How Does Your Hair Change During Your Menstrual Cycle?
It’s easy to think of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) as something that happens a few weeks before your period, but if we are being honest, hormone fluctuations happen throughout your cycle. We often discuss various premenstrual symptoms but little is said about the link between hair, hormones and your cycle. Have you ever noticed that there are certain days of the month when your hair looks great and other days when you are just having an unexplainable bad hair day?
The fluctuations of the menstrual cycle can, in some cases, directly and indirectly, affect the scalp and hair. In this post, we’ll break things down based on your period cycle to help you ensure your hair looks and feels its best no matter the time of the month. We will look at the different phases of the menstrual cycle and when you’ll need to moisturize more, wash your hair more or simply when to try out a new hairstyle.
Let’s get started, shall we?
How does hair change?
Your menstrual cycle is regulated by specific hormones that can directly affect how you look and feel. The way your hair behaves is very unique to you. Limited research exists around hair and the menstrual cycle, but we do know hormones can impact how we feel, and there is evidence to suggest they can also impact our hair’s appearance and even cause dryness or oiliness. Other factors such as environment, stress, and diet can impact changes to the hair.
Let’s discuss each of these phases and learn more.
1) Post period
There’s something thrilling about the time when your period ends right? You probably look and feel your best in the final days of your period, and the week or so following. During this portion of your cycle, your estrogen levels begin to increase and testosterone, which is responsible for triggering oil production decreases. While this may be good news for your skin as you'll experience less sebum buildup and a clearer complexion, a reduction in oil on your scalp can lead to drier hair. Now, if you naturally have drier hair this is the time when you’ll want to be keener with moisturizing and deep conditioning post menses and after menses.
Regardless of Whether you have a normal, oily, or dry scalp, this is would be the ideal time of the month to do your deep-conditioning. You may also need to wash your hair less due to decreased oil production. If you would like to extend your time between shampooing but want to maintain the vibrancy, use hair moisturizing oil serum on your ends and dry conditioner anywhere it's needed.
Roughly 14 days before your period begins, and a week before all those dreaded PMS effects kick in, an egg starts making its way out of your ovary and through your fallopian tube to the uterus. This also happens to be the time when you are fertile and likely to conceive. According to some studies, women tend to appear more attractive during ovulation. During this phase in the cycle, we tend to feel most confident, and energetic and have an increased sex drive.
When ovulating more estrogen is produced, which triggers the production of luteinizing hormone( LH). LH is responsible for a slight increase in oil production. This slight increase is actually a good thing for your hair and scalp, which were experiencing dryness the week before. Meaning your scalp and hair should look and feel pretty damn good. Feel free to continue washing and conditioning as normal, but do use a gentle hand since your senses are heightened during this period. Intensive scrubbing can leave your scalp feeling overworked.
The levels of estrogen decrease and the levels of progesterone and testosterone increase about a week before your period. This leads to increased oil production in the skin glands which becomes apparent on your face and is why premenstrual breakouts are so common. Glands on the scalp are not left behind and also increase oil production, which, for some women, makes hair look and feel oily in the days leading up to their menses.
While this might not be an ideal time to dye your hair, it is the time when you’ll want to use a dry shampoo.
4) Period days
The period week is the time when our levels of estrogen are at rock bottom and we tend to feel tired, and run down, and our bodies are more sensitive. The last thing we need is a bad hair day. For some women during this time, their hair looks duller, and some even say their scalp feels more sensitive when they have any hair processing done. This can be explained by the extra prostaglandins that are circulating in the system and is also the reason why cramps sometimes feel like they are everywhere and not just in the lower abdomen.
Your early period days are the time to be a little gentle with yourself and invest in some self-care. The same goes for your hair and scalp. Moisturizing will go a long way and spritz when needed. If you notice your scalp is particularly sensitive, reschedule any appointments that may cause discomforts, such as hair extensions, protective styling, big dye jobs, or chemical straightening.
Throughout your cycle, your hair undergoes a number of changes all thanks to your hormones. These may impact how you tend to your hair. Our hair types are all different and as a result, your hair routine and the choice of products you use may vary from one person to another. There is no standard of what you should do with your hair. Your hair your rules! Simply use this blog post as a guide to know what to expect and when.
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