One of the most frustrating — and least-talked-about — parts of getting your period is the bad skin that comes along with it.
Yes, we all think that spotty skin and acne is something
that stays in our teenage years, but in actual fact, women of all ages are
prone to breakouts just before menstruation — thanks to those pesky hormones.
In particular, acne sufferers will see skin flare-ups around 7-10 days before
their period is due (it normally gets better as your period progresses).
Bad skin is a common PMS symptom — but one that you can tackle if you know how.
In the post below, we’ll cover the five best ways to treat
your skin if you suffer acne during your period: read on to have a happy,
About two weeks before menstruation, the levels of
progesterone and estrogen that your body creates increases — which stimulates
oil glands in your skin and produces more sebum. Too much sebum mixes with dead
skin (gross, we know) and results in clogged pores, which equals pimples and
If you want to tackle the effects of period acne, then
practising good skin hygiene is a great place to start.
For example, you should always aim to wash your face twice a
day (no excuses!) to wash away any excess oil and clear your pores. (If you go
to the gym and sweat then take this as another opportunity to wash — think
about the sweat that will gather otherwise!)
Do this with warm water — which will open up your pores — and a natural gentle cleanser that will be kind to your skin. Avoid oil-based washes and cleansers, because these will only exacerbate an oily skin situation.
2. Avoid bad habits that will make it worse
It’s not enough to wash your skin twice a day and pray that
your period acne will clear up. You need to take action against all of the bad
habits in your life that impact your skin — and you might not even realize that
you do some of these!
There are all sorts of daily habits that make your period
acne way worse, but here are the main offenders:
Not removing your make-up off before you go to bed. Yes, we know it’s a lot of effort when you’ve staggered in from a late night of drinking, but trust us — your skin will thank you in the morning.
Touching your face loads. If you spend any time in front of a screen, you probably spend a chunk of your time leaning forward with your hands on your cheeks or cupping your chin. Needless to say, this is adding a whole load more bacteria and dirt to your face to make that acne sitch even worse.
Not cleaning your phone. Be honest: how many times have you actually cleaned your phone? Your phone is a breeding ground of bacteria and other gross things, and you regularly place it against your face, right? Ew.
Not showering after the gym. If you’re working out properly, chances are that you’re going to sweat. And this sweat buildup will flare your period acne if you don’t shower ASAP, so get to it!
3. Drink plenty of water and eat well
Treating period acne isn’t just about what you put on your
skin; it’s about what you put in your body.
Genuinely, keeping hydrated and eating a healthy, balanced diet will work wonders for your skin. It’ll also help all the other side effects of menstruation and PMS — just check any list of period do’s and dont’s, like this period tips and tricks post by Knixteen.
Drinking plenty of water doesn’t just ease period symptoms
like bloating and feeling tired; it also helps to keep your skin clear and
flushes out any waste and toxins.
Eat well and you’ll also notice a difference: fruit and vegetables high in antioxidants will keep your skin feeling fresh, as will zinc-rich nuts like almonds. Want to know which foods to avoid? Check out this article to find out what to cut back on.
4. Birth control pills
Taking birth control pills can help with PMS-related acne,
although, of course, it depends on the type of pill you take.
The combined pill (which contains estrogen and progesterone) is thought to keep the levels of your “male” hormones in check. These male hormones can overstimulate your oil glands, which contributes to acne flare-ups.
If you decide to use birth control pills to manage
premenstrual acne, you need to be patient; sometimes, your acne might get worse
for a few months before it gets better. That’s because your body is adjusting
to the hormonal changes these pills cause, and it should settle down once your
body gets used to the medication.
5. Acne medication
If all else fails, then there’s no shame in visiting a
dermatologist and getting some over-the-counter or prescription acne
There are a few different types you can get:
creams or gels: these are acne treatments that you can rub onto the
affected area to get rid of excess sebum. There are various kinds, such as
benzoyl peroxide azelaic acid, or retinoids. These treatments usually work by
reducing the bacteria associated with acne and getting rid of excess oil and
medication: these are normally antibiotics like tetracycline which you have
to take for five days just before your period. As with topical treatments, oral
meds will reduce bacteria and fight inflammation.
Your doctor or dermatologist will be able to advise you on what is best
These are five of the best ways to treat your skin if you suffer from period-related acne. Follow these top tips, and you’ll soon see a reduction in pimples and bad skin.