If your skin’s acting up, it’s safe to say that your hormones could be to blame. But you can also thank your hormones for those times of the month when your breakouts ease up, your pores are on point, and your complexion is perfection.
Week two of your menstrual cycle is where it’s at, and we’re breaking down what your skin is doing during this stage, why it’s the perfect time to exfoliate, and what to use for the ultimate skin renewal. Let’s glow.
You’re probably familiar with the menstrual cycle drill; an egg develops and releases from the ovaries, the lining of the uterus thickens, and if a pregnancy doesn’t occur, that lining sheds and creates a period, and the whole thing starts all over again. The Menstrual phase is when you’re bleeding, followed by the Follicular phase, then the Ovulation phase, then finally the Luteal phase. Keep in mind these can be different for each person.
Week two is the Follicular phase, and this is when your estrogen levels supercharge and eventually peak to trigger ovulation. There’s usually a bit of overlap between the Menstrual and Follicular phases, but when it finally kicks in, the hypothalamus (a part of the brain) sends a signal to the pituitary gland (sort of like the master gland for the hormones) to send out the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
This stimulates the ovaries to produce roughly between 5 and 20 small ‘follicles’, each containing an egg. This phase typically lasts on average 16 days but can be shorter or longer depending on your individual cycle.
It’s actually behaving itself for a change, that’s what! In all seriousness, your skin is unique to you so you may not find this to be the case, but as a general rule, the Follicular phase is when skin starts to settle down and look its best.
The increase in hormones not only stimulates the production of follicles, it also stimulates skin cell turnover by producing collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid - all essential for healthy, bright, clear skin. As your bleed comes to an end, you may still have some leftover acne from the week leading up to your period (you know how PMS skin can be), but you’ll likely notice your complexion start to clear up, become less oily, and take on a ‘glow’ as your progesterone levels increase.
The Follicular phase is also when pores tend to become larger as you get closer to the Ovulation phase, which is why exfoliating is key during this time. All in all, it’s not a bad phase for your skin!
It’s not bad at all, it’s probably when you’ll notice your best skin during the month. While you may not need to do anything differently during this time (especially when you’re younger), starting a solid skincare routine that takes into account everything your hormones are doing will set you up for great skin in future.
A long term skincare routine helps keep your complexion healthy and allows you to maintain that brightness for longer, so start now - yes, now.
Your Follicular phase skin routine doesn’t need to stray too far from what you normally do if it’s already working for you. A gentle cleanser and moisturiser is key to helping skin settle down from the inflammation of the Menstrual phase, and depending on your skin type, you’ll want to choose a moisturiser that’s oil-free so as not to clog up those slightly larger pores.
But the secret to this phase? Exfoliation. Your pores are open, your skin cells are busy renewing, so it’s time to get in there and help clear away any dead skin cells and impurities. Don’t overdo this step in your routine, as you’ll want to avoid overstimulating skin so much that it produces more oil. This can cause havoc in the pre-menstrual phase… hello acne!
There are lots of ways to exfoliate the skin; gloves and cloths, products with natural beads, exfoliating natural acids, and more. Choose what works for you and add this to your routine a few days after your bleeding stops and any acne has calmed down.
And if you’re looking for a product that’s specially designed for this phase of the menstrual cycle - with hormones in mind - Yoppie's Spring Renewal Face Mask is a game-changer you’ll want to try out for yourself.
It’s drenched in exfoliating ingredients (like glycolic acid and papaya powder) to remove dead skin cells, minimise the appearance of pores and even skin tone. It also treats your complexion to a brightening vitamin C boost from orange fruit extract, and soothes skin with orange flower water. Plus it’s hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and made using organic cotton. A major skin win for week two of your cycle.
Got more questions about this phase in your menstrual cycle? We’re all ears! Ask away in our private Facebook group or on Insta @itsyoppie. Don't forget that our personalised period box can get menstrual cycle care from organic tampons to hormonal supplements and more delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox so you've got one less thing to worry about during your cycle.
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