How To Manage Period Acne

  • by Cinestie Olson

Written by Cinestie Olson

We’ve talked about so many period symptoms over here at Sunny. We’ve discussed mood swings, food cravings, and even the infamous butt cramps! Now, it’s time to discuss another nuisance: period acne. Here’s why breakouts happen before our period and how to manage them when they come.

Why… Just WHY?!

I know, I know. Periods (although natural and empowering) do often come with symptoms that are less than desirable. However, just like all of the other period symptoms, hormones are to blame. Before your period starts, both your estrogen and progesterone levels drop. These rapid drops trigger your sebaceous glands, which are responsible for creating oil on the skin! 

PMS can also trigger breakouts too, as your body is under more stress. Your skin does NOT like stress.

Types Of Acne

Did you know that different kinds of acne require different treatments? Below are the most common breakout types - let’s see what you’re dealing with during your period!

  • Blackheads. A clogged pore stays open, the pimple rises to the skin, and it looks black.
  • Whiteheads. This pimple stays under the skin as the pore closes. The top looks white.
  • Papules. These are pink and inflamed bumps, and they tend to hurt.
  • Cysts. This acne is deep under the skin and filled with pus. They can be extremely painful!

How To Treat

Hormonal acne usually pops up (no pun intended) commonly on the chin, but they can appear anywhere as well (including your vaginal area). Here’s how to treat or tame breakouts when they show up!

  • Warm Compresses. Run a cloth under hot water and press it onto your breakouts for 10-15 minutes at a time. This can draw the pus out and soothe pain!
  • Cold Compresses. Using a cold cloth or an ice pack on your breakouts can help relieve pain and swelling.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide. This can come in ointments or gels that you can apply directly to the acne. This helps reduce acne-causing bacteria!

Other Tips

Here are a few other tips that can help your period breakouts and overall skin health! Most of these are over-the-counter and can be found at your local drugstore :)

  • Wash your face morning and night with a gentle cleanser
  • Using glycolic acid pads or toners helps clean dead skin cells that can be responsible for breakouts and reduce inflammation.
  • Salicylic acid is a great spot treatment! This can help decrease redness and swelling.
  • Tea tree oil is another great spot treatment that kills bacteria.

*Please talk with your doctor/dermatologist before use of new skin products

Lastly, make sure to avoid the following:

  • Products that can irritate your skin, like greasy moisturizers.
  • Limit your time in the sun! UV rays can increase inflammation.
  • Not washing your face after sweating.
  • Eat foods that are greasy or oily.
  • Popping your pimples. We know it’s so tempting… but DON’T!

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