All the signs are there...bloating, cramping, crankiness...it’s that time of month again.
And for some of us, it’s also the time of month when hormonal acne flares up. In fact up to 65 percent of women experience a worsening of break-outs during their period.
In this 7 Day Glow podcast we are going to tackle period related break-outs so next month you conquer your Glow!
Today we are going to learn more about why you breakout more around your period and what you can do about it.
Identify The Breakout
The first step is to identify what kind of breakout you are suffering from. Is it indeed hormonal acne or is something else causing your breakout?
The easiest way to identify hormonal acne is to look at the timing. Hormonal acne is most likely to flare up during the week before your period or the week of your period. And it tends to clear up or improve when your period is ending or over. If you haven’t had acne in years, but are having flare ups in your 30s, 40s, or 50s, likely menopause or perimenopause is to blame.
If you already have acne you may find your acne tends to get worse the week before or during your period. If you normally have clear skin you might notice a pimple or two pop up during this time. Breakouts that stay mainly along the chin and jawline are typically hormonal.
What Causes Flare-Ups?
What causes your acne to flare up during these same weeks every month? Hormones. Specifically the sex hormones: Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone.
Your hormones fluctuate during your menstrual cycle. Your hormone levels will be at their lowest at the start of your period. All hormones will increase in the approximately 2 weeks leading up to ovulation, but estrogen dominates. Just before ovulation, Testosterone will spike. Just after ovulation, all hormone levels will drop, and then rise again, but this time Progesterone will be dominant. Then just before your period, your hormones will drop to their lowest again, and your cycle will start all over.
Each of these hormones affect our skin in different ways: Estrogen increases collagen production and makes the skin thicker. Progesterone decreases collagen production and makes the skin thinner, leading to dullness and fine lines. Testosterone increases facial oil or sebum production, and can lead to acne. Head over to the show notes for this podcast for a more detailed breakdown of what happens to your skin due to the influence of hormones on a week to week basis.
When our hormones are all balanced we should get through our cycle with little to no breakouts or problems. But many things can knock hormones out of whack: Poor diet, food allergies, stress, medications, and natural times in a woman’s life such as pregnancy and menopause can all cause disruptions in our skin.
It’s a great idea to adjust your skincare routine during each phase of your cycle. During your period, when hormone levels are low, use products that hydrate and restore your skin. Think products with collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid, and soothing herbs such as oat and lavender. In the days between the end of your period and before ovulation, this is the best time to get facials with extractions.
If you are sensitive to the testosterone spike that happens just before ovulation, it might be a good idea to plan a clay mask around this time. Otherwise during ovulation and in the week after, estrogen is naturally boosting your collagen production so minimal skincare is required in these days. During the week before your period, you can get ahead of pms related breakouts by doing a clay mask, washing with an oil based cleanser to calm natural oil production, and exfoliating with natural acids to keep pores clear.
To get relief during a painful breakout or from painful cysts you can try applying a warm compress for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, three to four times a day to clear the clogged pores, then apply an astringent such as witch hazel or apple cider vinegar to cleanse and reduce bacteria.
Other things you can do to reduce hormonal breakouts include:
- Avoid irritating products such as greasy sunscreens, cosmetics, unnatural skincare products and makeup.
- Protect your skin from friction caused by tight collars, chin straps, and helmets.
- Use a non oily sunscreen and cover up with hats and clothing to avoid sun exposure.
- Wash your face following activities that cause you to sweat.
- Do not over apply acne products that may dry out your skin.
- Use an oil based cleanser to balance your skin’s natural oil production. 7 Day Glow’s Clarify BHA Hydrating Cleanser is perfect for this.
- Exfoliate your skin gently and regularly. Boost Resurfacing Treatment uses AHA’s to exfoliate naturally and gently.
- Keep your blood sugar stable by eating balanced meals of adequate protein, fat and carbohydrates, and not skipping meals.
- Keep your guts happy by eating lots of fiber and taking a probiotic.
For a more complete list of foods that can dim your glow listen to the 7 Day Glow podcast about foods that dim your glow. It is number 201 in our feed. => CLICK HERE
Sometimes, when nothing you try works, it is necessary to take your acne battle to a Dermatologist for a closer look at your hormones. If you are noticing other issues with your monthly cycle such as irregular periods, an underlying condition such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (otherwise known as PCOS), a common hormonal disorder, could be the culprit.
Thanks to our hormones, our skin’s needs change regularly. With a consistent skincare regimen targeting exfoliation and cleansing and some changes to your diet and routine as needed, you can conquer hormonal breakouts and keep your skin glowing all month long. If these changes don’t help, try consulting your healthcare provider.
Thank you for spending some of what I KNOW is your busy day with me! In the next episode we are going to try to answer a question that we get asked A LOT here at 7 Day Glow, “Can oily skin use oil based skincare products?” (Spoiler Alert - the answer is YES!)
Have a wonderful, GLOWING week!
I am the natural skincare formulator, biologist, certified clinical aromatherapist, and obsessed self-care advocate who founded 7 Day Glow's holistic, simple skincare approach. I'm on a mission to empower women with the tools they need to find and maintain their Glow simply and with confidence.
Notice: These statements and blog content have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information in our articles and podcasts are not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and are not intended as medical advice. The content of these blogs, podcasts and associated products is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using products or following blog/podcast advice.