about adapting your facials to your menstrual cycle.

How hormones affect your skin: Introduction

Hormones are the real coordinators of our biological functions. But exactly what are these hormones used for, apart from making life difficult for us?

Hormones are the great coordinators of our body, biochemical messengers that control, trigger and inhibit the functions essential to our life. That’s all!

Growth, reproduction, sleep regulation, hunger, metabolism, psyche, etc. Nothing escapes the influence of these molecules.

Hormones are produced by the glands of our endocrine system that secrete them.

And each of them, via our bloodstream, tells its target organs what to do or not to do, such as grow, thicken, secrete certain substances, contract, etc.

So hormones play an essential role in our balance and health!

The female body in particular is a hormonal roller coaster. It is sometimes said that a woman experiences more hormonal variations in a single month than a man does in a lifetime.

And, of course, it is also hormones that orchestrate our menstrual cycles.

Hormones and the menstrual cycle

Every month, hormones secreted by our ovaries, adrenal glands and fatty tissues fluctuate up and down, preparing our body for a possible pregnancy.

Tirelessly, from puberty to menopause, they do it again on repeat.

In cycles of 28 days and two approximately equal phases:

  • Estrogenic or follicular, the first phase is dedicated to the preparation of ovulation from the first day of the period. Estrogens have a key role in gradually increasing until they trigger the release of the egg.
  • During the second phase, called the luteal phase, progesterone takes over to prepare for the eventual implantation of a fertilized egg.

If no pregnancy starts, estrogen and progesterone drop to a low level to prepare for a new cycle. Menstruation cleanses our reproductive system by evacuating the mucous membrane.

Skin and hormones: What is the link between the two?

To activate our reproductive functions, these hormones obviously affect our tissues and our secretions, which is not without consequences on our skin.

So, naturally, the appearance of your skin will also be influenced by your menstrual cycle.


Estrogens (estradiol, estriol and estrone) are in charge of our puberty and the development of our female organs (uterus, breasts, vaginal wall, etc.).

Estrogens act on our bones, cardiovascular system, brain, digestive system, voice, mucous membranes, and skin.

In more practical terms, estrogen keeps our skin:

  • Moisturized by stimulating our production of hyaluronic acid which helps our skin cells retain water.
  • Soft and thick by boosting the production and quality of our skin fibers, including our beloved collagen.

Related post: How to promote natural collagen production to make cellulite less visible


Progesterone thickens the uterine mucus to block bacteria that could interfere with a developing pregnancy.

On the other hand, estrogen promotes fluid secretions to facilitate the passage of sperm to the fallopian tubes.

It’s the same thing for sebum. Under the action of progesterone, it thickens and traps many undesirable elements such as dust, pollution and bacteria, and squats on the skin’s surface.

It is important to know what hormones do to our skin so we can anticipate probable discomforts and adapt our skin care accordingly, to prevent these discomforts.

How to use the periodic boosting serums?

Around ovulation: A resistant and receptive skin

This is the time of your menstrual cycle that your skin prefers!

It is also the easiest to live with because your skin has regained its strength, retains its hydration better, firms up, and collagen is at its best. All thanks to estrogen.

Your skin’s newfound natural glow may make you want to just leave your skin be and worry less about it, but do not make this mistake!

Always clean and remove your skin with care and do not force makeup on it so it can keep breathing.

It is also the menstrual cycle period when the skin is most receptive to care and most resistant. It’s time to apply some basic skin care adapted to your skin type.

Continue with the booster serum that suits your skin best, apply organic face masks, etc.

Reinforcing your skin with the antioxidants of certain firmness-boosting, rejuvenating and regenerating serums can be a good option to help it get through the rest of this stage more serenely.

Just before your period: Balance and purify

A week before your period, a whole new story begins.

The complexion becomes blurred and dull, the sebum becomes more and more abundant under the effect of the progesterone which increases.

And just before your period, it’s an explosion with a maximum risk of imperfections, pimples, blackheads and dilated pores.

The solution is to absolutely not allow your skin to dry out, as this would make things worse. Instead, it would compensate by producing more and more sebum.

On the contrary, don’t skip your usual moisturizer and also add a purifying booster serum.

Moringa to purify, Flax or Kalahari Melon to regulate, Hemp or Marula to rebalance, Green Tea to target imperfections… All without drying out.

Combine it with a rigorous but gentle cleansing with a sulfate-free organic face wash.

Do the imperfections appear all the same, regardless of your preventive care? Then react as soon as possible with an organic anti-blemish corrector.

Be careful, this is also a period of the menstrual cycle that is prone to cravings. Saturated fats and refined sugars boost cortisol and insulin which also stimulate the sebaceous glands… A real explosive cocktail.

Eating a more balanced diet (lots of fresh chemical-free fruits and vegetables) will also help you overcome digestive disorders and bloating that often accompany menstruation.

During menstruation: Moisturize and nourish

During menstruation, both estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest.

Your skin is a bit left to its own devices. Drier, more sensitive, and prone to inflammation, it overreacts easily. So give your skin the reinforcements and comfort it is craving!

Related post: How to take care of sensitive skin: 10 Derm-approved tips

The skin’s needs are more intense during menstruation, but it’s not the ideal time to try new cosmetics.

You can use a few drops of a nourishing booster serum in addition to your usual facial moisturizer.

Desert date palm, neem, and sunflower can deeply nourish your weakened skin to help it retain water better.

Coconut, Avocado and Loofah oils can protect it with, for example, the antioxidants of Apricot and Blackcurrant as a reinforcement.

Your goal should be to pamper yourself! Avoid sulfated agents and other aggressive synthetic ingredients, and banish even more aggressive habits (scrubs, showers and baths that are too hot, etc.).

During your period you tend not to feel good about yourself and you tend to retain water, so take the time for some gentle draining massages.

At the end of the period and just after

After your period, a boost is welcome to get things back on track quickly because the respite will be short-lived. Your hormones are actively preparing for the next ovulation.

Still dry, dull, and tired, your skin is recovering but is still suffering from the effects of the previous weeks.

It needs a radiance-boosting serum to moisturize, restore energy and tone, and boost cell renewal.

You can also offer your skin an organic radiance face mask and don’t forget about the eye area!

How hormones affect your skin: Conclusion

Of course, this theoretical and natural menstrual cycle is not necessarily exactly yours as some women have shorter or longer cycles.

Hormonal contraception makes their effects less sensitive but can lead to other skin concerns such as hormonal acne.

And our menstrual cycle is not the only one responsible for our skin or even hormonal concerns, as diet, lifestyle, general condition, stress, genetics, etc. also play a role.

Our advice? Set up your personal menstrual and skin calendar and write everything down for 3 or 4 months.

And no matter what time of your cycle you are in, observe and listen to your skin. Fatigue, lack of sleep, change of season, weather? Use the appropriate booster serum as a reflex!

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More