Period Skin: Why Does My Skin Break Out On My Period?

If you don’t notice a change in your skin during the lead up to your menstrual cycle, then kudos to you; you have been touched by the skin Gods. For the rest of us mere mortals, Period Skin is a thing! If the hormonal mood swings and chronic cramps weren’t a tell-tale sign of your PMS, then the big red zit on your face will be. Unrelenting, red and inflamed, diminishing any evidence you had beautiful skin just days earlier, the joys of hormones and womanhood.

A menstrual cycles typical lasts for 28 days before beginning again. Depending on what stage of your cycle you’re in, can determine the effects it has on your skin.

We uncover why breakouts, acne and inflamed skin can occur both in the lead up and during your period and what you can do to help prevent it.

Why Do We Break Out On Our Period?

Everybody is unique, everybody’s skin responds differently to natural bodily functions, but for the most part, collectively as women, our skin goes bat-sh*t-crazy at that “time of the month”.

Premenstrual acne, or as we’re calling it today “Period Skin” is a form of hormonal acne as it occurs in response to fluctuation in the levels of hormones during your menstrual cycle.

On average, the duration of a cycle is approximately 28 days. During this time, your hormones will continually fluctuate in levels. The first half of you cycle (when your period begins + a week thereafter) your estrogen level will increase. During the second half (the lead up to your period), there is a rise in the levels of progesterone.

Progesterone is a female sex hormone; its main job is to get your uterus ready for pregnancy. After you ovulate each month, progesterone helps thicken the lining of the uterus to prepare for a fertilised egg. If there is no fertilised egg, progesterone levels drop and menstruation begins.

Due to these hormonal shifts, all sorts of changes happen to a female’s skin.

The Breakout

We are most at risk of a breakout in the leadup with skin typically settling just days into a period. During the lead up our skin will produce excess oily and sebum and will cause breakouts. This can be further aggravated by eating “comfort foods” with high sugar content (which can cause inflammation under the skin). It can also be made worse by popping, picking and squeezing.

During this time, you will need to be extra diligent of your skin care routine, ensuring that grime and makeup is thoroughly removed daily to eliminate a build-up of dirt causing congestion. 

Top tips:

  • Double cleanse each time to ensure a thorough removal of all makeup and dirt
  • Use an exfoliator to stimulate cell turnover and remove excess oil and grime
  • If you need an extraction, see a professional
  • Drink plenty of water and increase your intake of greens to keep combat the inflammation
  • Increase your intake of good oil in your diet. This will help prevent our natural oils from becoming thick and sticky and will also help us on days 5-10 of our cycle while our skin is slightly drier
  • Cut Dairy. Dairy contains Progesterone, which adds to our already increasing hormone levels. It also causes our skin to over produce skin cells. Excess skin cells and sebum cause blemishes and nasty breakouts.

Remember, there is no one-size fits all approach to treating your skin. You will need to tailor your skin care routine to suit your skins activity at the time. Listen to your body and your skin and respond accordingly.

At Face Fit, our team of expert Skin Specialists can prescribe a skin care regimen to suit each stage of your menstrual cycle to help fight the visible signs of PMS and keep you glowing all month through.

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