Long time ago, in the small tropical island of Caparubakha, angry red bumps plagued the villagers’ skin so much so that it drove the entire village mad. Amidst the chaos, the Great Elder raised a coconut shell filled with a mysterious, thick liquid in the darkest hue of red. He silenced the crowd with a roar; ages of wisdom rang in the tremor of his voice.
“Here before you is the end to your misery from fruitless concoctions of tea tree oil, Aloe Vera and infant urine. Here before you is the purest of pure blood, the serum of womanhood. Here before you is the secret to smooth, flawless, acne-free skin…”
Of course, I pulled that story from the pits of my armpits. I don’t know where the period blood myth came from but there are those who believe in it. Ask Google and you’ll find a few troubled souls asking if anybody ever tried applying menstrual blood on their face to cure acne. Alternatively, you can ask the women in my family.
The Great Family Legacy
When my mom felt I was about to have my first period, she told me a ‘family beauty secret’. She said that she, my granny and the older generations of women from our family applied the first gush of their very first period blood on their skin as a face mask. They believed it will give them acne-prone skin. Indeed, both my Mom and Granny never had worrying acne problems. My granny’s sister was grossed out by the idea and gave the tip a miss. She ended being the only one in the family who suffered from acne. My granny confidently concluded that it was because she didn’t follow their mother’s beauty tip.
My Cut in the Chain
Being young then, I trusted the elders. I anxiously waited for my first period. However, by the time I realized that the brownish discharge I had been having for days was already my first period, it was too late. My mother specifically said that only the first gush of blood is ‘pure’ enough and suitable. After that, the blood is already considered dirty. Looking back, I really don’t know whether to feel lucky that I accidentally skipped the legacy or to feel bad that I had to be the one to break it. Nevertheless, I still grew up not plagued with pimples — well, most of the time.
Fact or Myth?
I once worked in a medical documentary show that featured this so-called beauty myth in one of the episodes. The dermatologist I interviewed said that–just like the village legend I invented above– this belief was all crap (she used a far better term). There is no scientific research proving that applying the first menstruation — or any type of menstruation for that matter — can prevent pimples. In fact, the blood might even attract bacteria into the skin, resulting to pimples or allergies.
Well, fact or myth, I find it amusing to read grossly unique beauty secrets like this. I’ve read about baby urine and bird poo; my ancestors swore by menstrual blood as the secret to acne-free skin. I won’t be surprised if I hear about sheep manure as the next big beauty bang.