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Trying to get our skin into tip-top health can feel like a never-ending challenge. From looking after what we are putting on our skin to looking at what we are putting in our body. However, for women, there's also the matter of your monthly cycle to contend with, which can have much more of an impact than you might think on your skin's overall health.
Skincare expert Eavanna Breen is here to enlighten us on just how important it is to be mindful of your cycle when caring for your skin. Below, Eavanna answers our questions on everything from what skin types are impacted the most by their cycle to how effective supplements, like Cleanmarine For Women, are on your skin's health.
B: So first things first Eavanna, overall how does your cycle affect the health of your skin?
E: During the menstrual cycle, the brain, ovaries, and uterus work together and communicate through hormones. Oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are the hormones that fluctuate during menstruation and affect the epidermis's characteristics (the outermost layer of your skin). Oestrogen can increase skin thickness and dermal water content, improve skin barrier function, enhance wound healing and affects fat deposition. Collagen content, skin pigmentation, and UV susceptibility are also influenced by oestrogen.
During cycle days 1-6, day one being the start of your period, hormone levels are low, so there is less stimulation of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid in the skin during this time.
Cycle days 7-15: Oestrogen levels start to increase, stimulating cell turnover, which is when you will look and feel your best.
Cycle days 16-28: There is progesterone dominance which causes the stimulation of the oil glands. You are more likely to get skin disruptions during this time. Acne breakouts and dull skin are more likely.
B: What skin types are the most susceptible to being impacted by their cycle?
E: All skin types can be affected by hormones; during the early phase of the cycle, dry skin types are at risk, and towards the end of the cycle, during days 16-28, oily skin is more at risk. Sensitive skin is likely to be more inflamed during days 16-28.
B: How do hormones affect oily skin?
E: Androgens which are the male sex hormones, but both women and men have them, are responsible for stimulating the oil glands. When androgens bind to the receptors on the oil glands, they stimulate more sebum production. Oily skin types will have more androgens in their system, which can lead to acne and breakouts.
B: How do hormones affect dry skin?
E: Oestrogen affects the amount of sebum you produce and determines your skin's water content and how your skin barrier functions. If your skin barrier becomes impaired in any way, it can lead to trans epidermal water loss. The result is dry, dehydrated, and sometimes irritated skin. During cycle days 1-6, people with dry skin will need more hydration internally and externally. Applying a hydrating serum or richer moisturiser will help to minimise the effects of the hormones.
B: Does nutrition have an impact on our skin health?
E: It is vital to consume a balanced and varied diet to maintain the health of your skin. For your skin to function efficiently, it requires certain nutrients to be able to perform its functions. What you put into your body shows up on your skin, so it can be helpful to support what you eat with supplementation, notably if your diet lacks essential nutrients.
Omega-3’s are essential fats; your body constructs hormones from Omega-3’s, but it cannot make Omega-3, so it is necessary to get them from your diet. You can get Omega 3 from seafood; and in certain plant-based foods, like avocado or chia seeds.
Vitamin D affects many different functions in the body, including contributing to the normal function of the immune system. There are three ways to get this fat-soluble vitamin D. They are food, supplements, and sunlight. The problem with sunlight is that, as you already know, too much sunlight is not good for skin health and aging.
Our bodies can only store small amounts of vitamin B, so it is essential to ensure that you are replenishing your B vitamins daily. Vitamin B2 contributes to the maintenance of normal skin, and so if you’re lacking in this vitamin you may consider actively trying to include more in your diet. If you’re not getting it through food, you could consider a supplement such as Cleanmarine For Women.
Vitamins B1 and B6 contribute to the maintenance of normal psychological function. When we are stressed, our body releases the stress hormone cortisol, triggering our oil glands to produce more oil, which can lead to increased breakouts.
B: How related is acne to your cycle/hormones?
E: The androgen hormones work by switching on sebaceous glands causing them to increase sebum production. The increased sebum will cause your pores to enlarge to cope with the excess; as the sebum builds in the pores, it mixes with skin cells and can become clogged. Inflammation can occur at this stage, making it difficult for oxygen to penetrate the follicle, leading to the perfect breeding ground for bacteria resulting in a spot. As progesterone increases during the days 16-28, your cell turnover slows down, this is when your skin will appear dull, and breakouts will occur.
B: At what point in your cycle would you see your hormones have the most impact on your skin?
E: The answer to this question lies in your skin type. If you have dry skin, you need to take more care in your cycle's early stages. If you have oily skin, you need to be mindful towards the end of your cycle, and this is when I would encourage the use of ingredients such as salicylic acid to help minimise the build-up in your pores.
B: Does our age impact how much of an effect our cycle has on our skin?
E: Yes, it does! In our teens to early 20s, sebaceous glands increase in size, and androgens cause increased sebum production, making our skin oiler. Oestrogens have a role to play in so many different aspects of our skin, including skin surface lipids, sebum production, skin thickness, collagen, and more. When menopause nears, oestrogen starts to deplete once women reach perimenopausal age, the skin will begin to change. Wound healing will slow down, and the skin becomes thinner due to less collagen; it is less hydrated due to reduced levels of hyaluronic acid and less blood flow to the skin.
B: Finally, how does our lifestyle impact how much of an affect our cycle has on our skin?
E: Hormones play an essential role in many of our bodily functions, including sleep quality, energy metabolism, immune function, and more. When hormones become unbalanced, they can have an enormous effect on the skin. Healthy lifestyle choices will go a long way to helping maintain balanced hormones and clear skin.
When we sleep, our skin has its own circadian rhythm, where it performs certain functions at certain times throughout the night. If you do not get a full night’s sleep, you may well be missing out on the opportunity for your skin to renew and repair itself. Inadequate sleep has the same effect on the body and hormone levels as stress.
Exercising is a great way to help balance hormones in the body. The important thing to note is not to overexercise.
Alcohol intake can contribute to hormonal imbalance, often leading to insulin resistance, be mindful of how much you drink throughout the week and how it impacts your skin.
Diet has an enormous impact on how your body functions. Getting nutrient-dense foods in your diet will optimise your hormonal functions. Even small changes in diet will have a profound effect on hormonal balance. There are many positive changes that we can make to help maintain balanced hormones and healthy skin.
Cleanmarine For Women is an all-in-one multivitamin, Omega 3, and phytonutrient supplement designed to support energy levels, healthy skin and hormone balance. Each capsule is packed with Omega-3 with Phospholipids, Vitamins B1, B2, B6, and D3, as well as Rosemary Extract and Soy Isoflavones. Suitable from ages 15-40 years. You can find Cleanmarine For Women in your local pharmacy or health store.
Visit Cleanmarine.ie to learn more, or find them on social media at @cleanmarineirl.
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