I’m currently rocking a honker of a zit just under my jawline, so I bet my period is on its way. If you also experience major skin changes around your period, welcome to the club; you’re definitely not alone. We all know that acne, dryness, and dullness can occur around our cycle, but you don’t have to just grin and bear it. On my period, I turn to a handful of beauty rituals to get me (and my skin) through that tumultuous time.
If you experience hormonal, cystic acne more often than just the weeks before your period, we suggest talking to a dermatologist. While there are over-the-counter options that can target hormonal acne, gaining the insight of an expert about what products would be best for your skin and why can make a major difference.
When my skin feels impossibly dry, the first thing I turn to is slugging, the K-beauty staple of applying a thick layer of an occlusive—like a Vaseline-type ointment—on your skin before bed and removing it in the morning. When I slug, it reveals brighter, smoother, hydrated skin the next day. It’s been a godsend for me when my moisture barrier seems a little wonky, which I especially notice during my period after I’ve put in the extra work beforehand to dispel acne as much as possible.
2. Daily showers and/or baths
Although this is more of a hygiene step, making the time to take a shower or bath every single day of my period makes me feel so much better. Of course, I feel cleaner, but it’s also a great self-care step that helps reduce some of the stress I feel around my period. Pain, acne, discomfort—that’s enough to make you feel a little anxious, let alone that you have pools of blood coming out of you.
If I take a bath on my period, I make sure to follow it up with a quick two-minute body shower to make sure I’m clean. I also won’t do this on my heaviest flow days; I mainly rely on showers during heavy flow days. And I always make sure to moisturize my body to make up for all the warm water drying out my skin.
3. Going makeup-free as much as possible
Listen, I write about beauty for a living, so the thought of not wearing makeup for a week makes me a little queasy. Makeup is an act of joyous release for me, but I notice that when I’m on my period, I feel a little less interested in it, and that’s OK. On my period, my skin is pretty fickle, so I’ll avoid wearing heavy coverage as much as I can and opt for lots of good skincare during the day instead.
4. Applying layers of moisture
Keeping my skin as moisturized as possible is the name of the game during my period, especially if I had a breakout the week before. To counteract this, I add moisture to my skin in layers. For me, it isn’t enough to slather on a thick moisturizer to avoid dry skin. After double cleansing, I’ll use a moisturizing toner, a hyaluronic acid serum, eye cream, and a thick moisturizer, and then I’ll top it off with Vaseline or a facial oil. I also make sure to spend this time using up all my extra sheet masks—both for the self-care and the added hydration.
5. Facial massages
Along with dullness, my skin gets super puffy on my period, which very well might have to do with the uptick in my salt and sugar intake. Instead of depriving myself of my favorite things, I add facial massages to my routine to help de-puff and energize my skin first thing in the morning. If my skin is really looking rough, I immediately go in with an ice roller. It’s the perfect treat while I’m sipping my morning coffee. On a typical day, I’ll just use a gua sha tool with my facial oil to help sculpt and massage my face. My skin looks firmer and smoother when I add in these steps.
6. Avoiding over-exfoliation
I’m known to go to erratic measures when I’m facing a breakout. I want it gone immediately, so I’ll pile on the acids and clay masks and spot treatments to kill it on impact—only leaving me with skin that hates me even more. When a hormonal breakout comes around, I have to use all of my willpower to keep things light and not go overboard on treating it or else my skin will get drier and more irritated. I stick with a really good spot treatment and stick to my usual routine, and the acne goes away in a few short days.