Here’s Why – and How – You should include Cycle Syncing in Your Skincare Routine

From retinol serums to hyaluronic acids, sheets, masks and creams, there is no end to the beauty products that companies and customers alike say is the ultimate solution to your skincare problems. Yet, you may have noticed that in spite of the numerous bottles and tubes stacked in your bathroom cabinet, your face manages to break out every month, leaving you with scars or black spots that do not go away easily.

Those monthly skincare fluctuations aren’t a coincidence: alongside erratic mood swings, uncontrollable chocolate cravings, and crippling cramps, skincare changes are just another sign of your hormones’ natural cycle.

African American woman applying a cream in front of the mirror
Do you notice changes to your skin every month? Your period may be the culprit. Image courtesy of Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

But it is good news! This recurring cycle makes your skin, perhaps for the first time, predictable. That predictability is a good thing because it means you can now optimize your skincare regime to work with your body’s natural changes.

This is known as period skincare or cycle syncing, and the first step to controlling hormonal acne is to track your monthly cycle. You can do this manually, but a period tracking app is usually best. The idea is that your skin undergoes a series of changes as your hormones ebb and flow throughout your approximately 28-day cycle, and therefore your skincare routine should change to accommodate this connection between your skin and hormones.

Of course, if this does not apply to you or you have an overarching problem (for example, dry skin or acne caused by such conditions as PCOS) on a regular basis, it’s best to have a consistent skincare routine to deliver more effective results.

The menstrual cycle starts with the first day of the period and ends when the next period begins. To help you anticipate the skincare changes happening in your body—and tailor your routine to match your unique cycle, read on for a breakdown of every hormonal pattern


This stage is when you experience your period, and here, you may notice that your skin is dry, dull and tired, which is caused by low estrogen and progesterone levels. Elevated prostaglandins hormone levels might mean that your skin is more sensitive.

Start cycle syncing your beauty regimen if you notice a change in your skin during or after your period
Use a thicker cream or oil during your period to combat dull skin. Image courtesy of FabWoman

Try incorporating thicker face oils and creams to your routine, in addition to indulging your skin in hydrating overnight and sheet masks. Also, avoid harsh exfoliating products and anything that will make your skin dry.

Follicular phase (Post-mensturation)

Directly after your period, your skin is in a great place. Estrogen levels start to rise, which results in a natural glow. Mindy Pelz, author of The Menopause Reset, adds that when estrogen is high, collagen production will also be high, giving the skin a plump, springy appearance.

Translation: Now is the time to try out any new products (if you want) since your skin is at its best. It’s also about maintenance, so try using a vitamin c serum in addition to water-based serums like hyaluronic acid to prolong your skin’s glow.


Marked as the mid-cycle point (about 13-15 days before the start of the next period), this is when your egg is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube. In addition to estrogen, testosterone levels are at their peak (this spike is what causes ovulation), and when these levels are high enough, they signal a dramatic increase in the luteinizing hormone. This is also the stage before hormonal acne comes knocking.

Incorporate dermaplaning in your period skincare if necessary
You may want to consider dermaplaning in your cycle syncing routine if you notice an increase in facial hair during ovulation. Image courtesy of Versed Skincare

Use a lightweight lotion to keep skin hydrated. To prepare for oil production ahead, deep-clean pores with a detoxifying mask and exfoliate with lactic acid to keep pores free from buildup. An increase in testosterone levels can contribute to facial hair production, so this might be when dermaplaning can come in handy.

Luteal phase (pre-menstruation)

After making a glorious, albeit brief, appearance, it’s time to say goodbye to your estrogen and welcome progesterone which can cause the skin to swell and lead to inflammatory acne papules and pustules. An imbalance of testosterone will also increase oil production, which may result in clogged pores and more breakouts.

Your cycle syncing battle plan should be to eliminate excess oil without triggering your inflamed skin. All your products should be non-comedogenic and ideally contain anti-inflammatory properties. First, cleanse frequently with a gentle foaming cleanser. Instead of turning to harsh chemicals, try niacinamide to balance oil production and reduce inflammation, along with a spot treatment on breakout-prone areas. You can also decide to increase exfoliation to two to three times a week and incorporate a purifying mask to counter congested skin.

Finally, if you find that your hormonal acne is cystic and especially painful, consult a board-certified dermatologist who can offer alternative options to make your routine more effective.

Source: RealSimple

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