Would you buy a face cream with a name like this? ‘Period skin’ is a real thing and now there is treatment named after it
- As hormones peak and dip over each 28-day cycle, so does the quality of skin
- There is now a skincare trend that promises to tweak itself to our cycles
- FEMAIL asks if it is really worth investing in new hormone focused skincare
You know the pattern: one week your skin looks great, the next it’s dull. Then you get a breakout that takes another week to shift.
‘Period skin’ is something most women can relate to; as hormones peak and dip over each 28-day cycle, so does the quality of our skin. It’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’.
As you menstrate, oestrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest, so skin can be dry and sensitive. A week or so later, oestrogen levels rise before ovulation and skin generally looks better. But as progesterone peaks in the second half of the cycle, oil production surges, which can lead to blemishes.
As hormones peak and dip over each 28-day cycle, so does the quality of skin. There is now a skincare trend that promises to tweak itself to our cycles
The idea is that if we tweak our skincare to match up with our cycles, we can meet our skin’s needs throughout the month so it stays steady — rather than fluctuating along with our hormones.
But is it worth it, or just a gimmick to make us buy a range of products when one would do? We put five brands to the test.
Typology Woman Periodic Serums, £54.30, uk.typology.com
Typology Woman Periodic Serums, £54.30, uk.typology.com. This France-based skincare brand offers four serums, one to be used in each week of the menstrual cycle
What is it? This France-based skincare brand offers four serums, one to be used in each week of the menstrual cycle.
Week one’s serum, for when female hormones are lowest and skin is often dry, is ‘hydrating and soothing’; week two is for ‘suppleness and radiance’; week three is ‘hydrating and astringent’ to cut through excess oiliness; while week four is ‘mattifying and anti-blemish’.
Verdict: I can’t tell the difference between them — they all seem to leave my skin happily hydrated. But, then, isn’t that the point of period skincare? I’m not supposed to notice my skin change — the serums are meant to tackle the hormonal changes for me, so I’m left with balanced skin all the time.
And my skin does look smoother and steadier throughout my cycle: I have far fewer blemishes than normal in week four.
The packaging is beautifully minimalist, but I find the pipette fiddly and hard to use. And these are expensive, however you look at it.
You use each serum for only one week per month, but I find myself going through them quicker than I thought.
Unlike other ranges, they’re easy to incorporate into your existing skincare routine — simply add in after cleansing and before moisturising.
Best for: Women who have serious money to splash out on their skincare. 7/10
Period Faace Face Mask, £27, wearefaace.com
Period Faace Face Mask, £27, wearefaace.com. A gel face mask to wear at any stage of the menstrual cycle
What is it? A gel face mask (£27) to wear at any stage of the menstrual cycle. It’s the most versatile of all the products I tried — even if the name is a little off-putting.
Apply it as a lightweight primer before your normal moisturiser or in a thick layer for a heavy mask that can be left on overnight.
It claims to do different things depending on your hormone levels; either hydrating dry skin or balancing oiliness. And for every mask sold, the company donates a pack of period 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 feels dewy and plump.
After my period, in weeks two and three, I try it in thin layers as a serum under moisturiser, and find the hyaluronic acid does help 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 hydration and skin texture, but it doesn’t prevent breakouts or minimise pore size — I have to add in other products for those.
Best for: Busy midlifers juggling work and family. 7/10
The Body Shop products to be used with its period guide at: thebodyshop.com
The Body Shop doesn’t have a specific ‘period skincare’ range, but it offers an in-depth online guide to using its products during the menstrual cycle
What is it? The Body Shop doesn’t have a specific ‘period skincare’ range, but it offers an in-depth 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 directed to acleansing or hydrating mask, so I try the Mediterranean Almond Milk With Oats Instant Soothing Mask (£18), which promises to gently relieve dry skin. It smells lovely, and is soothing, but my skin seems the same.
When I try the Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask (£18), however, I’m sold. It absorbs excess oil, removes impurities and exfoliates — ideal for clearing breakouts that have cropped up in the week before your period.
In week two, when oil production increases, I use the Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash and Toner (£9 each). As someone with combination skin, this works well.
In week three, when I’m ovulating and my skin is at its best, I add in a Vitamin C Glow Sheet Mask (£5) which gives an instant glow, and Edelweiss Daily Serum Concentrate (£30) to keep the radiance going.
By week four I can see a difference in my skin. This is normally when oil and sebum production surges, so I start using a Tea Tree Oil (£10) to prevent any blemishes.
I enter my next period cycle with healthier-looking skin than I’ve had for months.
Best for: Problem skin. 9/10
Urban Veda’s Reviving range, urbanveda.com
Urban Veda’s Reviving range, urbanveda.com. This Ayurvedic skincare range is designed to naturally balance the skin all over the body, particularly during hormonal cycles
What is it? This Ayurvedic skincare range is designed to naturally balance the skin all over the body, particularly during hormonal cycles.
Verdict: I try the Reviving Facial Oil (£29.99), which contains evening primrose oil — believed to help with PMS and hot flushes in menopausal women — and shatavari, a herb believed to help female hormonal balance.
It smells amazing (the range contains aromatherapy oils) and my skin gradually looks brighter and plumper.
Unlike any other period skincare range, this also has body products — from a Reviving Lotion (£12.99) to a Reviving Rose Body Oil (£35) — which means I can balance hormonal changes everywhere, not just on my face.
When I develop dryness on my legs before my period, the rose oil really helps.
I also start using an Ayurvedic Dry Body Brush (£17.50), briskly massaging myself pre-shower to improve circulation and detoxify the body. I’m not sure I’m toxinfree, but it definitely leaves my skin feeling smooth enough to keep using it.
Best for: Women who want full-body treatments. 9/10
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