The Science Behind Acne And Periods
The average menstrual cycle is 28 days, and each of these days is different hormonally. âIn the first half of a womanâs menstrual cycle, the predominant hormone is estrogen in the second half, the main hormone is progesterone,â explains ob-gyn Elizabeth Gutrecht Lyster, MD. Lyster is part of Holtorf Medical Group in Orange County, Calif. âThen levels of both hormones fall to their lowest levels of the month as bleeding approaches,â she says.
Meanwhile, the male hormone testosterone stays at a constant level all month. âThis means that before and during menstruation, testosterone is relatively higher than the female hormones,â Lyster says.
These behind-the-scenes hormonal shifts do all sorts of things to a womanâs skin. For one, the mid-cycle progesterone rise stimulates the production of sebum. Sebum is a thick, oily substance that acts as a natural skin lubricant.
âAnd as levels of progesterone increase, skin swells and pores are compressed shut,â explains dermatologist Audrey Kunin, MD, of DERMAdoctor.com. As a result, pores never looked so minimized. âBut this tourniquet effect also causes sebum to build up beneath the skinâs surface.â
In addition, higher testosterone levels around menstruation further activate the sebaceous glands to make even more sebum.
Unfortunately, you canât change the relationship between acne and hormones. But there are some things you can do to make those breakouts less severe.
One Week Before Your Period
Your skin is majorly PMS-ing thanks to your estrogen levels dipping and progesterone taking over, says Whitney Bowe, M.D., an NYC derm.
What to do: De-gunk and de-grease pores with a salicylic acid toner pad. If you feel a pimple brewing beneath the surface, slather on a clay mask it sucks out grime from inside the skin, preventing a breakout.
Acne Before Period: 8 Ways To Prevent
Acne before your period is definitely common, but that does not mean it is normal or something you need to struggle with every month. Our skin is like a window as to what is going on internally. Its important to understand the root cause of why is this presenting? Acne before your period, or hormonal acne, can be related to:
elevated estrogen or testosterone
poor liver detoxification, meaning your liver isnt breaking down and clearing hormones as well as it could be
gut issues like bacterial overgrowth, dysbiosis , gut inflammation, or constipation
Luckily there are many natural solutions to help prevent acne before your period that take into account each of the mentioned possible root causes.
Here are 8 ways to prevent acne before your period.
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Period Acne Might Plague Your Life Every Month And Now Its Time To Do Something About It Here Are Some Remedies That Can Come To Your Defence
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A womans body goes through a lot of changes throughout the menstrual cycle. This happens because of the fluctuating levels of oestrogen and progesterone hormones. Moodiness, cramps, bloating and menstrual acne are all the results of hormonal fluctuations.
Hormonal fluctuations and period acneIn the first half of the menstrual cycle, oestrogen is the predominant hormone. However, in the second half, progesterone levels rise to become the dominant hormone. This increase in the level of progesterone leads to the build-up of sebum beneath the skins surface. Excess sebum can clog pores and produce the bacteria that is responsible for breakouts and inflammation. Moreover, as estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate, the male hormone testosterone can trigger sebaceous gland activity. This can aggravate acne symptoms.
Treating period acneSince period acne is caused by internal factors, we cant really stop them from popping up. But, by taking care of our skin around the time of menstruation, we can make the breakouts less severe.
Practising good skin hygiene is the key to taking care of period acneWash your face with a gentle cleanser at least twice a day. Avoid touching your face as much as possible as hands can introduce more dirt and bacteria. Besides keeping the skin clean, here are some other possible treatments for period acne.
You can also look into some topical treatments
Home remedies can also help
Is Hormonal Acne Caused By Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, hormonal fluctuations can cause acne. Often, acne gets better as your pregnancy progresses. There are several treatments that you should avoid during pregnancy, including topical retinoids, salicylic acid and isotretinoin. Ask your healthcare provider about the safest acne treatment for you to reduce and eliminate breakouts during pregnancy.
Making Diet And Lifestyle Changes
Controlling Acne During Your Period
While hormonal changes are a common cause of breakouts during menstruation, there are ways to keep sebum production and acne under control at the sebaceous gland level.
Sticking to an acne-fighting skincare routine will help remove excess oil and clear clogged pores. Dr. Zenovias Clear Complexion Collection is a complete acne complexion-correcting line consisting of five breakthrough products specifically curated to treat blemishes, balance sebum production, and help reduce the appearance of acne scarring while keeping the skin calm.
Dr. Zenovias products are the only dermatologist-developed topical, over the counter skincare products on the market scientifically formulated to address hormonal acne. Additionally, Dr. Zenovias products contain the first-ever, medical-grade technology clinically formulated to help address the appearance of hormonally impacted skin. The REG-ulate360 Complex includes a unique Phytoestrogen component to help balance hormonal fluctuations at the skin level. By regulating hormonal fluctuations at the skin level you experience fewer acne flare-ups.
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Take A Look At Your Diet
Decreasing your intake of high-glycemic foods, like sugar and refined carbohydrates, may help with acne. “Sugar and refined carbohydrates are rapidly digested and absorbed in your body, which results in a drastic increase in your blood sugar ,” says Tamar Samuels, MS, RDN, NBC-HWC, a registered dietitian, national boardâcertified health and wellness coach, and co-founder of Culina Health. “Elevated blood glucose triggers a reactive and exaggerated release of the hormone insulin into your bloodstream. High levels of insulin in the blood trigger the release of growth hormones that are known to increase sebum production, unregulated cellular growth, and androgen production, all of which are involved in the development of pimples.”
Registered dietitian Claire Virga, RDN, MS, CDN, of Rooted Wellness adds that a diet primarily made up of unprocessed foods and focused on fruits, vegetables, high-fiber legumes, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein may provide some protection against hormonal acne.
Why It Flares Up Before Your Period
Those dang hormones. Thats why.
Your hormones fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle. Just before your period starts, estrogen and progesterone levels drop. This can trigger your sebaceous glands to secrete more sebum, an oily substance that lubricates your skin. Too much can result in clogged pores and breakouts.
Hormones can also increase skin inflammation and the production of acne-causing bacteria.
These hormonal fluctuations just before your period may also be responsible for other fun period things, including moodiness, sore breasts, and weird poop .
PMS is also associated with increased stress, which might also worsen acne.
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Modify Your Skincare Routine 4
Of course, one of the best ways to prep when you know breakouts are in your future is to modify your skincare routine. The plan of attack I recommend to most of my clients is to incorporate 2-3 non-drying products with salicylic acid into their routine. The idea here is that you want to start creating an environment in your skin where breakouts are less likely to occur. Salicylic acid is famous for its ability to clear pores by dissolving blockages and fighting inflammation that can lead to breakouts.
About 4-7 days before your period starts, replace 2-3 products in your current regimen with ones that focus on clearing away bacteria. Here are the products I recommend:
AHA/BHA Blemish Control Cleanser
I recommend using AHA/BHA Blemish Control Cleanser just once a day, at night. Since bacteria and oil can build up throughout the day, using this cleanser in the evening provides a clean slate for all other products to follow.
Pore + Wrinkle Perfecting Serum
Pore + Wrinkle Perfecting Serum uses 1% salicylic acid to help keep pores clear and exfoliate the skin without drying it out. The addition of glycolic acid and lactic acid help boost cellular turnover so pores stay clear. You should never exfoliate daily, so use this serum every 2-3 days leading up to your period. If you start to experience any irritation, pull back and use it less frequently.
Rapid Response Detox Masque
What Causes Acne Before/during Your Period
In a way, . Causes of acne include various hormone-triggering factors aside from the menstrual cycle, such as stress or . What these all have in common is that they lead to an over-enthusiastic response by the skins oil glands. A good way to tell what could be causing your breakouts is .
Acne tends to flare up around the same time some women experience PMS: the one to two weeks between ovulation and the start of the period. Estrogen decreases during this time, so for a while, theres more of the androgen hormones progesterone and testosterone. When those hormones fluctuate, the male-type hormones stimulate the skins sebaceous glands, so the skin produces more oil. This extra oil production can lead to clogged pores unless youre using the right skincare products to prevent those pores from getting clogged, of course .
This is why some kinds of hormonal birth control can help with acne: they help level out those jumpy hormones to avoid such a dramatic fluctuation around that time of the month.
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First Know What Youre Dealing With
Before going into battle, its always best to know who your opponent is. In the case of period acne, this means knowing how to differentiate a hormonal break out from a regular one.
The easiest way to do this is to look at the timing. Acne thats related to your period is more likely to flare up during the week leading up to your period or during your period. Plus, it tends to clear up or improve when your period is ending or over.
Already have acne? You might notice that it gets worse during this time. If you tend to have clear skin, you might notice a pimple or two pop up.
Try Tea Tree Oil And Acv
Tea tree oil kills C. acnes, the bacteria associated with acne, says Dr. Kindred. As a hormonal acne treatment, she recommends either using a tea tree oil-based cleanser or creating a diluted wash using a mixture of water with a few drops of raw oil that you can apply directly on your breakouts. Dr. Garshick notes that tea tree oil has been shown to reduce inflammation, meaning it may also help reduce the redness associated with hormonal breakouts.
Another derm-recommended ingredient for hormonal acne? Apple cider vinegar. ACV has antibacterial and antifungal properties and can help kill bacteria and yeast on the skin related to conditions like acne, eczema, and dandruff, says Raechele Cochran Gathers, M.D., a board certified dermatologist and founder of MDhairmixtress.com. However, always check with your dermatologist first as ACV is acidic and can cause severe skin irritation when used incorrectly.
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Can I Prevent Acne
Its not always possible to prevent acne. But these tips can help:
Note: Acne isnt really helped by the sun. A tan can temporarily make acne look less severe, but it wont help it go away permanently and some people find that the oils their skin makes after being in the sun make their pimples worse.
How Your Menstrual Cycle Affects Your Skin
During the menstrual cycle, our hormones take us through a wild ride. Our skin serves as a map to all these different changes, getting smoother, drier, and calmer at the beginning of the cycle and then getting angrier towards the end.
Heres a quick recap of how your menstrual cycle works: The first two weeks involve menstruation and then the follicular phase. Ovulation marks the halfway point, after which the luteal phase begins. Distinct hormonal fluctuations happen during each of these four phases.
At the beginning of the menstrual cycle, as estrogen ramps up, skin usually begins to clear and take on a healthy glow. Once your period starts, you may notice some dryness while estrogen works its magic. Estrogen peaks right before ovulation, which is when your skin will look its best and, if youre lucky, remain clear, smooth, and blemish-free.2
Evolution really did that: Your skin is most radiant during your 2-3 most fertile days of the month, also known as the fertile window. Thanks, mother nature, for throwing us a bone . Just keep in mind that your pores could appear larger and more noticeable than usual during this time.
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Symptoms Of Period Acne
Period acne is different than the typical acne that occurs during other weeks of the menstrual cycle. Breakouts of pimples from period acne are usually on the lower half of the face , jawline, and neck. They are usually red, inflamed, raised bumps that rarely develop into pustules . They can be very frustrating, but try to resist squeezing them. This can make them worse and take longer to go away.
Changes in hormone levels may be one of the factors responsible for acne breakouts. Testosterone remains at a constant level during the whole menstrual cycle, while estrogen and progesterone drop as a period approaches. This means that before and during menstruation, testosterone levels may be higher than estrogen or progesterone.
The increased level of progesterone in the middle of the cycle stimulates the production of sebum. This natural oil can clog pores. This, along with additional factors, contributes to the formation of acne. The condition may worsen when testosterone levels are comparatively higher at the end of the menstrual cycle, which is right before the next period starts.
Acne lesions often appear before menstruation starts, mainly in hormone-dependent areas such as on the cheeks, in the lower third of the face, on the neck, and, less commonly, on the chest and back.
The Process Of Acne Formation
Acne formation before menstruation is no different from acne in general. The process starts with sebum production by the oil glands in your skin. Sebum is an oil substance that functions as a natural lubricant for the skin.
After being produced by the oil glands, sebum will exit the follicles through the pores to the skins surface. The follicle is the inner part of the skin pore where hair, oil glands, and sweat glands grow.
Sometimes, sebum cannot exit the follicle because the pore is blocked. This blockage is formed from sebum, dead skin cells, and hair. This then becomes the precursor to acne.
Acne forms when bacteria infect the blockage and sebum build up inside the follicle. The bacterial infection triggers an inflammatory reaction characterized by swelling, pain, and redness.
The severity of acne depends on the type of bacteria that it infects. Not all bacteria on the skin can cause acne. Usually the bacteria that most often triggers acne is Propionibacterium acnes.
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Increase Alkaline Foods And Decrease Acidic Foods:
Meat-based proteins coffee, alcohol, sugar and processed grains all foods that are a big part of the typical American dietare acid-forming in the system. This leads to a condition called acidosis. Acidosis is the technical term for over-acidification. The main symptom of acidosis is fatigue.
Other symptoms include loss of enthusiasm for life, loss of sex drive, poor sleep quality, depression and tiring quickly both mentally and physically. Advanced stage symptoms of acidosis include sensitivity to cold, low blood pressure, hypo or hyperthyroid and low blood sugar.
These symptoms are caused because the main minerals that are required to nourish the nervous system, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, are the very same minerals that the body uses to neutralize acids!
Studies show that alkaline foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains help neutralize these acids Just by eating more fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains in replace of meat, sugar and other processed foods you will not believe how amazing you feel in just a few days!