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Have you ever noticed that you tend to break out more before, during, or after your period? You’re not imagining it. 63% of women who are prone to breakouts experience period acne. There is some solid science behind pesky period breakouts. You might be wondering how periods cause acne? And, how to prevent period acne in the first place? We’ve got you covered with answers to these questions and more.  

How does your period affect your acne?

Your period can impact your skin and increase the possibility of breakouts. That’s because before your period begins, your body’s hormones fluctuate. As a result of these changes, your skin can secrete extra sebum. Sebum is an oily substance that your skin needs so that it doesn’t dry out, but add too much of it to the mix, and it can clog pores and, you guessed it, lead to breakouts. In addition, hormones can also increase inflammation of the skin and produce acne-causing bacteria.  

Does the menstrual cycle cause acne breakouts?

So, do periods cause acne? It’s not so much your menstrual cycle that causes breakouts, but instead the change in hormones leading up to the start of your cycle. Period acne usually strikes between seven to ten days before the start of Aunt Flow. Most women notice breakouts clearing up at the onset of bleeding. 

When do acne breakouts occur during the menstrual cycle?

The average cycle is 28 days, and each day of this cycle, your hormones vary slightly. The beginning half of your cycle is characterized by higher levels of estrogen, while the second half is ruled by progesterone.  

Then, right before the start of your cycle, both estrogen and progesterone fall to the lowest levels they will be all month. Interestingly, women have low levels of the male hormone testosterone coursing through them, and so when both progesterone and estrogen fall, testosterone is actually temporarily at higher levels than other hormones in your body. This is why period acne is most common right before your period begins. 

What other factors contribute to acne breakouts during the menstrual cycle?

All of these hormonal changes create unique changes to your skin. For starters, they increase the presence of the thick, oily substance known as sebum. This natural skin lubricant can clog pores when there’s too much of it, leading to period acne. 

In addition, as progesterone levels pick back up, it can cause minor skin inflammation that leads to pores compressing shut. On the bright side, this makes your pores look smaller. On the not-so-bright side, sebum is more likely to build beneath the surface of your skin and cause breakouts.   

You can thank testosterone for making even more sebum. As a result, some women get a beautiful glow, while others get an oily buildup. All of this oil provides a delicious source of fuel for the bacterium P. acnes. Hence why breakouts and skin inflammation are so common around your period.  

What can I do about acne breakouts while I’m on my period?

Do periods cause acne? They absolutely do, but they usually cause breakouts before your period starts. So, while you’re on your period it’s important to practice good skin hygiene and not touch your breakouts more than necessary. This will only prolong their presence on your face. 

How can I prevent acne breakouts during my period?

Wondering how to prevent period acne? Luckily, there are some things you can do to help decrease the persistence of pimples. 

  1. Keep bacteria off your face 

Bacteria is going to increase your risk for period acne, so the goal is to keep your face as clean as possible. For one, avoid touching your face because that is an easy way to put bacteria on your skin and further increase the risk of zits popping up. In addition, keep your cell phone clean since that gets pressed right up against your face. In addition, be extra cautious at the gym; always take your own towels to cover mats or other surfaces you place your face on. Use your clean towel to dab your face, and avoid using your hands to swat away all that sweat. 

  1. Medications May Help 

For more serious period acne, or acne that persists all month long, you may want to consider taking medication for acne like Accutane. Of course, you’ll need to speak to your doctor before starting accutane. 

When does acne get worse during the menstrual cycle?

Acne tends to be at its worst right before your period starts. Most women notice their period acne improving once they start bleeding. 

While periods are no walk in the park, the right pair of period underwear can help make the journey feel less like a struggle. Period side effects like acne, bloating, and PMS might be hard to control monthly, but at least staying dry can be a little easier. Our leakproof underwear is made with multiple absorbent layers to help keep you dry all day and night.  From your lightest days to the heaviest of flows, you’ll be comfortable and dry. 

 

Sources: 

 

National Library Of Medicine. Perimenstrual Flare of Adult Acne,

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4142818/#:~:text=The%20study%20revealed%20that%2063,and%2021.2%20percent%20comedonal%20lesions

 

Healthline. The Ultimate Guide to Period-Related Breakouts,

https://www.healthline.com/health/period-acne

 

WebMD. How Your Period Affects Acne,

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/period

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