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Menstruation Frustration: Beauty and Health Tips for Surviving Your Period

By David Saunders | UPDATED: 08:28, 12 December 2019

Between cramps, mood swings and cravings, periods are enough of a pain already without the unwelcome addition of breakouts, bloating and other beauty bothers! However, sometimes there’s no easy way out of these symptoms when it comes to your time of the month.

Luckily, we’ve rounded up the best beauty tips and products to keep you looking your best during your period, even when you just want to lay in bed with a hot water bottle and hate the world. We’ve even gotten some expert advice on how to rise above the pitfalls of periods from the UK’s leading nutritionist Dr. Marilyn Glenville PhD to help us out!

Puffy Eyes

Even before you get your period, you might find yourself crying at the most random of occasions, i.e. maybe your cat licked your boyfriend first instead of you or your Deliveroo was 10 minutes late and you just couldn’t wait one more second for your tikka masala. To make up for the consequent puffiness and dark circles, you’ll need a zinger of an eye cream. We love Alteya Organics’ Active Vitality Energising Eye Cream (£25.00, lovelula.com), which utilises wild crafted herbs and plants from the Balkan Mountain region, along with Blue Algae Concentrate to provide a hit of moisture and brighten up the delicate under eye area.

Craving junk (all we want to do is eat!!)

It’s tempting to use copious amounts of chocolate and chips to get through the worst of period pains, but Dr. Glenville advises against it.

She says, “The most crucial dietary change you can make is to keep your blood-sugar levels steady: the higher your sugar intake the more severe your symptoms are likely to be. And you will be caught in a vicious cycle in that the more your blood sugar fluctuates the stronger sugar/food cravings you have and the more your blood sugar fluctuates. 

My advice is to cut out sugar completely.

Oof, sorry folks – she’s the one with the medical degree! However, we won’t tell if you treat yourself once, or thrice…

Dull, tired skin

When you’re on your period, estrogen levels are at their absolute lowest and since this hormone is associated with skin hydration and collagen production, you might find that your skin is looking as run down as you feel.

Treat yourself to a soothing facemask that will gently exfoliate dead skin cells away to reveal baby skin beneath, and make sure you’re incorporating vitamin C to your routine to add brightness back into your complexion. Nature’s Kitchen’s Enzyme Rich Ultimate Glow Face Mask (£19.99, lovelula.com) is a fantastic option on both fronts, plus it has the added perk of being made from vegan, food-grade and organic ingredients!

Perfect if you can’t find time to get to the spa during your cycle, this Glow Mask contains Alpha Hydroxy fruit Acids, papaya, mango and pineapple fruit enzymes and salicylic acid to brighten, tone, exfoliate and refresh your skin. It also incorporates brightening vitamin C and soothing cucumber extract and niacinamide to soothe any inflammation and help balance any period-related inflammation you might be suffering from.

Breaking Out

One of the worst parts about getting your period is the inevitable breakouts and blemishes that come along with it. Bleugh! The imbalance of hormones before, during and immediately after you start menstruating usually results in sebum production going into overdrive, meaning oilier and more acne-prone skin. When sebum builds up in the pores and combine with dead skin cells and other grime from daily life, it creates the perfect environment for acne-causing bacteria to thrive. To try and combat the onset of blemishes as best you can, try incorporating a salicylic acid based cleanser or serum into your skincare routine, as this ingredient gets down into your pores to clear them out of all the gunk.

Dr. Glenville adds, “Your liver has to detoxify your female hormones and if the detoxification process is not happening efficiently you can end up with spots. A useful herb to help this is milk thistle, which can help improve your liver function.” 

Stresssss

Life can be hectic enough without the added inconvenience of being on your period, and fluctuating hormones can add so much additional stress! To keep calm, take some time for a little bit of self-care. Indulging in aromatherapy can be a fab way to holistically soothe your mind and body at the same time. Tip a few drops of lavender essential oil into a hot bath to soak your cramping muscles, or peppermint to ease pain, aid in dispelling anxiety and reduce fatigue.

Polish brand D’ALCHEMY has a vegan range of skincare products heavily influenced by aromatherapy, and their Essential Body Balm (£58.60, dalchemyskincare.uk) is luxuriously silky on the skin, especially when applied after a bath. Along with witch hazel, lemon, verbena and neroli hydrosols, the balm contains sweet orange, tangerine and grapefruit essential oils, which stimulate the lymphatic system, promoting the elimination of toxins and excess water from the skin.

These oils combine to create the most delicious scent to uplift your spirit as well, so take your sweet time rubbing it from top to toe. We’ve even been known to dab a little bit on the ends of our hair it smells so amazing!

Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD is the UK’s leading nutritionist specialising in women’s health. Dr Glenville runs a number of women’s health clinics in Harley Street, London, Tunbridge Wells and Ireland. For more information go to www.marilynglenville.com.

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