Acne: How your menstrual cycle affects it & what to do

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Is that nasty acne breaking out again? We know why it happens and have some good tips on how you can possibly avoid it.

Premenstrual acne or PMS acne is a consistent flare-up of acne every month, coinciding with the menstrual cycle. They tend to be red and inflamed papules which rarely develop a white head. These breakouts appear mostly on the lower part of the face — cheeks, jawline, chin, and neck.

Anywhere from 50% to nearly 80% of women have it before their period is about to come. Some say that their existing acne gets worse right before the period. Others have relatively clear skin during the rest of the month, only breaking out a week or so before their periods. Another study published in the Archives of Dermatology found that 63% of acne-prone women experience premenstrual acne breakouts. The breakouts usually occur about seven to 10 days before the period and then subside as soon as it ends.  

Anyway, it is triggered by the natural monthly changes in your body that happen due to hormonal fluctuations.

2 hormones to “blame” for your monthly acne are progesterone and testosterone.

The mid-cycle progesterone rise stimulates the production of sebum (it is a thick, oily substance that acts as a natural skin lubricant). As levels of progesterone increase, the skin swells and pores are compressed shut.

Testosterone levels stay fairly the same throughout your cycle, but as estrogen begins to drop, testosterone ends up being relatively higher. It is also a factor in acne development because it makes your sebaceous glands produce more sebum.

Eventually, the shift of volumes of these two hormones triggers acne breakouts or its worsening.

It is a natural process that cannot be prevented or radically changed, but here’s what can actually be done to minimize acne breakouts.

If you observe that your acne breakouts are severe, don’t hesitate to talk to your ob-gyn.

Keep logging your data with the MIA app, so we can help you have more scientifically backed insights regarding your health and your cycle.


Health Tips for Women
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