Period skin 101
January 11, 2021 — Team Fempowered

Let’s not sugar coat it.

Stomach cramps. Blood Stains. Irritability. Tears when you can’t find your favourite crisps at the shop. And, of course, a nice dose of spots to top it all off. There are a lot of things we don’t like about our periods.

Whilst we can’t necessarily fix all of these problems (not in a single blog post!), we wanted to at least tick one of them off your “menstruation is the worst” list. That’s why we’ve brought together our tried and tested tips for fighting those pesky hormonal breakouts and preventing them in the future. And, don’t worry, all of the products we’re sharing here are completely cruelty-free and vegan, so that you can have a glowing complexion, without a moral compromise.

What actually causes hormonal breakouts?

Before your period begins, estrogen and progesterone levels dip. This can cause the sebaceous glands to secrete higher levels of sebum. Whilst sebum is used to lubricate the skin and is perfectly healthy, in excess it can clog the pores.

More sebum means more clogged pores, which means - you guessed it - more spots!

Regardless of why they appear though, you’re probably more concerned about how to get rid of them. Let’s dive into the tips.

Soften your spots

Our skin Lord and Saviour, aka Caroline Hirons, is our absolute go-to when we are having literally any issue with our complexion. So we knew we had to share one of her brilliant (and unexpected) tips for dealing with spots.

She recommends softening any blemishes by adding a hit of hydration. With clean hands, massage a moisturiser or a facial oil into the spot throughout the day. Seriously, go to town with it! Caroline suggests this for two reasons:

  1. It will soften the area around the spot, instead of damaging it by trying to pop the pimple before it’s ready.
  2. It will bring the spot to a head more quickly. Then (and only then!) can you give it a satisfying squeeze.

The type of moisturiser you should use depends on your skin type, but The Body Shop offers a great range of cruelty-free and vegan options for every complexion. Whether you suffer with sensitivity, have a tired complexion or even combination skin, they’ve got you covered.

Body Shop's Aloe Soothing Day Cream

AHA the day away

AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids if you want to be fancy) are acids that are most often derived from citrus fruits. Not only are they completely plant-based, but they work hard to remove excess dead skin cells that clog the pores and can lead to spots.

Oh and they can reduce the appearance of acne scars. Gamechanger, right?!

For all of these reasons, using an AHA throughout the month can be a brilliant option if you suffer from hormonal breakouts. Or any breakouts for that matter. We love Derma E’s Evenly Radiant Overnight Peel with AHA as an ethical option. Just make sure to apply SPF every day, as these acids can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

Derma E’s Evenly Radiant Overnight Peel

Double your efforts

If you want glowing skin that is spot-free, making sure that you properly cleanse is essential. However, this is even more true if you’re dealing with hormonal spots!

As obvious as it may seem, you really do need to focus on effectively removing all dirt and makeup from your skin at the end of the day. That’s why a double cleanse is a great shout.

It’s exactly what it sounds like! Skincare experts recommend cleansing once with an oil-based cleanser and then again with one that is water-based. This will ensure that your complexion is squeaky clean and that no acne-causing bacteria is left behind.

You need to find what works for you and your routine. However, we love TRUE Skincare’s Certified Organic Clarifying Safflower & Geranium Cleansing Oil and The Body Shop’s Carrot Wash Energising Face Cleanser.

The Body Shop’s Carrot Wash Energising Face Cleanser

Clear out, don’t clog

Let’s talk comedogenic ingredients. And, don’t worry, we didn’t know what that meant until recently either…

If a product is comedogenic it simply means that it's more likely to clog the pores. So, if you’re looking to reduce your chances of hormonal breakouts, you should try to find products that are non-comedogenic.

Oils that are known to clog the pores include unfractionated coconut oils, cocoa butter, shea butter and sesame oil. Check your ingredient lists for these cheeky spot-causers before buying. One brilliant alternative to these is the non-comedogenic safflower oil, which is also high in linoleic acid, known to fight against acne issues. Try it for yourself in TRUE Skincare’s Organic Safflower and Basil Facial Oil.

TRUE Skincare’s Organic Safflower and Basil Facial Oil

Think about your food (sorry!)

Truth is, great skin often starts from the inside. Whilst you may be wanting to indulge in all of the chocolate during your period, that’s not the best idea for beating hormonal breakouts. We’re not telling you to cut out chocolate completely. We wouldn’t put you through that! But if you can cut down on your sugar consumption, you may find you skin clears up.

Plus, make sure you’re getting enough water to keep your complexion clear of toxins.

It’s important to remember that hormonal breakouts are totally normal. Whilst they can be frustrating, try not to get too upset if your period leads to an increase in spots, because you’re totally gorgeous either way!

And, of course, if you’re really struggling with your skin, we’d always recommend talking with a professional.

Where did we get our spot-busting information from?