Is that particular time of the month fast approaching? Well, then say hello to migraines, cramps, sore breasts, mood swings, and other premenstrual discomforts. And as if these issues weren’t enough, you look in the mirror and bam! – you see several red bumps on your face. Not only do most women dread the general aches and pains of premenstrual symptoms, but many develop new or exacerbated skin issues like period acne. According to a study published in NCBI, a significant number of adult women suffer from period acne. So what exactly is period acne, and how is it directly connected to female hormones? How do we treat it or how to avoid the unwelcome existence of period acne?
What is Period Acne?
Period acne is a condition that develops a week or so before the onset of menstruation and subsides as the first day of bleeding begins. You may notice it more on your chin than on any part of your face. For anyone who has experienced hormonal chin acne, this may cause a week or two of misery. Not only is it unattractive to look at, but it also can be excruciating.
Now let’s find the culprit that brings about this monthly dilemma. A week before a woman’s period starts, the female hormones estrogen and progesterone levels drop. In the proper levels, these two feminine hormones are responsible for the skin’s elasticity and plumpness. At mid-cycle, progesterone levels increase, and sebaceous glands become hyperactive.
These hormonal shifts can trigger changes in skin cell activity to create more sebum secretion that causes clogged pores and breakouts. For women with acne-prone skin, cystic acne and oilier skin may be more noticeable during this time. But there’s no need to wait it out or suffer every month! Here’s some expert advice on how to treat and avoid hormonal period acne.
How to Avoid and Control Period Acne :
1. Wash your Face with a Gentle Cleanser
Choose a mild facial wash that is also paraben-free and unscented so as not to create any additional irritation. Parabens are effective preservatives widely used in cosmetics and skincare products but are known to interfere with hormone production. Fragrance in skincare can also be harmful by triggering allergic reactions, resulting in red and itchy skin. No matter how mild the possible allergic reactions maybe, you wouldn’t want to add another pesky skin problem to your list.
Read more: 5 Ways to Prevent Face Mask Skin Problems
2. Consider Benzoyl Peroxide
If you happen to win the cystic acne jackpot gene, too, an over-the-counter product that contains 2% benzoyl peroxide can shrink the size of your pimples. Benzoyl peroxide is a widely used acne treatment, which works by killing bacteria underneath the skin. However, be wary of too much sun when treating your acne with this over-the-counter topical medication. Sun exposure can cause the spots where you apply this medication to darken. If your acne worsens, consult your dermatologist.
3. Take a Contrast Shower
After a long day’s work, nothing is more appealing than getting into the shower to de-stress a little bit and soothe your tired body. Make your bathing experience more invigorating by alternating hot and cold water. Taking a hot-cold shower has been proven to have certain physiological effects such as increased heart rate, enhanced metabolism, and a stronger immune system. An Australian study also demonstrated that the perception of athletes about their recovery was superior after they took contrast showers. Make sure though that you keep your contrast shower experience to five to ten minutes so as not to compromise the protective barrier of your skin (which can happen with too much hot water exposure).
4. Stay away from Junk food
Craving some unhealthy but oh-so-good comfort food? Before grabbing that cheesy pizza together with that cold soda, think again. Refined grains are basically made into flour-based refined carbohydrates such as pizza, crackers, chips, pasta, and bread and are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. Blood sugar quickly rises, and so do insulin levels to balance blood glucose levels. Consistent high insulin can cause oil glands to excrete more sebum, which can cause or aggravate acne. The proteins in milk, whey, and casein increase insulin production. A 12-ounce can of cola has almost 10 teaspoons of sugar. Imagine that insulin party happening in your body by simply munching on that pizza and soda dinner. Now think about the devastating effects on your skin, and you’re likely never to want to eat junk food again. Instead, opt for healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, whole grains, and legumes. Plan your meals to avoid greasy and high-calorie fast food.
Read more: 5 Worst Foods to Avoid to Prevent Acne
5. Fill up on Leafy Greens and Healthy Fruits
Regularly consuming large quantities of green and leafy vegetables and low-sugar fruits, such as berries and lemons, is the way to go. These foods are rich in antioxidants which help combat the free radicals that wreak havoc on your skin, especially during your period. In addition, supplement your plant-based diet with supplements like zinc, vitamins A and E, and the skin- and heart-friendly omega 3 fatty acids, which are also powerful acne fighters.
Read more: How To Get Glowing Skin In 2 Weeks Naturally
6. Get Enough R & R (that’s rest and rejuvenation!)
Part of a healthy lifestyle is getting enough sleep and rest. Every day, we battle multiple stressors. When we are all worked up and anxious, the excess cortisol from stress produces more active sebaceous glands. If you don’t get restorative sleep, your body produces more cortisol, making your skin even oilier and more prone to hormonal acne. Give yourself enough Zzzs and breaks to self-recover and rejuvenate. The result will be glowing and radiant skin that you will be thankful for.