Connections between skin, self-love, and menstruation.
Periods…either you’ve had them or you know someone who does! Menstruation plays an important role in all facets of life -- from emotional wellbeing to physical health and everywhere in between. However, 84% of menstruators also experience pain during their cycle in many parts of the body including their abdomen, back, legs, chest, and even head! 
A 2015 study in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation demonstrated that people experiencing chronic pain, including menstrual pain, are less physically active, feel worse emotionally, and sleep poorly .
What does this mean for our skin?
There are superficial & long term effects from interrupted sleep on our skin; from dark circles & paleness, to inflammation & slowed collagen growth . Additionally, a 2014 study at McMaster University concluded that regular exercise can actually reduce skin aging . You need only to see the latest Skin + Happiness article to understand that when we feel good it shows. By managing menstrual pain, we can limit the interruptions to our sleep, exercise, and emotional rhythms.
Menstrual pain + self-care
Luckily, there are natural, non-invasive methods to mitigate menstrual pain! Heat therapy is an accessible and popular option that decreases pain by relaxing the abdominal muscles and increasing circulation. An added bonus is that there are not the adverse effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which include indigestion, headaches, and drowsiness . Managing your menstrual pain is a monthly occurrence, so why not make a ritual out of it? Having a regular self-care practice that includes tending to your body, mind, soul, and space could be just what you need to ensure better sleep, activity, emotional wellbeing, and skin.
So warm up your heat pack, read a good book, practice mindfulness, and light a candle. Whatever you need to make it through, you do you!
About the Author:
Undu is a femtech company based in Ontario, Canada. They're on a mission to support all who menstruate, by creating wearable relief so you can do you! Their patented solutions are good for the body and the earth. Check out their biodegradable and reusable heat pack HERE and find them on Instagram @unduwearables.
 Schoep ME, Adang EMM, Maas JWM, De Bie B, Aarts JWM, Nieboer TE. Productivity loss due to menstruation-related symptoms: A nationwide cross-sectional survey
 Lee JW, Park HS. Relation of the factor to menstrual pain and musculoskeletal pain. J Exerc Rehabil. 2015;11(2):108-111. Published 2015 Apr 30. doi:10.12965/jer.150188
 Publish date: February 2 2017, Lily Talakoub MDNOW. Beauty sleep: Sleep deprivation and the skin. MDedge ObGyn. https://www.mdedge.com/obgyn/article/130640/aesthetic-dermatology/beauty-sleep-sleep-deprivation-and-skin. Published January 18, 2019. Accessed April 15, 2021.
 Rippon R. Why exercise is the key to younger-looking skin. Vogue Australia. https://www.vogue.com.au/beauty/wellbeing/why-exercise-is-the-key-to-youngerlooking-skin/news-story/b2cf3d34d678f96c2204f45f8af81cc9. Published April 13, 2018. Accessed April 15, 2021.
 Jo J, Lee SH. Heat therapy for primary dysmenorrhea: A systematic review and meta-analysis of its effects on pain relief and quality of life. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):16252. Published 2018 Nov 2. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-34303-z
An additional resource: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4082169/