1. Health & Lifestyle

Periods and Acne: Are They Related ?

KJ Staff
KJ Staff

Period acne , or a flare-up of acne every month which coincides with the occurrence of your period, is not something so uncommon. Along with pollution, makeup, sun exposure and so many other external factors, it is important to understand what happens to your skin during periods. Just before your period date, the levels of female sex hormones fluctuate and these fluctuations may stimulate oil glands to increase oil production and results in acne breakouts. These hormonal fluctuations may also be responsible for other fun period things like, moodiness and sore breasts. Overall skin tends to be more sensitive during periods and its hard to prevent acne for good but can be minimised. 

What causes Period Acne? 

The hormones fluctuate continuously throughout the menstrual cycle, the duration of which on an average is 28 days in a woman. The levels of female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone rise during the first and last half of the menstrual cycle, respectively. As you approach your periods the level of both these hormones fall but the level of testosterone, a male hormone which is produced in small amount in females remains constant. Thus the level of testosterone being relatively higher before and during your periods. Due to these hormonal shifts, a female’s skin undergoes all sorts of changes. 

The secretion of sebum from sebaceous glands is stimulated by increased progesterone during the middle of menstrual cycle. Rise in the level of testosterone before and during periods also stimulates the sebaceous glands and thus more sebum is secreted. This increased sebum effects different women differently. For some, may produce a healthy glow on the skin, whereas in others, due to excess oil along with dirt, debris and dead skin cells the skin pores become clogged and cause premenstrual acne. 

Sometimes, the immune system produces a reaction to Cutibacterium acne, an acne causing bacteria and this immune reaction to the bacteria and it’s metabolites results in inflammation accompanying pimples before periods. 

Period acne or not? 

Acne that’s related to period is more likely to flare up during the week leading up to  period or during period. It tends to clear up or improve when period is ending or over. And if you already have acne, then you might notice it getting worse during this time. 

Prevention and treatment 

A pimple is not just a pimple, these are different types of blemishes. These are Blackheads, Whiteheads, Papules, Nodules, Cyst and knowing the difference between them , can narrow down the best acne treatment. 

You may prevent and manage acne before period by doing the following- 

1. Birth Control Pills :- Increase a protein (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin , SHBG) in blood which soaks free testosterone. Thus less amount of available testosterone is there for causing acne. Also increases estrogen level. But be patient, as there is initial increase in acne on using these pills for three to four months but this subsides as the body adjusts to the pills. Before using, take advice from your doctor. 

2. Spironolactone :-  It is an anti-androgen drug. It reduces the level of testosterone which reduces oil production. It may not suit all women, hence, always consult your physician. 

3. Weight loss :- Obesities reduces Sex Hormone Binding Globulin, SHBG and also increases testosterone. Anything, which reduces SHBG , may result in acne. Thus eat a well balanced and healthy diet and avoid junk food. Also follow a exercise routine and maintaining an optimum and healthy weight may help in controlling acne before period. 

4. Practice skin hygiene :- 

a. Wash your face two to three times a day with oil free cleanser 

b. Use an Over the Counter anti-acne cream to remove excess oil 

c. Avoid makeup, containing oil 

d. Remove makeup and clean your skin before going to bed 

e. Take a shower after exercising 

5. Reduce your stress level. 

6. Isotretinoin:- If other treatments haven’t worked for you or you suffer from severe cystic acne, then try this. It is a vitamin A derivative. The drug may cause various side effects and is not safe in pregnancy. Thus, before using , discuss all risks and side effects with your physician. 

7. Antibiotics :- 

Your doctor may prescribe you low dose tetracycline for five days, which you may use few days before beginning of your period. 

8. Aging helps :- 

While breakouts may annoy you as an adult but acne typically lessen after a certain age, because with age the amount of hormones the body produces begin to decrease. 

Period acne can be difficult to prevent completely. But some simple steps you can take to keep your skin relatively clear and healthy. 

Home remedies  

Baking soda :- 

First of all, mix baking soda with water and make a paste.  

Applying this paste on the face and let it dry.  

When it dries well, wash the face with lukewarm water.    

Vitamin E :- 

This vitamin capsules may prove to be a better option for curing acne scars.  

Break the capsule of vitamin E and apply it on acne scars.  

You can use this remedy once a day.  

Lemon juice :- 

Citric acid is believed to be very beneficial in reducing irritation, removing scars and removing wrinkles in the skin.  

Aloe vera :- 

Aloe vera gel works like magic to remove blemishes.  

Sleep using this gel at night and wash face in the morning.  

Results will start appearing soon. 

Some other home remedies :-  

a. Tea tree oil. 

b. Turmeric. 

c. Honey. 

d. Warm compress. 

e. Warm green tea bag. 

f. Cold compress. 

g. Neem facepack. 

Like this article?

Hey! I am KJ Staff. Did you liked this article and have suggestions to improve this article? Mail me your suggestions and feedback.

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters