Premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Most of us know what it does to our moods but what does it exactly do to a woman’s body and skin?
When the body realises that it’s not pregnant, secretion of the hormones–estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone – stops. This causes uncomfortable symptoms of PMS up to the first day of your period. Since the brain has functioned and adapted to these hormones, there is an instability when secretion stops. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which affect your mood and your stress level, are also affected. This results in a dull complexion, making us look tired and feel sluggish.
Larger pores with acne breakouts
Estrogen is the hormone that contributes to our skin’s radiance. A healthy estrogen level can increase the production of hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin, as well as help, reduce pore size. Testosterone, on the other hand, increases the production of sebum, indirectly enlarging pores. About five days before the start of the menstrual cycle, hormone levels start to drop. Testosterone becomes more dominant than estrogen. What happens then? Well, acne and oily skin happen.
One of the most common issues during this period is bloating. How does it happen? Well, estrogen and progesterone fluctuations cause fluid retention, particularly around the waist. That is why women gain weight leading up to their periods. However, this is water weight and not fat. About three days into the menstrual cycle, this will subside. Still, food cravings may be an issue for some women during their menstrual cycles and if not kept in check, weight gain will be a bigger and permanent problem.
Craving for rich foods
Just before your period, your stress hormones run amok. A lower serotonin level also increases your craving for sweets as well as salty and greasy foods. The reason is that our body needs these to make serotonin. This causes an imbalance as we continue to load up on sugar and fat to increase our happy hormones. The next time you feel the urge for sweet or rich savoury foods even after a meal, swap sugary snacks with fruits.
Increased sun sensitivity
Sun protection is vital during your period. Your hormones are pretty much imbalanced and the ones that cause clogged pores can also increase redness and sun sensitivity. That is because our skin is more vulnerable to ultraviolet (UV) radiation before our menstrual week. The imbalance in our hormones will cause melanocytes, the cells that produce pigments, to produce and deposit excess pigments.
For those already battling with skin and body issues, the effects of PMS can make things more unpleasant. Do not panic. About three days into your period, your hormone level will balance out and your skin will restore its radiance and clarity. The excess water and blood will also be flushed from your system and bloating will subside. Drink plenty of water to get rid of water retention and don’t cave into pre-period food cravings. Over-indulgence in rich foods will have repercussions on your waistline in the long run. Food high in salt and fat, as well as alcohol trigger the body to trap water as well.
There is no magic pill to rid our body of PMS forever but there are things we can do that not only help manage our period woes, it would also give us a healthier body to combat all of life’s ups and downs. Things like having a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep and rest, and ensuring a good skincare routine. So what are you waiting for? Take your well-being in your hands and make that change now.