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Periods and Acne: Are They Correlated?

You just got your skin under control and put your favorite spot correcting concealer back in the depths of your beauty bag when BOOM, you wake up to the fresh pre-period breakout. Acne bumps can make you big mad, but if you’re getting them just before your period, they might be related.

Rael knows your period requires a lot from your body, and if you’re dealing with breakouts, it can require a lot of patience, too. Thankfully, we’ve got your solutions. Let’s talk about how your period and acne are correlated and what you can do to settle down period-related blemishes and bumps. 

Of course, you know we’re going to talk about your hormones.

Your Hormones: Friends or Enemies?

Hormones get a bad rap. We blame them for big moods, cramps, irregular periods, and of course, blemishes. The truth is, your hormones are actually good. They control and regulate virtually every process in your body.

The hormones in charge of your period are your sex hormones, and your body makes three specific ones. These hormones help you grow and develop, prepare you for pregnancy, and keep your reproductive organs happy and healthy. 

Estrogen

When you think hormones, you think estrogen. It’s the female sex hormone that initiates puberty, helps you develop, and starts your period. Estrogen has other non-reproductive functions like helping regulate your cholesterol, helping to protect your bones, and encouraging mental stability. 

Progesterone

Progesterone helps regulate your period and is vital for pregnancy. It prepares the body for conception and helps your body take care of the baby if you become pregnant. During pregnancy, your progesterone levels spike, and they also spike during ovulation, triggering the release of an egg to be fertilized.

Testosterone

Surprise! You make it, too. While women don’t make as much testosterone as men, it’s still a crucial component of your hormone profile. Testosterone helps regulate red blood cell production and works with progesterone to help ensure your bones are strong and healthy. It also plays a role in fertility. 

These three hormones regulate your period and are important in your body, but the unfortunate side effect of their fluctuation is that they sometimes promote breakouts. Here’s how. 

Hormonal Changes and Your Skin

You know your hormones are important, and you know their levels rise and fall depending on where you are in your cycle. The amount of each hormone circulating in your system can affect how your skin behaves. 

Estrogen

About ten days before you start your period, your estrogen levels drop. The two to three days before you start your period, your estrogen is deficient. Low estrogen levels can cause your skin to become drier. 

Your sebaceous glands are glands in your skin that release your skin’s natural oil (sebum) to keep your skin lubricated and protected. When your skin feels dry, the sebaceous glands produce sebum to “fix” the problem. 

When your skin becomes dry due to low estrogen levels, the sebaceous glands get the message to produce more oil. This can cause an overproduction of sebum, leading to more clogged pores and breakouts. 

Progesterone

The link between progesterone and your sebaceous glands is somewhat a mystery. Studies show that progesterone may not affect your skin as researchers once believed. In fact, progesterone may even cause your sebaceous glands to produce less sebum. 

Progesterone levels also plummet just before you start your period. The combination of lower estrogen and lower progesterone can leave your skin feeling dull and dry.

Testosterone

Testosterone is a type of hormone called androgen. Androgens are known for causing inflammation, even on your skin. If you already have acne, testosterone can worsen and cause it to be more painful. 

People with deep, cystic acne often have a higher circulating testosterone level than others who don’t suffer from blemishes as much. Testosterone makes the sebum your sebaceous glands produce thicker and stickier, making it easier for it to clog your pores. 

Pores clog when sebum mixes with dirt and dead skin cells and gets trapped inside the pore. Thicker, more adhesive sebum clogs pores more quickly, creating blemishes that can seem to crop up overnight. 

Even though your levels of testosterone remain fairly constant, the decrease in estrogen and progesterone before your period can concentrate the amount of testosterone circulating in your blood and trigger a skin response. 

The Perfect Pimple Storm

Just days before your period, estrogen and progesterone levels decline, causing your skin to become drier. Your skin fires back by producing more sebum, but the sebum it produces is different in texture than it usually is because of your testosterone levels. The result? Bumps, blemishes, and cystic bumps. 

It’s frustrating and sometimes isolated to one area of your face (or body). 

Body Acne and Jawline Acne

If you get acne blemishes before your period, you may notice you get them most frequently on your jawline or even on areas of your body like your chest and back. This is because these are the areas most affected by hormonal acne

There are many different causes of acne, including heredity, improper hygiene, and even using the wrong products. Still, acne that hits just before your period is almost always located in these general areas. That’s why you often get a large, irritating lump on your chin before you start your period. 

But wait, there’s more. What you eat while you’re PMSing could also be triggering your breakouts in a big way. 

Food Cravings and Acne

Maybe your grandmother told you that eating greasy food would make your skin greasy. We know that isn’t true, but new research shows there’s a direct link between what you eat and your skin condition. 

Unfortunately, the two biggest triggers appear to be dairy and sugar, two foods almost everyone can agree are crave-worthy the week before your period. Often, we crave these types of foods because they are comforting. Who doesn’t feel better after binging on Netflix and a pint of your favorite ice cream?

The foods we eat to take the edge off our day might be causing us to wake up with more bumps and blemishes the next morning. Keeping a food journal can help you determine whether your skin is specifically sensitive to a particular food or ingredient. 

Although hormonal acne can seem impossible to get rid of, some solutions can help you deal. 

Kiss Period Acne Goodbye

Your friends at Rael have you covered with all the solutions you need to deal with your period acne and get back in the game. Even if you get blemishes every cycle, we’ve got remedies that work so you never have to waste energy worrying about your skin. Here are five tips for clearer skin, even during your period. 

1. Drink Up

Water is your friend. It helps keep you hydrated and can even help alleviate period-related discomfort like bloating and cramping. Staying hydrated will also help increase your skin’s natural moisture level, which can help keep your skin from overproducing sebum when your hormones fluctuate.

2. Don’t Pick or Pop

Picking and popping your pimples doesn’t work, and what’s worse: it could lead to scarring. It’s normal and natural to feel tempted to pick at a bump, but leaving them alone is the best way to get rid of them fast and without leaving behind a mark. 

If you find you have trouble leaving them alone, try using an acne patch to keep them protected from your fingers. 

3. Clean Up Your Diet

You don’t have to eat lettuce instead of a donut, but you can make a better dietary choice if you find that a particular ingredient (like dairy or sugar)  triggers your bumps. There are numerous options for dairy-free ice cream available, and eating dried or fresh fruit can curb a sweet tooth if sugar causes your skin to explode with bumps. 

4. Exercise

Getting exercise helps improve your mood, encourages your body to let go of excess water you might be retaining, and helps flush out toxins, so your skin stays healthy and radiant. Just thirty minutes of exercise a day is enough to improve blood flow to your skin and ensure it's getting all the nutrients it needs to stay radiant. 

5. Try Pimple Stickers

Pimple patches (also known as pimple stickers) are small, invisible patches you place over active blemishes to help shrink them and get rid of them. Think of it as hitting the delete button on your bumps. No matter what kind of blemish you’re dealing with, there’s a patch to help. 

  • For deep, irritating cysts, try Rael’s Microcrystal Spot Cover is the solution. These spot covers are formulated with oil-busting tea tree oil and total; our microcrystal spot cover digs deep into under-the-skin bumps to break them up and gently lift away what’s inside. 

    Your skin is left feeling smoother and pain-free, almost like that bump never happened. 
  • If you are dealing with pimples (including ones with shiny whiteheads), try our Invisible Spot Cover. Medical grade hydrocolloid technology helps protect your bump from dirt and your fingers while drawing out pus and oil. 

    For nighttime coverage, our Overnight Spot Cover is your go-to. The overnight cover is more adhesive than our daytime pimple patch, so no matter how many times you toss and turn worrying about your pimple, the patch won’t come off. You’ll wake up to cleaner, more clarified skin. 
  • For body acne or clusters. Sometimes you get a group of pimples in one area or a large rash of them on your back or chest—Rael’s Pimple Patch XL to the rescue. Our largest patch uses the same hydrocolloid technology as our other patches to gently and effectively erase your blemishes. Still, it comes in a larger size to cover larger areas of acne bumps. 

Our hydrocolloid pimple patches are the easiest way to protect your skin and get rid of blemishes at the same time, without the use of harsh ingredients that can leave your skin dry, itchy, or uncomfortable.  

Get Rael

If you’ve thought your acne is related to your period, you’re probably right. It’s completely normal to get breakouts before, during, and even after your period. Your hormones frequently change during the four phases of your cycle, and your skin can get a little oily if your hormones fluctuate. 

Don’t worry; you can deal. Rael has natural, holistic products that help you take the best care of your skin during any phase of your cycle. 


Sources:

Role of hormones and blood lipids in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris in non-obese, non-hirsute females | NCBI 

The Link Between Acne & Testosterone | UPMC HealthBeat 

Adult Acne | Acne at age 30 | Tufts Medical Center 

Acne: The Role of Medical Nutrition Therapy | JANDOnline.org 

Estrogen | Hormone Health Network
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