As if the bloating, cramps, bleeding and mood swings were not enough, periods also bring acne in their wake! The hormonal changes that occur during ‘that time of the month’ are the culprit for period acne. These hormones cause acne by increasing skin inflammation, oil production in the pores, and the production of a certain type of bacteria that cause acne. So for all you girls and women troubled by this phenomenon, here’s a little guide with all you need to know about period acne.
How To Differentiate Between Period Acne And Normal Acne?
The easiest way to differentiate between these two types of acne is to notice the timing. Period acne is more likely to flare up during the week leading up to your period or during your menstrual cycle. Also, it tends to clear up when your period is over or about to get over. If you already have acne, then you might notice it getting worse during your periods.
What Causes Period Acne?
Your hormones are to thank for these period acne. Before and during your menstrual cycle, your hormones tend to fluctuate. Just before your period begins, oestrogen and progesterone levels drop, which can increase the production of sebum, an oily substance that lubricates your skin. Too much sebum can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Thus, in this way, hormones cause clogged pores and breakouts.
- Where Do Period Acne Occur?
- Are There Any Home Remedies For Period Acne?
- What Changes Should I Make In My Diet?
Where Do Period Acne Occur?
While your face is the most obvious place for these acne to pop up, period acne also occurs along your jawline or your chin. You may even notice large cysts popping up during your period, which can be very painful and result in more breakouts. You might notice lumps near your vaginal area as well, but do not be alarmed, periods can cause vulvar breakouts too! While hormones can be the cause of breakouts, acne down there can be a result of other period-related causes too.
How To Treat Period Acne?
Period pimples can be annoying, and you definitely don’t need that additional pain when you are already dealing with cramps and body aches! Worry not, here are some ways you can treat these breakouts to provide you with some relief:
Available in the form of creams and gels, topical benzoyl peroxide has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling and redness caused by these pimples. Begin with using a cream or gel that has a low concentration, like 2.5% of benzoyl peroxide, to start with.
However, do note that the usage of benzoyl peroxide may have side effects such as dryness, burning of the skin, sun sensitivity and tingling.
Salicylic acid too has anti-inflammatory properties and is a peeling agent, due to which it takes off the top layer of your skin and helps reduce acne symptoms. Salicylic acid is available in the form of creams and cleansers. Salicylic acid products are available without a prescription in strengths that run from 0.5-5%. They keep your pores from clogging and prevent breakouts. Start using products with a lower strength and work your way up until you know what your skin can handle.
These vitamin A products have anti-inflammatory properties that can keep the skin clear and are also popularly used to treat mild to moderate acne.
However, using topical retinoids also has side effects such as redness of the skin, itching, burning and drying. So use them wisely.
Anti-androgen medicines like flutamide, spironolactone and cyproterone regulate and diminish the androgen levels in the body. High androgen levels can contribute to an overproduction of oil, which causes acne, hence these medicines work on addressing the root cause.
Note: Do not self-medicate, consult your dermatologist before you begin any medication.
Are There Any Home Remedies For Period Acne?
There are home remedies for everything, dear reader! From caring for weak hair to curing pimples, nature always has ingredients that can help you. Here are some home remedies you can try when period acne troubles you:
For centuries, turmeric has been traditionally used in Indian households to treat a host of skin diseases. You will be surprised to know it works wonderfully against period acne too. Its anti-inflammatory properties can mend symptoms of acne such as redness, swelling and pain.
Using a warm compress can drain out pus and reduce swelling. Use it on your pimples for 10-15 minutes every day to get relief from period acne.
A cold compress can also help to lessen pain and swelling caused by pimples. On days when you do not feel like using a warm compress, use a cold compress against your pimple for 5-10 minutes every day.
Tea Tree Oil
This essential oil has a multitude of benefits for hair, skin and health alike! It is highly effective in reducing inflammation that is caused by acne. Its antimicrobial properties also help reduce acne symptoms such as redness and swelling.
Warm Green Tea Bag
Green tea, along with detoxifying the body, can also help to reduce inflammation. Green tea has anti-inflammatory properties that can be very effective in reducing pimple pain and swelling.
Delicious and therapeutic, honey is a major ingredient in several Ayurvedic products for skin care. While it moisturises the skin, it also has antimicrobial properties that can kill acne-causing bacteria, thus providing you with relief.
What Changes Should I Make In My Diet?
While home remedies and OTC medicines are very helpful in dealing with period acne, observing your diet and altering it can be beneficial in the long run. After all, you are what you eat, isn’t it true?
Some studies have suggested that regulating your blood sugar levels by eating foods that have a low glycaemic index (GI) can help with hormonal acne. Foods high in GI are capable of worsening your acne, and these foods should be avoided, or at least their consumption must be reduced. Some foods high in GI include:
- sugary foods and drinks
- white bread
- highly processed foods
Many of these foods have been known to increase inflammation, which also plays a role in acne.
While totally cutting these foods off your diet may be difficult, you can reduce their consumption and notice the difference for yourself.