As if cramps, mood swings, bloating, and constant hunger aren’t enough, periods also come with those dreaded acne breakouts.
But, when you think of period acne, you need to understand that your period isn’t the main culprit for breakouts. Rather, your hormones should be the ones to take most of the blame.
The reason why you breakout before and during your period is that progesterone levels rise just before your period starts. This hormonal change triggers your oil glands to secrete more oil, which can then result in clogged pores and eventually acne breakouts.
But, don’t despair. While this might sound like something that cannot be avoided, it doesn’t mean that it cannot be controlled. So, continue reading to find out how to stop breaking out before and during your period.
Why Do You Breakout Before & During Your Period?
The hormone progesterone plays an important role in premenstrual and menstrual acne. Progesterone levels rise during the second half of your cycle and this hormonal change has a direct effect on the sebaceous glands which are the oil-producing glands.
This increase in oil production causes the pores to swell and open, additionally trapping dirt, thus creating a perfect airless environment for acne-causing bacteria to thrive inside the pore.
But when it comes to the skin, hormonal changes do not only affect you during that time of the month – they affect you and the behavior of your skin almost all the time.
Hormones can also be blamed for triggering acne breakouts during puberty. In this case, it is the male hormone androgen that fluctuates and directly stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more oil and cause more clogging.
Additionally, hormones are also responsible for the acne that develops or gets worse during pregnancy. In this case, it is the male hormone testosterone that fluctuates and directly stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more oil and cause more clogging.
Furthermore, we are also susceptible to acne-breakouts due to stress and guess what? This is also related to hormones – the hormone cortisol, in particular.
Cortisol is the body’s stress-reaction hormone that can stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more oil which then leads to more clogging and acne breakouts.
You are probably asking yourself what are you supposed to do with all this information now, thinking that your entire body is somehow against you.
But worry not, there are ways to control this and we are slowly getting there.
How Do You Know If Your Acne Is Hormonal?
During puberty, hormonal acne typically appears on the T-zone including your forehead, nose, and chin.
However, hormonal acne during adulthood typically manifests itself in the form of painful, purple, and inflamed cysts on the lower part of your face. This includes the bottom of your cheeks and the jawline.
Cysts are the most severe form of hormonal acne and these form deep under the skin and don’t come to a head on the surface. These bumps are often tender to the touch, can be painful, and their color carrier between red and purple.
How Do You Stop Hormonal Breakouts?
The only way to stop hormonal acne is to treat the root of the problem, which is the clogged pore.
You may think that medication such as contraceptive pills or other hormonal medication may help, however, this isn’t always the case.
Sometimes hormonal medication helps but other times, it tends to make the problem worse, so the most efficient way to approach hormonal breakouts is to prevent your pores from clogging.
You can do this by investing in good skincare products that are formulated to exfoliate the pores and prevent the excess oil from clogging it, thus contributing to breakouts.
How Can You Prevent Breakouts During Your Period?
There are countless of excellent products on the market that can efficiently target clogged pores and work to exfoliate, get rid of the excess oil, as well as soothe the inflamed areas.
Some of the best acne treatments include:
Salicylic acid is a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) that’s used as the gold standard in skincare products intended for oily and acne-prone skins. This is due to the fact that salicylic acid mimics the natural exfoliation process of younger skin by helping it shed extra layers.
Additionally, salicylic acid is an oil-soluble ingredient, which means it can cut through the surface oil to get inside the pores and remove the buildup of sebum, bacteria, dead skin cells, and white blood cells.
Furthermore, it is a very gentle, anti-inflammatory ingredient that is easily tolerated by the skin and it takes very little time getting used to.
Read my comparison review between the two most popular salicylic acid products on the market.
Benzoyl Peroxide is an ingredient that is starting to have a bad name on the market, however, while others deem it to be dangerous, In my experience, it is one of the most misunderstood ingredients out there.
Benzoyl peroxide is proven to have an antibacterial effect that specifically inhibits and destroys the acne-causing bacteria P. acnes that live deep in your pores and survive on your natural oil, dead skin cells, and skin tissue.
It can be quite drying for the skin if not used properly and this is why many people experience side effects that include sensitive skin, burning sensation, redness, peeling, and inflammation.
However, if used properly, it can successfully heal your acne without triggering any side effects.
Read my article on how to safely use benzoyl peroxide to get rid of acne.
Retin-A is one of the most popular prescribed medication used to treat acne. Its generic name is tretinoin and it falls under a class of medications called retinoids.
Retinoids are derived from vitamin A and they work to make skin cells grow and function more effectively.
Dermatologists often prescribe them for various acne concerns as this is also an excellent ingredient that decreases the number and severity of acne and promotes quicker healing of pimples.
Retinoids come in many forms including gels, creams, and lotions, and besides acne, they are also used to treat psoriasis, slow down skin aging, as well as some cancers.
Tretinoin products that contain higher percentages of tretinoin are usually used to treat severe cystic acne as they work by unblocking the clogged follicles that initially cause the formation of acne.
While Retin-A might sound somewhat intimidating and scary, it is definitely not something you should be scared of. Retin-A can have some side effects but this can be the case when it comes to any other product.
Some side effects might include tingling or burning on the skin, redness, mild to moderate peeling, and increased sun sensitivity.
This simply tells us that Retin-A should be used responsibly and followed up with richer and more moisturizing creams as well as an adequate amount of sunscreen in the mornings.
Hormones play a major part in the behavior of our skin. However, no matter how imbalanced our hormones may be at certain times, acne breakouts can easily be brought under control with a little bit of patience and nurture.
Do you breakouts before and during your period or have you found your holy grail product that keeps those pesky pimples at bay? Let me know in the comments below!
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Thanks for stopping by! My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.