‘Menstrual Skin’ Is A Real Thing And Now There’s A Treatment Named After It

You know the pattern: one week your skin is beautiful, the next it’s dull. Then you get a breakout that takes another week to move.

“Menstrual skin” is something most women can relate to; as hormones rise and fall during each 28 day cycle, so does the quality of our skin. That’s why companies have started selling skincare that changes depending on the stage of your cycle – from Typology, which offers a new serum for each week of the month, to Faace, which has a mask called “Period.” .

When you menstruate, estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest, so the skin can be dry and sensitive. About a week later, estrogen levels rise before ovulation and skin generally looks better. But when progesterone peaks in the second half of the cycle, oil production increases, which can lead to blemishes.

As hormones rise and fall during each 28-day cycle, so does skin quality. There is now a skincare trend that promises to adapt to our cycles

The idea is that if we change our skincare to match our cycles, we can meet our skin’s needs throughout the month so that it remains stable, rather than fluctuating with our hormones.

But is it worth it, or just a trick to get us to buy a range of products when we do? We tested five brands.

Four serum cycle

Typology Woman Period Serums, £54.30, uk.typology.com

Typology Woman Period Serums, £54.30, uk.typology.com.  This France-based skincare brand offers four serums, one to use each week of the menstrual cycle

Typology Woman Period Serums, £54.30, uk.typology.com. This France-based skincare brand offers four serums, one to use each week of the menstrual cycle

What is that? This France-based skincare brand offers four serums, one to use each week of the menstrual cycle.

The serum for the first week, when female hormones are at their lowest and skin is often dry, is “moisturizing and soothing”; the second week is devoted to “suppleness and radiance”; the third week is “moisturizing and astringent” to eliminate excess oil; while the fourth week is “mattifying and anti-imperfections”.

Verdict: I can’t tell the difference between them – they all seem to leave my skin feeling happily hydrated. But then, isn’t that the point of menstrual care? I’m not supposed to notice my skin changing – the serums are meant to counter hormonal changes for me, so I end up with balanced skin all the time.

And my skin looks smoother and more stable throughout my cycle: I have far fewer blemishes than normal in week four.

The packaging is beautifully minimalist, but I find the eyedropper cumbersome and difficult to use. And these are expensive, but you look at it.

You only use each serum for one week a month, but I find myself going through them faster than I thought.

Unlike other ranges, they’re easy to incorporate into your existing skincare routine – just add them after cleansing and before moisturizing.

Best for: Women who have a lot of money to spend on their skin care. 7/10

Hormone balancer

Periodic face mask, £27, wearefaace.com

Periodic face mask, £27, wearefaace.com.  A gel face mask to wear at any stage of the menstrual cycle

Periodic face mask, £27, wearefaace.com. A gel face mask to wear at any stage of the menstrual cycle

What is that? A gel face mask (£27) to wear at any stage of the menstrual cycle. It’s the most versatile of all the products I’ve tried, although the name is a bit off-putting.

Apply it as a light base before your usual moisturizer or thickly for a heavy mask that can be left on overnight.

It claims to do different things based on your hormone levels; either hydrating dry skin or balancing oiliness. And for every mask sold, the company donates a pack of vintage products to someone in need.

Verdict: The first time I use it is when I have PMS and my skin is most susceptible to breakouts. I try it as an overnight mask and in the morning my skin is dewy and plumped up.

After my period, in the second and third week, I try it in thin layers as a serum under moisturizer, and I find that the hyaluronic acid helps keep my skin smooth.

It’s easy to use, with no need to keep tabs on what week you’re in, but I’m not sure it does everything it promises. Sure, it improves skin hydration and texture, but it doesn’t prevent breakouts or minimize pore size – I have to add other products for those.

Best for: Middle-aged women juggling work and family. 7/10

Instant shine

The Body Shop products to use with its rules guide on: thebodyshop.com

The Body Shop does not have a specific range of

The Body Shop does not have a specific ‘menstrual care’ range, but does offer a detailed online guide to using its products during the menstrual cycle.

What is that? The Body Shop does not have a specific ‘menstrual care’ range, but does offer a detailed online guide to using its products during the menstrual cycle.

Verdict: I start when I have my period and my skin is at its worst. I’m steered towards a cleansing or hydrating mask, so I try the Mediterranean Oatmeal Almond Milk Instant Soothing Mask (£18), which promises to gently relieve dry skin. It smells good and is soothing, but my skin looks the same.

When I try the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask (£18), however, I’m sold. It absorbs excess oil, draws out impurities and exfoliates – ideal for eliminating breakouts that have appeared in the week before your period.

In the second week, when oil production increases, I use Tea Tree Skin Clearing Face Wash and Toner (£9 each). As someone with combination skin, this works well.

In week three, when I ovulate and my skin is at its best, I add a vitamin C sheet mask (£5) which gives an instant glow, and an Edelweiss daily serum concentrate (30 £) to maintain shine. .

By the fourth week, I can see a difference in my skin. This is normally when oil and sebum production increases, so I start using a tea tree oil (£10) to prevent blemishes.

I’m entering my next menstrual cycle with healthier looking skin than I’ve had in months.

Best for: Problem skin. 9/10

Relief from PMS

The Urban Veda Reviving range, urbanveda.com

Urban Veda Reviving Range, urbanveda.com.  This Ayurvedic skincare range is designed to naturally balance the skin of the whole body, especially during hormonal cycles.

Urban Veda’s Reviving range, urbanveda.com. This Ayurvedic skincare range is designed to naturally balance the skin of the whole body, especially during hormonal cycles.

What is that? This Ayurvedic skincare range is designed to naturally balance the skin of the whole body, especially during hormonal cycles.

Verdict: I try Revitalizing Face Oil (£29.99), which contains evening primrose oil – said to help with PMS and hot flashes in postmenopausal women – and shatavari, an herb said to help with female hormonal balance.

It smells great (the range contains aromatherapy oils) and my skin is gradually brighter and plumper.

Unlike any other skincare range, this one also has body products – from an Invigorating Lotion (£12.99) to an Invigorating Rose Body Oil (£35) – meaning that I can balance hormonal changes everywhere, not just on my face.

When I develop dryness on my legs before my period, rose oil really helps.

I’m also starting to use an Ayurvedic dry body brush (£17.50), massaging briskly before the shower to improve circulation and detoxify the body. I’m not sure if it’s toxin free, but it definitely leaves my skin smooth enough to continue using it.

Best for: Women who want full body treatments. 9/10