In partnership with our friends at Curology, the customized skincare subscription, we're exploring how to maintain healthy skin when your hormones are in flux.
Curology pairs you with an expert dermatology provider, who creates a custom mix of products (cleanser, moisturizer, and prescription cream) to fit your skin's unique needs. And if you've ever had a hormonal breakout, while on your period or during a pregnancy, you know how tough it can be to find skincare that actually works.
We also asked for expert tips from Dr. Corina Dunlap, a board certified naturopathic doctor and medical researcher specializing in women's health. Read on for her advice on how to maintain healthy skin during your period.
Stay hydrated. Every cell in your body requires adequate water to do its job (aid in circulation, detox, energy production, and replication). The skin is very sensitive to any fluctuations in hydration, and especially throughout the latter half of our menstrual cycle, before, and during bleeding. Dehydrated skin can also appear duller, more wrinkled, and is more prone to acne.
Avoid refined sugars. Diets high in refined sugar and carbohydrates increase blood sugar levels and trigger a series of hormonal changes that can promote acne.
Increase your protein. Adequate protein consumption can shift your skin's hormonal milieu favorably by producing less of the active form of testosterone in your body, and enhancing levels of estradiol in your skin, both of which reduce sebum production and reduce the likelihood of breakouts.
Get your Omega-3s. EPA and DHA constitute essential fatty acids that help support the healthy cell membranes of your skin. Incorporating more omega-3s in your diet or through supplements can help promote clear, supple, resilient skin health especially through hormonal fluctuations in our cycle.
Consider going dairy-free. Dairy consumption has long been associated with acne. It's believed that the hormonal components of dairy can influence acne-prone skin. So, if you struggle with acne, it could be worth removing dairy from your diet, even on a trial basis.
Get adequate sleep. It's not called beauty rest for nothing. Truly though, sleep can help reset and regulate our stress hormone, also known as cortisol. When cortisol is too high, it can lead to inflammation and a worsening complexion.
Sweat it out. Ever wonder why your skin seems to glow after a particularly sweaty workout? It's not just in your head: exercise aids in circulation and helps detoxify your skin cells. Just remember to stay hydrated!
Swap out toxic products. Many skincare and makeup products contain ingredients that are known endocrine disruptors. In other words, these products could actually be altering your natural hormonal balance and irritating your skin. Be sure to investigate the ingredients for everything you put on your skin. The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep ® Cosmetics Database is a great place to start.
Eat your vegetables. Consuming the rainbow of whole foods (specifically foods that are rich in Vitamins A, C, and Zinc) have been shown to inhibit 5-alpha-reductase, the enzyme that helps to produce the active form of testosterone.