5 ways to take care of your skin when you’re on your period

We all know how uncomfortable being on your period can be. If it is not the cramps and the back pain, it’s the emotional roller coaster ride. I mean the last thing you want to worry about when you are on your period is your skin. Unfortunately, during our period our skin tends to be sensitive. Our skin creates more oil than usual during our period, which can cause blocked pores and can lead to pimples or acne. Do not despair Choma, here are a few ways you can adjust your skin-care routine when you’re on your period.


The oil that comes out of your pores is called sebum. This is a naturally occurring oil in our body. But during this time it can be too much. One way you can deal with excess oil, pimples and acne during this time is to wash, tone and moisturise your face with your choice of products. Try to wash your face twice every day. This will help open up your pores and keep our skin hydrated and clean.

Diet and water

We often crave certain things during our period. Some crave sweet snacks and some salty snacks. Well, be careful not to over eat these delicious snacks because they usually add to the skin problems you face when you are on your period. Rather try eating fresh fruit and vegetables. Fresh fruit and veggies usually carry good anti-oxidants, which tend to carry Vitamin E. Drink plenty of water so that you hydrate your skin from the inside. Water also helps you to flush out some dirt build up.

Fast acting products

If you suffer from annoying pimples when you are on your period, try using Calamine lotion or any fast acting pimple cream. These products usually work to remove the dirt from your pores and they help to reduce redness and swelling. Make sure that these products are safe to use on your skin. 

DIY facial

Periods are uncomfortable already. Why not turn your skin-care routine into a self-care activity? You can do your own DIY masks at home. You can also steam your face, but be careful not to burn your face.

Leave your face alone

Some acne pimples are hormonal. Which means they will show up during your period or around the time you would be expecting your period. These pimples usually disappear right after your period is done for the month. So it’s better to leave your face alone. Avoid touching your face and resist the urge to pop the pimples.

Avoid make-up

We all like a good face beat here and there, but during your period it might be a good idea to avoid wearing make-up. It’s only for a few days and your skin will love you for it. If you must wear make-up, make sure that you wash your face before you go to sleep.

Our skin differs from one person to the next. Some may need to adjust their skin-care routine and some may not. You are beautiful just as you are, whether you are on your period or not. Just remember that any product you choose to use must be safe enough to put on your skin. If you happen to suffer from any serious skin condition it is advisable that you check with your healthcare practitioner or dermatologist.

Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, you can always contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).

Choma Rule Breaker: Thando Hopa

Thando Hopa is a successful 25-year-old legal eagle and model, and she is an albino. She suffers from a condition called albinism where her body is unable to produce melanin, the pigment that determines skin, eye and hair colour. Growing up in Soweto, with snowy skin and blonde hair, Thando didn’t look the same as everyone else and endured her fair share of teasing and torment. Her condition also weakened her eyesight making reading and learning difficult for her at school. Having to apply sunscreen every two hours and making sure she was always covered up to protect her pale skin from the sun, only added to her troubles. But tenacious at heart and with the support of her parents, Thando has become a rule breaker of note in defying the odds against her to find her shine.

Here are top five reasons why Choma loves rule breaker Thando Hopa:

  1. Beauty and brains: Thando has a law degree and is a prosecutor for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). Pretty cool, for a chick who struggled to read off the chalkboard at school. 
  2. Confident and different: Her striking looks earned her a spot on the modelling ramp after being spotted by top SA fashion designer Gert-Johan Coetzee at a mall. She challenges the perception of beauty reminding us we all have our own beauty and uniqueness to celebrate. 
  3. Leading the cause: While she has successfully managed to live with albinism, there are others who do not. Thando is using her own albinism to help talk out about the myths and hatred linked to the condition, especially in Africa. 
  4. Passionate: With skincare being a major concern for Thando, it was a natural fit to become the face of skincare brand Vichy’s sunscreen range. She is passionate about helping to promote and educate people on the importance of skin health, no matter the colour of their skin. 
  5. Self-motivated: Thando’s message to chomas is simply “Limitations can’t define your will.” In other words, no matter what your obstacle or hardship, you can still find your spot in the sun and shine.

Let Thando’s story help light your way, chomas! Follow her on Twitter at @thando_hopa.  

Healthy living and eating

There are exactly six months to go before I turn 40!

This age has always been a magical milestone because of the fuss that everyone makes about it. I must admit it is not at all daunting because the forty year olds I keep seeing are looking fantastic. The other day I spent time with an elderly lady – she is 75 years old and she has really beautiful skin. She has worked in the beauty and fragrance industry most of her life and I took the opportunity to ask her about her skin care regime and how she was still looking so radiant. She had two simple answers – eat properly and drink a lot of water. I must tell you I was a bit taken aback because I had been expecting a long lecture about beauty products and anti-ageing concoctions! Instead I got a very simple and straightforward answer. I must also admit that even though I am a medical doctor, and give out healthy eating advice I have not always followed that advice myself.

I come from a family of obesity. I am also overweight and have been so all my life. My great-grandmother, my grandmother and my mother were all obese and to be honest I grew up thinking that this was the norm. Sadly they all passed away due to some or other complications related to either high blood pressure or diabetes. We call these diseases Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) – meaning that you cannot transmit or acquire these diseases.

In a way we bring them upon ourselves by our lifestyle choices. December 2014 was a turning point for me. I was at home resting and I just was not feeling well. It was difficult for me to put a finger on what I was feeling but deep down I knew that the time had come for me to change my life and start living and eating healthier. I remember wondering if it was a good idea to embark on a healthy eating plan in the month of Christmas festivities because temptations would abound. I stuck to my decision and basically made the following changes to my eating habits.

I cut down drastically on starch, processed foods, junk food, fizzy drinks and sugar. It was extremely challenging especially because I do not like drinking water. BUT I had a goal. I told myself that I do not want to die from a Non-Communicable Disease. I want to live well into old age and if I make the investment now, I shall surely reap the benefits. And I am definitely reaping them.

There are not enough words to describe just how much my life has changed since December 2014. The texture of my skin and the blemishes have improved – and I attribute this to the fact that I now drink at least 1.5l of water a day. I have a lot more energy these days. I can now walk longer distances and I can tie my own shoe laces because my belly has gone down in size. It is a journey and every day I remind myself that I am making the correct food choices for my own benefit.

I wish I had started much earlier when I was younger BUT it is never too late! I have started and there is no going back!

5 Ways To Protect Yourself Against The Sun

It’s summer and you are out there with your shades ready to swim with your chomas. You may have heard that people with darker skin are less likely to get sunburn or skin cancer because darker skin has some protection against the sun’s rays. Yes, having darker skin does mean that your skin has more protection from the sun that people with lighter skin, but this doesn’t mean that your skin can’t be damaged by the sun at all. No matter what the colour of your skin, you still need to protect it.

Here is how you can avoid the harmful effects of the sun.

Wear sunscreen

Apply sunscreen on your skin as often as possible – every day if possible. Make it a habit, like taking a bath or brushing your teeth. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher (but if you’re going to be outdoors for a long time, use a water-resistant one that’s 30 or higher). SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor” and refers to the ability of a sunscreen to block ultraviolet rays which cause skin damage, like sunburn. The amount of SPF sunscreen has is usually written on the outside of the bottle.  Sunscreen helps protect the ultraviolet rays from going deep into your skin when you are in the sun. Re-apply your sunscreen every couple of hours. Rubbing or sweating can cause the sunscreen to rub off.

Moisturize your lips

Make sure you don’t neglect your lips when it comes to the sun. Your lips can get sunburnt too if they are not protected. So, always keep your lips moisturized by applying a lip balm protection every hour.

Avoid the sun from 10 am to 3pm

Try and stay out of the sun between 10am and 3pm, if you can. This is when the ultraviolet rays (which causes sunburn) are strongest.

Cover up

I know it’s hard to do this when it’s so hot outside, but when you do go outdoors, wear protective clothing – especially if you are going to be outside between 10am and 3pm. Hats or caps, long sleeved tops and khakis or denim jeans will help protect your body against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Also remember to always wear sunglasses because your eyes can be damaged by the sun too.


You can do a ‘skin check’ once a month. Check for any changes to your skin – such as burnt skin – or for moles. Get a choma to look at your back and other hard-to-see areas.

Enjoy the summer but just remember that it is important that you protect your skin against the sun to avoid getting sunburn or even skin cancer. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, right chomas?