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Popping Period-Pimple Anxiety (...Don’t Actually Pop Them)



5 min read

Thinx - Periodical - Popping Period-Pimple Anxiety (...Don’t Actually Pop Them)

by Sandy Sanchez | 12/09/2020

I used to wonder why my skin looked pretty clear most of the month, and then all of a sudden — boom. I’d notice pimples starting to pop up around my chin area. Never once did it occur to me, “oh wait... could this be... related to my period?”

Answer: Yes, my pimples were definitely related to my period. Our periods have a huge impact on our bodies. Hence why on certain days, we can have back pain, or tender breasts, or pimples. This is all because of hormones. Estrogen and progesterone contribute to acne and fluctuate throughout the 28-day cycle and can cause inflammation, oil production in the pores, and the production of bacteria. 

Personally, I’m a “pop-the-pimple-and-put-toothpaste-on-it-and-hope-it-goes-away” kind of person but I know this is not the healthiest way to go. (I am trying my hardest to not do this anymore). Here’s what you need to know about why period pimples happen and how to deal:

premenstrual acne

Premenstrual acne (or PMS acne) is a consistent flare-up of acne that coincides with your menstrual cycle. Some people have clear skin throughout the month and then break out a week before their period. Others with pre-existing acne may notice that their acne gets worse during their period, too. 

Testosterone plays a *huge* role because it triggers your glands to produce more oil. Progesterone also plays a role, because during the second half of your cycle, its levels rise making your skin more oily.

How do you know if it’s period acne or regular acne? Here’s a little trick: hormonal acne tends to be around the lower part of your face, like your cheeks, jawline, chin, and cheek.

treating period acne 

Most importantly: Don’t. Pop. The. Pimples. Yes, it’s tempting, but don’t! Like any other acne, finding a skincare routine that works for you is the best way to deal with period acne. Look for gentle cleansers that exfoliate your skin and a moisturizer that works for your skin type. We also recommend looking for ingredients such as salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid which absorb into the skin to dissolve pimples. 

Mighty Patch Micropoint for Blemishes from our friends at Hero Cosmetics is another great product to use for fighting pimples — and it’s perfect for us folks who need to stop picking our pimples! If your current skincare routine isn’t working, make sure to talk to your dermatologist.

Your doctor might also recommend hormonal birth control, which helps stabilize hormones and decrease the amount of testosterone in your body. Like we said, testosterone has an effect on oil production, so this can cause acne flares! Another treatment is an oral medication, Spironolactone, which works to lower those testosterone levels. Some people are more prone to developing hormonal acne due to testosterone than others, so make sure to talk to your doctor to see if you need a prescription. 

preventing acne

Dealing with hormonal acne can be tough, but a surefire way to help prevent acne is to always wash your face (and pro-tip, wash anything that touches your face frequently — makeup brushes, pillowcases, YOUR CELL PHONE). For once-in-a-while acne, an acne treatment with retinol into your routine could help minimize any breakouts ahead of your period, but chat with a dermatologist about establishing the best routine for you.

The food you eat can also play a role when it comes to hormonal acne. Try to incorporate foods to your diet that are rich in healthy fats, probiotics, Omega-3s, and Vitamin B to help balance your hormones. And of course, drink lots of water. A classic!

Do you have any tips for treating period acne? Let us know in the comments!

Sandy Sanchez is a freelance writer who was formerly a copywriter at Thinx.

by Sandy Sanchez

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