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Hormones and skin: How to synchronize your skin care with your cycle

Regardless of whether you suffer from acute premenstrual tension or only have isolated pimples in the days before the period - cycle-related hormone fluctuations have a major impact on the skin, even on the scalp . Have you ever noticed that your scalp before the periodis more sensitive and produces more sebum? That your hair is greasier and flatter? Even if we take note of the hormonal fluctuations, we rarely do anything about it. We continue to use the same cosmetic products and hope that they will adapt to the skin. But variety is the trick, says dermatologist Rosa del Río, head of the department for cosmetic dermatology at the skin clinic Grupo Pedro Jaén: "The nature of the skin changes with the cycle, so it is important to adapt care products to the changing needs of the skin. "

Pharmacist Marta Masi agrees: "Women are differently sensitive in this regard, but it is true that hormones also affect the skin. In the menstrual phase, the skin has to be cared for differently than during ovulation or in the premenstrual phase. And that is something we often do not take into account when we use the same product all month. "The choice of products also depends on the skin type, Masi adds. Dry skin, for example, dries out even more in the first days of the cycle and therefore needs different care than naturally oily skin. It is crucial to keep an eye on the skin and to adapt the care products to the respective cycle phase, the follicular phase, the luteal phase and the menstrual phase (further information below). And what are Masi's favorite skin care helpers? Disposable ampoules, so that the sera can be adjusted to the respective time of the month. "The extracts are easy to combine and integrate into the skin care routine, so you can use a new product every day," says Masi. "[Disposable ampoules] also prevent oxidation of active particles due to contamination." But face masks are also helpful to give the skin the right care at the right time, she says.

How the three phases of the month affect your skin and which products are best :

1. The follicular phase (from menstruation to ovulation)

This cycle phase is optimal for the skin. "The level of estrogen is particularly high, which has a positive effect on the moisture and glow of the skin. As a result, fewer care products are required," explains del Río.

The best products for the first phase: Because the skin does not lack moisture and glow in the first cycle phase , del Río recommends "sun protection and active substances such as vitamin C, alpha-hydroxy acids or retinoids" to promote the natural skin condition.

2. The luteal phase (from ovulation to menstruation) In this phase less estrogen is produced, but progesterone comes into play, which stimulates the production of sebum. "[A higher] progesterone level leads to oily skin and pimples, especially before the period," explains del Río. For most women, according to Masi and del Río, these pimples would appear on the chin and around the jaw.

The best products for the second phase: Del Río recommends a good facial cleanser and peeling in the second phase to remove excess sebum and to keep the skin as clean as possible in the days before the period. Masi also recommends products with quinoa extract for deep cleansing and refreshing tired skin and hyaluronic acid as a moisturizer.

3. The menstrual phase (during menstruation)

Both estrogen and progesterone levels drop at this time, which is why the skin is "drier, more sensitive and more irritable", says del Río. "The low progesterone level also ensures that the complexion is less greasy and instead looks dull."

The best products for the third phase: Because the skin is more sensitive at this point, del Río advises in the third phase to use gentle, low-irritation products. Masi recommends ingredients such as thermal water, aloe vera, calendula, centella asiatica, argan oil or sea glycogen that are gentle and have a calming effect on the skin.

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