Our skin & our menstrual cycle

Have you ever wondered why some days your skin is glowing and other days it’s dry full of breakouts? Our skin is the largest organ in the body and it is the only organ we need to take care of from inside AND the outside. It is important we consider what natural changes occur throughout our cycle, including hormonal changes. This can help understand skin health and what we can do to assist.

Our skin sheds old, dead cells and replaces them with new ones. Our endometrial lining sheds old, dead cells and replaces them with new ones too. Is it any coincidence that on average our menstrual cycles are 28 days and that our skin renews itself every 28 days? Let’s closely examine some of the big hormone players (progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone) during our cycle and what impact they are having on the skin.


The follicular phase of our cycle, which is our period (day 1 of bleeding) through to ovulation. This is our yin phase.

When bleeding occurs, oestrogen and progesterone are low. So if our uterus is losing blood, it makes sense that our skin is likely dry, dull and lifeless. On top of this, it’s most likely that any lines or wrinkles (we think we have) appear more obvious. (Book your initial cosmetic acupuncture appointment at this time so we can easily see wrinkles/line.)

What can we do?

  • Rest
  • Get lots of sleep
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, sun exposure.
  • Eat lots of root vegetables
  • Eat lots of good fats, avocados, nuts, fish
  • Drink bone broth or mushroom broth
  • Drink water
  • Moisturise
  • Add a rose water spray to our skin care regime for the first few days of our period.

Our oestrogen levels slowly rise leading up to ovulation, so we might notice a healthy skin glow by around day 9 (remembering day 1 is the first day of bleeding).

Between day 10 to day 13, our oestrogen will be at its peak. This is also when our testosterone levels will begin to rise. The skin will be rich in natural moisture and collagen which will makes skin stronger.

Based on a 28 day cycle (a normal cycle can range from 21-35 days), ovulation occurs on day 14. More often than not, our skin will look its best at ovulation and for the next five days until testosterone and oestrogen will begin to decrease. Oestrogen is at its peak levels now, and gives our skin that desired healthy glow.

Oestrogen in Chinese medicine is considered a yin substance. It is a moistening and nourishing hormone, as is often reflected in the skin. With high oestrogen and a rising testosterone, we often find ourselves with a positive outlook and good moods and good skin. A big source of our self-esteem is the condition our skin is in, so it makes sense that we are in a good mood when our skin is at it’s best.

Researchers have found the rising levels of oestrogen and testosterone in the few days leading to ovulation coincide with shinier hair, a sweeter genital smell and taste, clearer eyes, a desire to expose more skin.


The luteal phase is the second half of our cycle, from ovulation until our next period (or pregnancy). This is generally 2 weeks. If our cycle is shorter or longer, the difference will be in the follicular phase.

During this phase, premenstrual symptoms (PMS) may start to present. It is important to remember PMS is common, however it is not normal. Bloating, cramping, lower back pain and other PMS can have a big impact on our livelihood. It’s important to mention any symptoms noticed in this phase in the next consultation with a health care professional.

Progesterone is more yang and heating in nature compared to oestrogen. As progesterone rises, so does the body temperature. This can sometimes cause night sweats and irritability.

With this heat comes annoying skin changes. At this time leading into our next period, we may experience increased oiliness and breakouts (and possibly some puffiness). If we experience a hormone imbalance during our cycle, it can cause our sebaceous glands to go a little crazy, expressed as a skin breakout.

What can we do?

  • Get lots of sleep
  • Avoid too much screen time
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, sun exposure
  • Eat warm foods that are easy to digest
  • Eat lots of good fats, avocados, nuts, fish
  • Drink bone broth / mushroom broth
  • Drink water
  • Don’t pick at pimples/blackheads
  • Drink rose bud tea
  • Meditate.

We expect some of these subtle changes throughout our cycle. But if we are noticing big changes in our skin’s appearance, we can track changes in a period diary to see when what occurs when. It’s important to keep in mind that sometimes we get a different hormone pattern for each ovary. This means often our bi-monthly periods can be different.

To discuss your skin and facial acupuncture, contact us or book here.

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