5 Beauty Treatments NOT To Get If You're On Your Period

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
Scheduling beauty services, like manicures, pedicures, facials, and waxing, has become such a part of our daily lives that we typically don’t think twice about the timing. When they’re needed, it only takes a few clicks to book an appointment and get the job done. But it turns out, there are some treatments that should, perhaps surprisingly, be planned with your menstrual cycle in mind. (Now's the time to download that period-tracker app if you haven't already.)

“Women experience three major hormone cycles during the month: estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, which all affect your skin differently,” explains aesthetician Erica Cerpa, Founder of EC Beauty Studio & Spa in Hoboken, NJ. While we know to steer clear of going for a Brazilian during that time of the month, thanks to your hormones, facials and moisturizing masks are two more services to consider adding to the list if you struggle with breakouts.

Prior to booking treatments, it’s important to first understand your cycle. An average woman’s lasts is 28 days, with day one starting on the first day of your period. From popular spa services to DIY treatments, here’s a timeline according to your cycle that ensures maximum efficacy and minimal sensitivity.
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Despite popular belief, getting facials while you’re on your period is a very bad idea. “Many women make the mistake of thinking they should come in for a facial during their period, since it’s the time of the month they see the most breakouts,” comments Cerpa. “However, during that time, your skin is more sensitive and prone to flare-ups.”

Instead, book a monthly facial 10 to 14 days before your period to help prevent acne from forming altogether. During the first two weeks of your cycle, estrogen is the most dominant hormone, whereas during the second half (around the day 14-day mark), the amount of progesterone exceeds the amount of estrogen. This rise in the progesterone triggers the production of sebum, the oil within your pores, while shrinking your pore size.

“Because your sebum production is in overdrive, if you do not clear the pores at this time of the month, each pore that is filled with oil and bacteria is more likely to become trapped causing breakouts and inflammation,” Cerpa explains.
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Laser Hair Removal
Since your skin is most sensitive during menstruation, it’s best to schedule laser hair removal (or any laser treatment) the week after your period. However, the efficacy of the treatment doesn’t fluctuate from week to week. The most important factor is the stage of hair growth, which has to be in the anagen phase, when the pigment in the follicle is the darkest.
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Whether you exfoliate your face twice per week or twice per month, avoid it altogether right before and during your period. “Because the skin is more sensitive, exfoliating during this time will also cause redness and irritation,” Cerpa explains.

There are however, two times during your cycle where sloughing off dead skin is imperative — the day after your period and then again on the 14-day mark. Incorporating these days into your beauty regimen will keep your skin bright and act as a preventative measure so that your pores don’t clog due to the rise in progesterone midway through your cycle. Try using a gentle granular exfoliant, like Bioré Pore Unclogging Scrub, in an upward, circular motion on damp skin after cleansing.
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Hydrating Masks
Hydrating masks should be avoided during your cycle if you struggle with acne, advises Cerpa, but are ideal for post-period care. Why? Because they tend to be oil-based and unnecessarily heavy, which can trigger a breakout at a time when your skin is already vulnerable.

She, along with dermatologist Adriana Lombardi of the Lombardi Plastic Surgery Center in Eatontown, NJ, recommend sticking with a light, oil-free moisturizer, like Cetaphil Oil Control Moisturizer.

Since your estrogen levels drop low during your period, the production of collagen and elastin also slows, leaving your skin looking tired and dull by the end of your menstrual cycle. At that time, hydrating masks not only nourish, but also help to boost production back up again. We like GlamGlow Glow Starter Mega Illuminating Moisture.
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While skipping a Brazilian during that time of the month is obvious, did you know that you should also skip waxing your brows and beyond, too? Your skin is the most sensitive right before and during your period, making waxing even more uncomfortable and increasing your chance of bruising (yes, this happens). Because of this, Cerpa recommends scheduling your wax appointments during the week following your period.
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