Period Self-Care: 4 Tips For Your Mind, Body, and Skin During the Worst Time of the Month
For half the world’s population, we have to deal with a beast on a regular basis — a beast that can wreak havoc on our mood, our complexion, our basic sense of well-being. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here, four period self-care tips that can help us if not tame the beast, at least prepare for it every month.
I can feel it coming, gradually at first. It’s the cravings for salty and sweet food. Then I notice my generally sunny disposition is, well, not so sunny. Then the lethargy hits. That kind of tired that makes me want to stay on the couch all day and play video games. And of course, my skin starts to form tiny, red, angry volcanoes under the skin that hurt like a cuss word I can’t say here.
Yup. That’s a period. Shark week. Aunt flow. The cursed red death of doom. The thing that happens every month that makes me gain five pounds of water weight and eat four bowls of Cap’n Crunch in one sitting. What a time.
I also have PMDD, which makes shark week it’s own special kind of horror, but hey, we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about how we can take care of ourselves — body, mind, and skin — during that time of the month, every month.
1. Track that ish
One of the biggest tips I’ve learned about having a period is tracking it. I’m not on birth control, but thankfully, my periods are somewhat predictable at this point in my life. However, I still track my period using the Clue app because it can tell me a number of things, like when PMS is about to start (hi bloat and pimples), so if my skin starts to spontaneously go nuts, I can check the app and be somewhat reassured it’s just my hormones and not a new sheet mask that I used or something. It also helps me realize when I’m feeling like I’ve been hit by a bus that I’m not coming down with the bubonic plague or something.
2. Be active (just a li’l bit)
I know. I know. I KNOW. I was definitely one of those people who used to literally groan out loud and roll my eyes whenever I read someone’s tip to dealing with shark week was to go and exercise. Like, how in the world am I supposed to exercise when I feel like death? The thing is though … sigh … well ….
That sh—t really does work. And you know what’s even crazier? I’ve noticed that since I’ve become a gym rat, my periods are much, much more manageable. Don’t get me wrong, I can still get caught off guard by that occasional bad week, but overall … those people were right.
This doesn’t mean you have to do a crazy, heart attack-inducing workout. I mean, if you’re able, just get outside and walk for 30 minutes. Or do a gentle yoga flow in your living room. I promise, you’ll feel just a tiny bit better.
3. Use the right period products
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to pay more attention to what goes into my body. I’ve been using tampons a majority of my adult life and just now realized that they aren’t really the safest thing I could be putting into my body. Regular tampons you find at your local drugstore are made with regular, non-organic cotton (not really the biggest issue for me) and synthetic rayon, which helps with absorption and scent (kinda an issue for me). And maybe it’s just for my own piece of mind, but if I’m going to be sticking things inside of my body for periods of time, I’d maybe like it to be … somewhat natural?
So I’ve switched to organic, toxin-free, 100% cotton tampons. I recently stumbled upon the brand Rael, which was founded by three Korean American women. They have organic pads, tampons, liners, feminine hygiene products, and even period underwear. I’ve been eyeing a pair of underwear TBH, because my period loves to do that thing where it’s “finished” for a day and then BAM. I feel like the period underwear would be perfect for something like that!
4. Get your skin together before it gets you
Another one of the big benefits I get from using a period tracker is being able to tailor my skincare to my cycle. I normally start breaking out about three to four days before my period is scheduled to start, so at about day 8 or 9 before my period starts, I’ll do an exfoliating peel or ramp up my exfoliants, so I can clear as much of the gross stuff out of my pores as possible before my hormones start to betray me.
Then in the days leading up to my period, I use all the centella, snail, and propolis products my skin can handle, so I can soothe and hydrate the skin BEFORE the breakouts start. Sheet masks, essences, and multiple layers of toners are my go-to’s. Centella and snail mucin both help to heal and soothe the skin, while propolis is an anti-inflammatory ingredient, so while I may not get rid of the breakouts completely, they are MUCH more manageable, while not leaving tons of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (or PIH). The COSRX Snail Essence has been a mainstay in my toolkit for years, and the Pureforet Centella Toner may have cemented itself into my skincare hall of fame.
How do you take care of yourself during that time of the month? Share your period self-care tips below in the comments!