What causes period acne and how to deal with it

Almost one in every two women admit that their acne flares up during their periods. Many also suffer from painful, pus-filled acne that adds to their period stress and discomfort.

So, what is period acne all about? It is the flaring up of acne every month during menstruation. It is a fairly common problem among women all over the world. Some women experience it during the days leading up to menstruation while some develop acne while menstruating.

The effect of period acne can last for long and can even damage the skin with spots and blemishes.

What causes period acne?

Your hormone level varies during your menstrual cycle. These fluctuations can cause a lot of changes in your body including acne. For example, estrogen drops in your body just before your period starts. This leads to excess secretion of sebum which is a kind of oily lubrication for your skin. It ends up clogging your pores and leading to acne especially if the sebum quality if thick and gluggy.

While hormonal imbalance during your menstrual cycle is the main cause of period acne, it can also happen due to reasons such as –

  • High levels of stress
  • Unhealthy eating habits, and 
  • Lack of adequate sleep.

Here’s what you can do to reduce the risk of period acne

There are quite a few things that you can do to reduce your risk of acne and maintain clear, beautiful skin at all times. Some of the things that you can try include –

  1. Take care of your skin

Take care of your skin, that’s the first and foremost step to prevent period (or, even, general) acne. If you don’t have an elaborate skin care routine, just follow these few steps –

  • Use a gentle cleanser to cleanse your face and unclog your pores every day.
  • Remember to remove your makeup before you sleep.
  • Hydrate your skin with adequate water.
  • Choose simple, clean skin care products that suit your skin type – remember not all acne is caused by oily skin.

2. Look after your diet

Try to take care of your diet. Be mindful of what you eat. Research suggests that foods with a lower glycaemic index (GI level) helps prevent period acne. So, it would be best to avoid highly processed foods and drinks that contain high sugar content.

3. Consider skin supplements

You can also reduce your risk of period acne by taking skin supplements. These supplements can also help you maintain your skin health in general. There are several OTC supplements that you can consider or you can even talk to our skincare therapists who can make personal reccommendations.

4. Get better informed

Becoming better informed about your monthly cycle, understanding what your body is doing and lots more information on the causes and triggers of ‘Period Acne’, I highly recommend a book to all my female clients called The Period Repair Manual. This book will help you to know what is normal and what isn’t, and more importantly how we can help improve many of the side effects of your monthly cycles including Acne.

When should you see the doctor?

While period acne can be quite discomforting for many, it can also be a sign of an underlying problem such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

If along with acne, you have symptoms such as –

  • Irregular periods
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss, and
  • Excess facial/body hair; then it is recommended you consult a doctor.

You can also consider booking an appointment with our aestheticians to find a solution for your period acne that suits your skin and helps manage your monthly breakouts, or previous acne scarring.