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We have all had bad hair days, especially as curly girls. Did you know there is actual science to explain them?

Individuals who experience menstrual cycles can attest to the irksome hormonal changes that occur during that time, such as skin breakouts, moodiness, increased appetite, and fatigue. But, there is another pesky addition to that list that many do not know about, and it affects our hair.

The increased oiliness associated with our periods doesn’t just affect our faces. It also impacts our scalp, sometimes making our hair feel oily or flat.

Before your period:

“The levels of estrogen decrease and the levels of progesterone and testosterone increase about a week before your period,” says Dr. Sophia Kogan, an integrative hair loss specialist. Hence the oily skin and hair during those specific days.

The sudden hormonal shifts that occur during this time are a result of your body realizing there isn’t a fertilized egg to care for, so the cozy room it prepared for it will be shred to pieces, causing cramping, mood swings, swollen or tender breasts, breakouts, and an oily scalp to occur. Before your period, the production of oil is not too intense just yet. Therefore, carrying through with your regular hair routine is just fine until your period begins.

During your period:

As bleeding begins, estrogen levels are practically at zero, and testosterone levels increase, which cause you to feel bloated, cranky, and restless due to cramping. This is when your hair will begin to feel greasy. Increased co-washing may be a good alternative to a full wash day during the week of your period.

After your period:

Testosterone begins to decrease and estrogen increases, causing less oil production and more positive moods. The downside of producing less oil is the possibility of a dry scalp. Therefore, consider deep conditioning and using natural oils to balance the pH levels, if this occurs.

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Photo courtesy of @jmayoxo

Pregnancy:

When your menstrual cycle is interrupted by pregnancy, you do not shed hair as often; your hair remains in the growth phase. Consequently, your hair appears much fuller. After the pregnancy, shedding occurs, and at first glance it may seem like an overwhelming amount of hair loss. This is only because the amount of hair you would have lost throughout the entirety of the pregnancy gets shed all at once.

Bad hair days can be caused by many things — not just excess oil production — including humidity, pollution, smoke, precipitation, incorrect products, over-washing, under-washing, etc. It is important to figure out the cause of your bad hair days so you can take steps to address it.

Do you find that you have more “bad hair days” when on your period?