Skincare For Your Menstrual Phase

For many years, I've mulled over the layers of rhythm in our lives. As humans, rhythm plays such a vital role in the ways we exist in our bodies and wrap our minds around how to relate to the world around us. Rhythms ground us in our day-to-day, within the cycle of the year, and even help to orient us in the birth-death-rebirth cycle of life.

Awhile back, I became particularly curious about the overlay of rhythms as they relate to the menstrual cycle, and how those rhythms were reflected in nature as a whole. So I began to observe in my own body and talk with others who were interested in rooting into this ancient way of perceiving this sacred rite. Here's what I've found to be true for myself...

Let's begin at the technical beginning of each menstrual cycle: the menstrual phase. This phase is marked by menstrual bleeding, which occurs when the lining of the uterus is shed because pregnancy has not occurred. This phase usually lasts about 3-7 days.

The menstrual phase of your cycle corresponds to the season of Winter and the New Moon, the most yin, inward, quiet time. In terms of our natural cycles as humans on this earth, this is a time to rest, turn inward, and conserve energy. Elementally, I tend to think of the menstrual phase as corresponding to the Water element when the emotional body is especially fluid and emotional sensitivity tends to be heightened. We feel a lot and are very in touch with our emotions.

This isn't a bad thing! Our emotions communicate with us and we want to be mindful to not shut them down but rather allow them to move through us as we acknowledge what the energetics of those emotions are.

During menstruation, the innermost layer of the uterus (the endometrium) is being shed.

Let that sink in.

As Tami Lynn Kent says in her book Wild Feminine, "The uterus is our direct connection to the sacred; the womb is a woman's place for co-creating with spirit and mothering her creations." The innermost layer of this powerful physical and energetic organ releases at the beginning of each cycle.

This is an energetic surrender. A natural dying back just as nature does in the Winter in order to make space for what is birthed the following Spring. This is a time for release, a time to shed anything unaligned and to go inward to connect with what is essential. It is a physical, energetic, spiritual cleansing.

Some say during the menstrual phase, the veil between the spirit world and earthly world is thinnest. This means intuition is heightened, messages from the otherworld are crystal clear, and we are often able to get a felt sense of deep self-knowing and self-trust.

Hormonally speaking, estrogen and progesterone levels are low during the menstrual phase. For your skin, low hormone levels can lead to drier skin and increased sensitivity. Some individuals may experience breakouts due to inflammation and cortisol, which can be higher during this time.

This cortisol aspect means this is a time to especially focus on decreasing stress, resting, deep nourishment, slowing down when possible, and doing less.

Skin care should focus on gentle cleansing, hydration & moisture, barrier protection, incorporating skin-soothing ingredients, minimal exfoliation, and, of course, avoiding irritating ingredients.

Here are our recommendations:

Gently cleanse with Sirenis Cleansing Balm, making sure to slow down, take some deeper breaths, and allow the chamomile, vetiver, and lavender essential oils to harmonize and ground you. Sirenis was formulated for the most sensitive skin. It is deeply nurturing for skin, it calms redness, soothes irritation, and nourishes dryness while gently cleansing away make-up, sweat, dirt, etc.

Hydrate your skin with Ceres Replenishing Tonic. This hydrating, antioxidant-rich facial mist contains glycerin, which acts as a humectant and draws water into your skin. The blend of handmade hydrosols mend and protect the skin barrier while calming inflammation, and the house-made herbal extracts are known to promote collagen maintenance and production while repairing skin at the cellular level. The Tulsi hydrosol is a particularly good fit for this phase as it cleanses and purifies skin, awakens intuition, and clears away sluggishness.

Moisturize with Lumen Repair Serum and Anam Cara Restorative Balm. This duo is the ultimate in skin-soothing, nourishing, and repairing. Potent plant extracts infused in raw, unrefined oils balance and restore your skin's lipid barrier, mend tissue, and moisturize and nourish the skin without feeling heavy or clogging pores.

At least once during your menstrual phase, treat your skin to Soma Hydrating Mask or Mel Honey Mask. Soma is a great fit for those whose skin tends toward dehydration, sensitivity, and redness while Mel contains potent antioxidants and nourishing-yet-balancing oils and plant butters for those who may be experiencing blemishing, congestion, or that unique combination skin that often pops up during this phase in which part of your skin feels dry and rough and other areas feel oily.

Lifestyle Tips:

In addition to giving your skin some extra tending during your menstrual phase, there are some other ways to nurture your body and spirit in these first few days of your cycle.

  • Hydrating foods: consume foods with high water and mineral content like fresh fruit, bone broth, and herbal teas to keep your skin hydrated from the inside.
  • Nutrient-dense foods: consume foods that are highly nourishing, easily digestible, and grounding such as leafy greens, grass-fed meats, butter/ghee, eggs, and slow cooked root vegetables.
  • Hydrate with minerals: make sure you're drinking enough water with minerals, especially magnesium.
  • Stress management: practice meditation, mindful movement, yoga nidra, or breathwork to help manage stress (which can impact skin).
  • Rest: prioritize getting 7-9 (closer to 9) hours of sleep each night during these few days.
  • Spend time in nature: find a place outside (near water, if you can) to sit and rest, read, write, or just listen. Can you attune to the energetics of the earth? Slow, nourishing, meditative - can you entrain to the Great Mother's natural rhythms of ebb & flow, inhale & exhale, rise & fall, rest & activity?

If you'd like to dive deeper into the energetics of this phase, Replenish & Restore: Winter Beauty & Belonging contains a lot of applicable information for nourishing yourself during this phase as the Winter season corresponds to the menstrual phase of your cycle. You'll find recipes, plant medicine, and rituals to honor this slow, inward time.

As always, pay attention to your own body and skin. What do you notice about how it shifts throughout your cycle? What do you observe during your menstrual phase?

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