If period is a cake made of stomach cramps, bloating and a cranky mood all day err day, period acne is the cherry on top. The culprit behind all of these: hormones.
Why do we put the blame on hormones?
About two weeks before menstruation happens, estrogen and progesterone levels spike to prepare your body for fertilization, or pregnancy. When hormone level increases, sebum production increases too. Combine that with dead skin cells, bacteria and sebum accumulation, and you have it: acne breakouts.
We’re complicated, and so are our body mechanisms - it’s close to impossible to identify a single solid cause behind the breakout. While we can’t control it entirely, we can certainly try our best. Here’s how.
Tip #1: Hands off!
While on our period, we experience hot flashes, night sweats and dizziness among other evils. These PMS symptoms make it ever more enticing to touch our faces (wiping off sweat, resting your head, etc). Unknowingly, we transport germs from our hands and various other surfaces to our faces, causing more breakouts. To minimize that, the easiest way is to wash your hands with soap and water before touching your face. Alternatively, prepare fresh face towels every day to wipe your sweat (and tears) away.
Tip #2: Clean your cellphones!
Due to higher levels of sebum secretion along the jawline and around the chin, period acnes love breaking out in these areas. These are also where your face comes in contact with your phone - one of the filthiest items you own - when you answer a call, giving germs a chance to migrate and invade your face. If cleaning your phone is too much hassle, try using earphones instead.
Tip #3: Adopt a healthier lifestyle
The four pillars of a healthy lifestyle: drinking more water, cutting back on dairy and sugar, avoiding processed food and staying stress-free. Water is key to a healthy digestive system, while a healthy diet reduces intake of said toxins, leading to better metabolism and less hormone fluctuations. Lastly, managing your stress not only goes a long way for maintaining your mental wellbeing, but also helps keep your hormones stable.
Tip #4: Sweat away your period acne
Moving even an inch while period cramps render you immobile may seem unthinkable, but being active actually tackles both period cramps and acne - the former by way of reducing bloating and releasing the ‘feel good’ hormone, endorphin. Sweating also helps push dirt and oils trapped in your pores to the skin surface, making it easier to cleanse, thereby preventing acne.
Tip #5: Get older.
An effortless solution! Albeit slow and comes with its own fair share of undesirable side effects. As we get older, hormones start to settle down and become less aggressive towards our body. Lay back, relax, and let time and nature do their thing.
If these tips aren’t applicable to you, consider consulting a gynaecologist for OTC birth control pills options, or find out if any hidden hormonal diseases are causing you these pesky period acnes. Wishing you happier and healthier periods!
What Are Hormonal Acnes and Do I Have Them?
Behind every breakout on our face is a million different factors that may be causing it, internally or externally. It’s hard to identify the main culprit behind each new bump on our faces. For women who go through hormone fluctuations every month, we like to think that’s the reason.
Well, hormones could be part of it, but not entirely! Did you know that hormones have partners in crime too? Genetic factors, hygiene, bad skincare routine and even our own hands could cause acne. So, how do we recognize hormonal acne?
If your acne tend to pop out when you are going through high levels of stress, they are most likely hormonal acne. Our brain perceives stress as a threat and floods our body with hormones to enhance energy and alertness. When our hormones are constantly triggered and going through fluctuations, sebum secretion becomes excessive, leading to breakouts.
Is it that time of the month again? Throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle, hormone fluctuations are inevitable. A few changes that cause acne flare-ups include:
- Increased progesterone level during the second half of our cycle.
As progesterone surges, our skin swells up and shuts pores forcefully. Once excess sebum gets trapped beneath the skin, an acne eruption isn’t far. In addition, acne breakouts are also highly likely to happen during the 6th week of pregnancy.
- Increased testosterone level
As period approaches, both estrogen and progesterone levels drop to the lowest, while the trace amount of testosterone in women’s bodies spike ever so slightly. This sometimes contributes to excessive secretion, which increases the risk of inflamed sebaceous glands and therefore, acne.
To determine whether your acne is hormonal, mark your breakouts on your calendar, and observe if they occur at regular times each month.
The lower part of the face is a hotbed for acne - cheeks, jawline, chin, and neck. These are areas of higher sebum secretion than the rest of our face. If your acne often flares up in these spots, you might have hormonal acne.
If your acne comprises two or more of these characteristics - congratulations! You now know more about your enemy and are one step closer to exterminating it. Hormonal acne can be really stubborn, so it’s crucial you maintain a healthy and stress-free lifestyle, as well as develop a skincare routine around it. For example, a harsh cleanser won’t do you any good - it strips your skin of the moisture it needs to regulate the oil-water balance, causing your skin to secrete more sebum to compensate for the lack of moisture. If necessary, consult a dermatologist for further clarification.
Looking for the right cleanser for your skin? CLEF Hydrating Cleansing Gel cleanses your skin effectively while retaining the moisture your face needs! Start uprooting your skin issues with CLEF here.