Breakouts around that time of the month are a common annoyance that plague many women, but what you may not know is that hormonal changes can affect other aspects of how you look, too.
If you’ve noticed more bad hair days around Aunt Flo’s monthly visits, you’re not alone. According to the app Clue, which helps you track your cycle in detail, an increase in users report that their hair looks more “oily,” “flat,” and “stringy” starting a week before their period, says Ida Tin, CEO of Clue.
And there’s plenty of science to back the observation. In the week leading up to your period, progesterone levels soar. The hormone triggers sebum production—which means your skin pumps out more oil—and while this increases oiliness on your complexion, it also increases oiliness on the scalp, explains New York dermatologist, Whitney Bowe, M.D. Then, when you actually start bleeding, progesterone and estrogen levels dip and relative testosterone levels are at their highest in your cycle. Testosterone can also trigger sebum production, so some women experience greasiness at this point, says Bowe.
Since everyone’s body is different and made of different levels of hormones, you may see the height of oiliness either the week before yourperiod or during the actual week you have it. The effect will usually last a few to several days before returning to more normal levels.
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