By Avni Sharma
Avni is a second year student of Bachelors with Honours in Accounting from Punjab University, Chandigarh. Apart from being an avid reader, she enjoys music and poetry and is always on the lookout for opportunities to bring about a change in society.
Reviewed by Dr. Chandra K. Hathi, M.S. Gynae and OBS.
Dr. Chandra is a practising gynaecologist at Chandra Bhushan Hospital, Jodhpur. with over 35 years of experience. She currently resides in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
Alongside chocolates and mood swings, the blotchy smattering of blemishes showing up on your jawline is one of the tired tropes acting as a billboard to the world that reads: “Hey! I’m about to shed my uterine lining”.
The rise of period skin problems can essentially be attributed to the series of hormonal changes that coincide with the so-called crimson tide. No surprise then, we must alter our skin care routines accordingly.
Let’s dive deeper into the subject to arm ourselves with the knowledge required to emerge victorious when it comes to the war waging between our skin and the Aunt Flo cycle.
Ovulation is the beginning of the trek of a mature egg, called ovum, from the surface of the ovary to the uterus via fallopian tubes. This usually occurs mid-cycle, around two weeks or so before menstruation starts. There is a continued increase in oestrogen, additionally a climb in androgen. The increase in oestrogen triggers an increase in a different hormone, referred to as Luteinizing hormone (LH), which leads to an increase in oil production, which acts as a breeding ground for acne causing bacteria.
During the oily times, the use of oil free make up and oil free moisturiser is suggested. The Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation makes for a good drugstore find, which helps absorb all the excess oil while minimising the appearance of pores. The Neutrogena SkinClearing Liquid Makeup is also known to work wonders for acne-prone skin.
Non-comedogenic skin products, such as the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, are usually recommended, as they have been tested and do not clog pores.
PMS is arguably the most stressful stage in the period cycle. Symptoms include mood swings, tender breasts, food cravings, irritability, fatigue and skin looking flat. Pores tend to become clogged with sebum, making them appear larger with acne on the chin and along the jawline. This is the portion of the cycle where the skin is most sensitive. For this reason, it’s particularly important that one is attentive to its needs.
As recommended by Dr. Debbie Palmer, the medical director of Dermatology Associates of New York, a cleanser with a high amount of salicylic acid should be used during the blemish prone period. Paula’s Choice Pore Normalizing Cleanser and Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Face Wash make the grade for this one.
As much as we feel sluggish during this phase of the cycle, it is imperative to take care of our skin by gently exfoliating and cleansing the face, especially the T-zone, which is often the problem area. Though the skin isn’t as prone to breaking out as it is during PMS, the sudden fall in oestrogen may also leave your skin looking blotchy and tired. It is during such times that topical, antioxidant formula rich products and supplements rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Green Tea Extract, and Niacinamide, are recommended.
A homemade hydrating mask like Cucumber and Aloe Vera or a Honey based mask prove to be effective skin alleviating remedies.
This time in your cycle is the prime time to show off your radiant skin in all the selfies in your camera roll. The skin looks its best when the oestrogen is at its highest—right before ovulation. The pores appear to be smaller and the skin feels hydrated. The skin may be allowed to breathe during this phase of the cycle, opting to skip heavy foundation.
However, if your skin is acne prone, regardless, a less potent dose of products rich in tea tree oil, and a combination of benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin phosphate, with recommendation by a dermatologist, is recommended, throughout.
Period skincare is a relatively new field with much to discover with regard to what works best, however, indulging oneself into a pamper session resulting in glowing skin never hurt anyone.
For over ten years I have worked as a Public Health Professional with people of all ages within non-profit organizations, social service organizations, educational institutions, hospitals and clinics to train, educate, promote, manage, design and implement public health programs to meet the needs of the communities I served. I have worked for organizations such as, Planned Parenthood, The Southern Nevada Health District, Kaiser Permanente, the City of Berkeley’s Public Health Department, and most recently Upstream USA. In these positions I was responsible for managing health education projects and people. In addition to being a people manager, I conducted and evaluated needs assessments,assisted in the development of curriculum, content, and training presentations for diverse audiences on a variety of public health topics. One of my main responsibilities was to conduct in-person, and live web-based public health education training presentations.I have a Master’s Degree in Public Health with a specialization in Social and Behavioral Sciences. I also hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Communications, and Minor in Sociology. I love helping to empower people of all ages to take charge of their health, and lead healthier, happier, more informed lives. In my spare time, I love cooking, reading, traveling, and watching & listening to all things related to true crime.
Tanya C Jaikaran, MPH