Being cyclical beings, our hormones are ever-changing. And our menstrual cycle can undoubtedly affect our skin and its reactions, due to the way our hormones fluctuate throughout the cycle. Fertility Naturopath Alice Flannery walks us through 5 things we can do today to support our skin health while trying to conceive.
“The needs of our skin will fluctuate as we move through the different life stages so it is important to be gentle with ourselves and to embrace the different seasons of our skin.”
First things first.
Getting to know how our cycle impacts our skin.
- Menstrual phase: low progesterone & low oestrogen – low oil production & barrier function, inflammation and breakouts
- Follicular phase: increasing oestrogen – skin is generally balanced and glowing
- Ovulation: oestrogen peak, progesterone rising – skin is plump and glowing, increase in oil production may lead to breakouts
- Luteal phase: high progesterone = high oil production, more prone to breakouts
Breakouts that occur pre-menstrually or around ovulation suggest an imbalance in the ratio of oestrogen to progesterone. Healthy ovulation and adequate detoxification is important for keeping our oestrogen/progesterone ratio in check. An imbalance in the ratio of these hormones can lead to dysfunctional sebum regulation, issues with liver detoxification and affect skin barrier function
1. Adopt a diet to support skin
From an internal perspective, focus on a fresh, whole food diet to prepare your body for pregnancy and support skin health.
Focus on food sources of nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, choline, iodine, folate, iron & B vitamins.
Additionally, ensuring you are supporting your liver by eating a well-balanced diet, eliminating alcohol, reducing caffeine and ensuring adequate water intake. The liver plays a crucial role in skin health (and fertility) as a healthy liver means healthy hormones.
2. Manage stress to manage breakouts
Incorporating stress management practices such as
- Gentle movement,
- Deep belly breathing and,
- Time in nature
To reduce the impact of stress on the skin and support repair and regeneration.
3. Know your surroundings can influence your skin
Eliminating toxic substances from your diet and environment, including:
- Household chemicals found in personal care products,
- Cleaning products and,
4. Avoid topical products that can cause harm
Topically, avoiding synthetic vitamin A based products in pregnancy is advised, instead opting for more natural alternatives that are pregnancy safe.
Investing in a body oil to soothe dry pregnancy skin and nourish a growing belly can also be beneficial
5. Internal preparation is key
Begin to think about your conception journey in advance, where possible, from how you are nourishing your body, to ensuring you are taking a good quality prenatal supplement as this will have a flow on effect to the skin and help to support skin health and integrity through pregnancy.
Heading into pregnancy and breaking out at the thought of a breakout? Have you read Naturopath Alice Flannery top tips for ‘Perfecting Your Pregnancy Skin’?