Every woman is familiar with the period week mood swings, cramps, fatigue, or breakouts. But, one other key part of your appearance may also change while you are on your period — your hair.
Changes to your hair may be minimal or more pronounced, or you may not experience these things at all. Everyone has a different experience when it comes to their cycles, but for some, it may mean more “bad hair days”.
Below, we will cover 5 things that you may experience when it comes to your hair while you are on your period, and why they happen.
Luckily, sometimes, when you start becoming aware of when these things happen and why, you may be able to be better prepared and pamper your hair and scalp a little bit more during your menstrual cycle.
#1: You may experience more hair shedding than usual
Your hair sheds a little bit everyday — and this is a totally normal part of the hair cycle.
This shedding can be influenced by stressors, the time of the year, your nutritional status, and, yes, even hormone fluctuations.
Your cycle is driven by a delicate interplay of hormones. Normal menstrual hormonal fluctuations of progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone help signal your body to start and stop your cycle. But, these fluctuations may also mean that you notice slightly more shedding during or just after your period.
However, try to not get too worried about this, because as long as nothing else is going on, a little extra shedding during your menstrual week can be normal and will likely be entirely unnoticeable.
If your hair shedding goes on for a long time, it may be worth it to speak with a doctor about excess hair loss, to make sure nothing else is at play. Women who are menstruating lose extra iron, and if that iron is not properly restored through diet or supplementation, hair losses and thinning may occur. Always be sure to check out your iron levels if you have noticed ongoing hair changes and you are a woman in your menstruating years.
#2: Your hair may get greasier faster
Fluctuating hormones during your menstrual cycle can do more than make your mood feel all over the place, it can cause changes in your sebum (face and hair oil) secretion, too.
The same hair follicles that produce your hairs are also pores which produce hair oils meant to keep your hair healthy, moisturized, and shiny.
However, with the natural hormonal fluctuations of your period, the sebum production can ramp up.
This may mean that your hair gets oilier and looks flatter sooner, or that you have to find time for a once daily or every other day hair wash session — even if you can normally go for longer.
If you notice this during your cycle, you can make sure you have all the tools and time planned out to help combat a little extra scalp oil during your period week.
Keep some dry shampoo on hand to soak up oil in a pinch, or just plan on mixing in an extra hair washing that week.
#3: Combing out tangles may hurt more
There is a lot going on in your body when you are on your period, aside from the hormonal fluctuations, you have cascades of prostaglandins swirling around to help your uterus contract.
Overall, these changes in your chemistry can mean that other parts of your body feel more sensitive, or can withstand pain less — including your scalp.
If your hair tends to be especially tangled, or you tug on your hair pretty hard while blow drying, this is the week to be a little more gentle.
#4: You feel like your hair looks worse
One study found that when women were on their periods, they reported more bad hair days than when they were not on their period.
The study did not report a clear-cut reason for this finding, but it may be a combination of all the other points in this article, or just the psychological idea that when you aren’t feeling 100%, you may be a little harsher on yourself and your appearance.
Try to mentally prepare for your period by not being so hard on your hair for a few days, planning on keeping it in some of your go-to no-fail hair styles, or doing a little extra pampering with a deep conditioner or hair mask.
No one’s hair looks great all the time, so give yourself and your hair a pass while you are on your period, and know that any changes are likely temporary.
#5: Acne on and around your scalp may pop up
More acne on your face during your period is a common concern. But, did you know that you may experience more scalp and hairline acne during your period too?
The combination of increased hair oil production and hormonal changes can leave you with a few blemishes on the scalp or around your hairline.
Treat the ones you can get to with your go-to acne products, and they will likely settle down once your cycle is over.
Jill Barat, is a Doctor of Pharmacy at Strut Health with a unique background in specialty pharmacy, innovative compounding products, supplements, and integrative medicine with a passion for helping patients live their best lives.