What’s worse than a period cramp? The acne brings with it! Apart from acne, a change in hormone levels also contributes to your moodiness, sore breasts and other PMS-related symptoms.
Let’s talk about period acne in detail in this article, including its treatment options.
- What Is Period Acne?
- Why Do Hormones Fluctuate During Your Period?
- What Happens To Our Hormones During Menstruation?
- Where Does Period Acne Occur?
- Topical Remedies To Treat Period Acne
- Oral Medication For Period Acne
- Home Remedies To Treat Period Acne
- What If You Notice Pimples Even When You’re Not On Your Period?
- Is Your Acne Demanding Medical Attention?
What Is Period Acne?
During your menstrual cycle, your hormone levels fluctuate. This can result in acne breakouts during your period.
Just before your period date, the production of progesterone falls and estrogen (female sex hormones) levels rise. This can result in an increase in oil production in your body. Excess sebum can clog your pores, causing acne breakouts.
Why Do Hormones Fluctuate During Your Period?
Well, the answer is that they are responsible for the entire period process. Hormonal fluctuations can also contribute to skin inflammation, resulting in acne.
While estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate, the male hormone testosterone can trigger sebaceous gland activity. This can aggravate acne symptoms.
What Happens To Our Hormones During Menstruation?
The menstruation process begins during puberty. It involves the shedding of a lining inside the uterus. This lining develops approximately every 28-30 days to prepare for a fertilized egg if the woman gets pregnant. If fertilization doesn’t occur, the body releases that lining through the vagina. This is when bleeding occurs.
Progesterone is a female hormone that is responsible for the thickening of the uterine lining. This lining supports the baby in the mother’s womb. When fertilization doesn’t occur, progesterone and estrogen levels decrease. It causes shedding of the uterine wall. Androgen levels may also fluctuate during your period cycle.
This hormonal fluctuation is what stimulates sebaceous glands to produce too much sebum, resulting in acne pimples.
Where Does Period Acne Occur?
Period acne usually occurs along your jawline and around your chin area. You may notice tiny (or large) cysts popping up during your time of the month. These cysts can even be painful and result in more breakouts and infection if you attempt to pop them. Popping and squeezing can leave scars behind.
Topical Remedies To Treat Period Acne
Period pimples can contribute to more pain, along with your cramps. Here are a few tips for you to soothe and reduce period acne:
1. Benzoyl Peroxide
Topical benzoyl peroxide comes in the form of creams and gels. Benzoyl peroxide has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that reduce swelling and redness (1).
2. Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid is a peeling agent and has anti-inflammatory properties. It takes off the top layer of your skin and helps reduce acne symptoms (2).
3. Topical Retinoids
Oral Medication For Period Acne
1. Birth Control Pills
Anti-androgen medicines like Flutamide, Spironolactone and Cyproterone regulate and reduce androgen levels in the body (5). High androgen levels can contribute to an overproduction of oil. This can cause acne.
Note: Consult your dermatologist for oral medication.
Home Remedies To Treat Period Acne
1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is effective in reducing inflammation. It also has antimicrobial properties that help reduce acne symptoms like redness and swelling (6).
Turmeric has been traditionally used for years as a remedy to treat a host of skin issues. Its anti-inflammatory properties can improve acne symptoms like redness, swelling and pain (7).
Honey is a therapeutic agent, used in a number of ayurvedic products to address various skin concerns. Apart from moisturization, honey has antimicrobial properties that can kill acne-causing bacteria.
4. Warm Compress
A warm compress will help drain out pus and reduce swelling. Place it on your pimple for 10-15 minutes every day.
5. Warm Green Tea Bag
A warm green tea bag will reduce inflammation. Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties that can be effective in reducing pimple pain and swelling (8).
6. Cold Compress
A cold compress will help reduce pain and swelling. Push it against your pimple for 5-10 minutes every day.
What If You Notice Pimples Even When You’re Not On Your Period?
If you have acne-prone skin, it is likely for your skin to break out every now and then, irrespective of your period date. Visit your dermatologist to treat consistent acne breakouts. Your dermatologist may prescribe oral medication in combination with topical creams to reduce your acne symptoms.
Isotretinoin is effective in treating severe cystic acne. It is a Vitamin A derivative that has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties (9). Isotretinoin is strong medicine and is not recommended for period acne solely.
2. Oral Antibiotics
Oral antibiotics can kill acne-causing bacteria and are effective in treating mild to moderate acne (10). However, oral antibiotics lose their efficacy if consumed over a long period of time.
Is Your Acne Demanding Medical Attention?
If you notice irregular periods, it may be a sign of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. This is when you should visit your doctor. PCOS can cause:
- Irregular periods
- Weight gain or loss
- Excess facial and body hair
- Thinning hair and hair loss
- Dark patches on neck and back
PCOS is not unheard of and can be controlled with the right medication.
Period problems are a real thing, but usually not serious. Exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy skincare routine and following a healthy diet can reduce the stress that your period brings with it.
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