Your Skin Is the Driest During *This* Time of Month, According to Derms

Photo: Getty/Constantine Johnny
I'm sorry, but the expression "dry as the desert" needs to be rewritten to "dry as winter 2020." Because, if the moans and groans of the Well+Good office, all of my friends, and you—dear reader—are to be believed, the start of the new year has been thirsty. But what if I told you that dryness may be an issue that goes beyond skin-deep (like, all the way to your hormones)? Derms say that specific phases of your menstrual cycle may be causing—sigh—facial hormonal dryness.

"Your estrogen and progesterone levels are lowest when your period starts. It is during this time that your skin is most susceptible to dryness," says Mamina Turegano, MD, a dermatologist with Apostrophe. If you're thinking: "Hey wait, I usually break out around my period," that's because the downturn in skin moisture causes your skin to over produce oil to compensate, which can lead to breakouts. And all the flaky fun doesn't stop once your period is over. New York City-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, says that since low hormone levels linger into the week following your period, you may find yourself jonesing for extra moisturizer then, too. "Your skin is likely the driest in the week after your period, when your hormone levels are low," he adds.

As if plucked straight from Isaac Newton's theory, however, those dipping hormones will have an equal and opposite reaction come about seven days following your period. "Hormones start to rise in the second week of your menstrual cycle, culminating in ovulation mid-cycle," says Dr. Zeichner. Meaning, your skin will retrieve some of its dewiness seven days following your period.

Until then, he says you can tweak your normal skin-care regimen to be extra moisturizing to help counter the dryness. Try swapping both your cleanser and moisturizer for ones with gentle, moisture-boosting ingredients. "The Dove Fragrance-Free Beauty Bar ($4) is among my favorite cleanser recommendations. It is safe enough for both the face and the body and contains moisturizing ingredients to hydrate the skin while you cleanse," says Dr. Zeichner. Once you've wiped away makeup and the dirt of the day, he recommends Eve Lom Moisture Cream ($150) or Vaseline All-Over Body Balm ($6). "Cosmetic-grade petrolatum forms a protective, breathable seal over the skin, but should not block the pores," says Dr. Zeichner. Until the weather throws another wrench in your beauty plans, you can consider this dry skin crisis averted.

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