ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Skin Changes Through the Menstrual Cycle

Updated on October 19, 2009

Why we wrote this guide

Our clients are always asking us for tips and advice to help them manage their skin.  One essential guide we were asked to produce deals with those pre-menstrual ‘problem skin days’.  This lens is an abridged version of the full guide and will help you be prepared with the right skin care strategies at the right time.  


Skin Changes through the Menstrual Cycle


Those clever Ancient Greeks realised that women's hormonal cycle took roughly the same time as the phases of the moon. 'Menstrual' cycle is indeed derived from the Greek word for the moon. While the average cycle is 29.5 days, it reduces from over 30 days for teenagers, to about 28 days when you're in your 30's.

There are 4 phases to the menstrual cycle, each phase with its distinct combination of hormones and body temperature. So it's not surprising that the body's biggest organ, the skin, will be affected by these changes.

The Four Phases of the Cycle

'Menstruation' is the first phase of the cycle and lasts about 5 days. During this period hormonal levels are low and body temperature is normal.

Then we get the 'follicular' phase which is the phase between menstruation and ovulation and lasts about 9 days. It is significant for ever increasing levels of the 'female hormone' oestrogen which peak one or two days before the next phase, 'ovulation'.

This brings us to the halfway point on the cycle and to 'ovulation day'. Typically hormone levels will drop very quickly to their lowest levels at this point.

Finally we have the 'luteal' or 'secratory' phase. This phase lasts about 14 days to complete the cycle and is recognissed by slightly higher body temperatures.

How The Phases Affect Your Skin

Menstruation is when your skin can be at its driest. While the dryness is not due to a poor skin balance, it is always worthwhile using a good moisturiser which will boost the barrier function of the skin and help it retain its natural moisture. If the dryness is excessive, we recommend you use a hyaluronic moisturising serum which acts to attract and retain moisture.

In the second phase, the physiological changes may result in lower levels of circulation through the myriad of blood vessels in the skin. But your skin will be calm and at its beautiful best during this phase.

On 'ovulation day' your skin becomes very sensitive and will be prone to allergic reactions, e.g. from pollen.

It can't be helped that the longest phase, the fourth phase, is when the skin is at its most vulnerable. The low levels of the 'female hormone' oestrogen result in higher levels of 'male hormone' androgens which will increase oil production, running the risk of blocked pores and the unwelcome spot and breakout. To cap it all, the barrier function of the skin will be at its weakest allowing higher moisture loss and the risk of dryness. This is the stage at which excellent skin care is essential.

What to do to Avoid Skin Problems

A well balanced healthy skin is naturally acidic. Maintaining this balance is vital for keeping your skin hydrated and for controlling the levels of naturally occurring bacteria on the surface of the skin. If you don't look after this balance by using the wrong skin care products, or you just use soap and water, then your skin will suffer - especially during phases 4 and 1 of the cycle.

We recommend a low pH* anti inflammatory cleanser to help make the skin more acid, thereby controlling bacteria levels and strengthening the barrier function of the skin cells to retain natural moisture. Top this off with a good low pH solar moisturiser during the day and your skin will stay in balance and protected from UV radiation damage.

*pH is the measure of whether a product is acid or alkali.

Please share your tips for skin care through the cycle

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Yes skin care is most important thing at the time of menstrual cycle, a lot of changes can occurs for the skin. The lens is nicely written, thanks for sharing the information.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)