Avoid sun exposure one week before your menses

Do you keep a calendar of your menstrual cycle? I used to when I was younger; it was particularly useful when I was planning adventurous vacations because I normally avoid going for trips during that time of the month. It was really all for the sake of convenience and nothing related to my skin but now, there is a good reason to keep track of the cycle especially if you want to avoid pigmentation issues. Keen to know more? Then keep on reading!

Skin more vulnerable to UV radiation in premenstrual week
I’ve mentioned in one of my entries that our skin is vulnerable to UV radiation during PMS but I didn’t say why. Well recently, I stumbled on some Chinese literature and I found out that we should avoid sun exposure as far as possible ONE WEEK prior to our menses to avoid developing skin pigmentation. This is because our female hormonal activity of estrogen and/or progesterone is causing melanocytes or the pigment-producing cells to produce and deposit excess pigments. Interestingly, I found a study that supports that the skin of women is more sensitive to ultra-violent light in the premenstrual week.  

Study done on women on skin pigmentation & menstruation cycle
From the study, about half the women questioned had some increase in skin pigmentation, which was noted in every case in the latter days of the menstrual cycle and in some cases during menstruation also.

A pigmentation of the skin varying in intensity in a constant relationship with the phases of the menstrual cycle has been recognized by clinicians for many years. The pattern of this variation and its occurrence in normal young women has been demonstrated by a simple survey technique. The occurrence of the skin condition appears to be related to the sensitivity of the skin to ultra-violet light, darkening of the skin always occurring in the premenstrual week. Although the explanation of this phenomenon is not clear it seems likely that changes in the secretion of the melanocytestimulating hormone by the pituitary are responsible for this interesting and probably common condition (source).

Avoid the hot sun in your premenstrual week
So ladies who are particular about developing skin pigmentation should take note of this information. You may want to avoid heading out for outdoor activities or adventurous trips a week prior to your menses. And if you really have to head out, then remember to slather more sunscreen, put on your sunnies plus hat, and keep a lookout for more trees!


  1. EcoBeauty says:

    This is very interesting! And for some reason, my pigmentations indeed get darker just before my period. I noticed it only recently. I think I’m gonna read up more on this, thanks for the lead!

  2. Carrie says:

    Very interesting!! I have only noticed that my skin gets darker during summer and brighter and lighter again during winter. Haven’t really noticed my pigmentation except for the annoying pimples >”< Now this is certainly good to know yet hard to achieve if we have to work, especially when there's a bit of walking distance between my office and parked car ? But definitely will be more careful during that particular week when heading out! Thanks for the tip ?

  3. sesame says:

    It does? I haven’t noticed but having balanced hormones is really important for clearer skin.

  4. sesame says:

    Maybe you don’t have major issues with pigmentation. The study did cited that while many of the ladies had the issue, some did not. But it’s good idea just to be aware and take more precaution. Also, skin tends to get drier during PMS too.

  5. Nikki says:

    Wow! That’s new information! Thanks for sharing, now that I work from home, I may need to step out even more for my well needed Vitamin E hehehe

  6. Carrie says:

    Hm… maybe!! I was born with darker skin and this persisted throughout my childhood and teenage years, though in recent years after moving to NZ where the climates are cooler, my skin tone tends to be lighter!! Very interesting aye?! Yet in spite of this my skin is still rather dull ? Especially the area around and between my mouth and nose, which makes me looking like I have a light moustache!! Very annoying about it, I wonder if you have good advices for this?? Thanks!!!

  7. Angel says:

    Man!! If periods weren’t annoying enough already! lol.jeez. Thanks for the tip!

  8. sesame says:

    Yeah, more coverage when you head out!

  9. sesame says:

    I have no idea…some readers have emailed me asking the same thing, like their face being very much darker than their neck and other parts of their body. I’ll see if I can stumble upon any relevant info.

  10. sesame says:

    Yup, I know what you mean…too many “women” considerations.

  11. Swati says:

    wow…thank you so much for the post!!! didn’t know this but I do know that skin becomes sensitive a week before menses and stays sensitive two-three days after. will take care fo this thing too ?
    Swati last post is: Rustic Art Aloevera Gel

  12. sesame says:

    Glad you find the info useful to know. ?

  13. VNikol says:

    Interesting post, never heard this before but sounds sensible.

  14. sesame says:

    Yeah, skin is quite sensitive prior to the period and so we do need special care.

  15. Silver says:

    Oh my gosh thanks so much for sharing this! I had no idea! Now I know why I get dark so easily these days! I think sitting in a room with the lights on the whole day gets me UV too! Argh~!!!!
    Silver last post is: SSparkle Glam: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

  16. Sesame says:

    Use sun protection products with at least SPF15 even at home in the day.

  17. Tiffany says:

    I been experience this since I started seeing my period always wonder why but now I know.

  18. Sesame says:

    Do put on extra protection now that you know. ?

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