Pimples, zits, acne... whatever you wanna call it, for many of us women it’s a sure sign that the dreaded period is on its way 🤦🏼♀️ Menstrual acne is a flare-up of blemishes every month that coincides with menstruation. It is relatively common, affecting over 60% of women. Whilst most women start to feel the tell-tale PMS symptoms 3-7 days before their period starts, the changes happening within your body actually begin approximately two weeks prior. It is at this time that your hormones start to change. Your progesterone and testosterone levels increase causing an increase in sebum (oil) production and compressing your pores creating the perfect environment for breakout city! So, what can we do to manage this all too obvious evidence that it is that time of the month?
Here are my top 5 tips:
1. Manage your Stress: PMS acne will absolutely be worse the more stressed out you are. So your first order of business is to make sure you’re controlling stress levels consistently throughout the month. This means meditate, get a massage, take a walk around the block, or practice a hobby. Take in fresh air, make a cup of tea, make time to read a book before be, keep a journal, and keep up a regular exercise routine to get those endorphines pumping for feel-good vibes.
2. Mind your Drinks/Smokes: This one is super simple, but super important: drink water, and then drink some more. When you feel like a soft-drink, juice, or a glass of alcohol - drink another glass of water instead! Water flushes out toxins from your body, keeps you hydrated and doesn’t have any of the side effects of other beverages (sugar, carbs, hangovers). Also cutting down or preferably cutting out your smoking! Smoking is a huge contributing factor to all types of acne, so especially important to cut it out in order to assist with those period break outs!
3. Mind your Diet: It’s not just for health or weight control - a low-sugar, vitamin rich diet is often the small lifestyle change that you need to control that PMS acne! A reduction in saturated fats and oils, dairy and other foods do make a difference in the general health of your skin. Especially during that time of the month, a good level of vitamin and antioxidant intake will eliminate those break outs, and give you a healthy glow that resists age and hormonal acne! Think lean meats, fish, nuts, legumes and leafy greens!
4. Up your Cleanliness: While hormonal acne is internal, by reducing the amount of bacteria you expose your skin to, the more you’ll reduce the chance of having those period pimples. Stick to a skincare regimen that works for your skin type - adding a soothing deep cleansing mask for your skin during that two week party your hormones have before your period starts. Make sure to clean your makeup brushes once or twice a week, as well as cleaning your pillow cases and bed linen regularly to ensure you’re not sleeping on the dirt and oil your skin previously left behind. Keeping your cell phone clean too will also assist in minimising those awful breakouts!
5. Medication: The birth control pill has been shown to help women who experience menstrual acne. The pill works to reduce menstrual acne through two mechanisms. The first is that it increases oestrogen levels - decreasing the effects of the testosterone on the skin, and secondly it decreases the overall oil production. It is important to note that the pill does not have an immediate effect on the skin, and so patience is key with this method. Some women will experience increased acne for approx 3-4months when starting the pill - but this should improve as your body adjusts to the hormones.