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Credit: George Hodan

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Most women experience acne before their menstruation. This is a normal phase of a woman's life. But, it doesn't mean that you have to live by it especially when it is preventable. All it takes is for you to understand what happens during menstrual acne and practice some regimes that will help control acne breakouts. How will you do this? This issue will be fully explained as you read further.

The reason behind menstrual acnes

As you know, there are different causes of acne. But, if it occurs before your menstrual cycle, there is only one culprit you can blame, your hormones.

With imbalanced hormone levels, oil production is increased. Aside from that, excessive testosterone levels in your body will also cause water retention. For this reason, skin sensitivity and swelling occurs during this period. With skin swelling, your pores become smaller and it can easily be clogged leading to acne breakouts.

Remember, hormone fluctuation will occur after ovulation specifically on the 20th to the 25th day of a woman’s menstrual cycle. If excessive oil production is still uncontrolled during this period, acne will typically appear by the 26th or the 28th day of the cycle. 

Preventive measures

woman's clear faceCredit: George Hodan

Your main goal to prevent acne before menstruation is to control oil production and maintain the natural pH of your skin. There are  a lot of ways to  regulate your hormone levels.

First, is by avoiding foods that may improperly stimulate oil production such as refined carbohydrates, dairy products and products rich in iodine.

Birth control pills are also used to control oil production and decrease the effects of testosterone by releasing a protein known as sex-hormone binding globulin (SHGB). This specific protein can absorb excess amounts of testosterone in your blood. Hence, preventing skin swelling and acne breakouts. However, if you choose to use birth control pills, acne breakout may occur during the first four months of use. This is because your body is still adjusting to the change in hormone levels. Furthermore, obese individuals are not advised to take these pills. This is because obesity will only reduce the amounts  of SHGB and increase testosterone levels. Hence, using birth control pills to fight or prevent menstrual acne will only be ineffective. Your best approach is to eat a healthy diet and use non-hormonal therapy.  

Proper hygiene and living a healthy lifestyle is the best non-hormonal remedy for menstrual acne. But, remember, too much cleansing can irritate your face especially if you use harsh soaps. Hence, you should only use water-based cleansing products and preferably those that are herbal.

You should also avoid stress especially during this period where PMS strikes. As you know, stress can also trigger acne outbreaks. That is why you should try to opt for relaxing activities such as massage therapy, yoga or spa treatment when your mood swings starts to manifest. This will typically start during the 26th to 28th day of your menstrual cycle.

When acne formation starts, you can treat it with some herbal remedies for acne or seek professional help. A dermatologist may either prescribe a topical or an oral antibiotic. Nowadays, accutane, a vitamin A derivative may also be prescribed as a treatment.

Important things to remember

As mentioned earlier, a woman’s skin is very sensitive prior to her menstruation. Because of this, one should avoid getting facial treatments during this phase. You should also avoid using any kind of beauty products including facial masks. Doing so will only result in scars. You should take this time to let your skin rest and recuperate.

As for your menstrual acne problems, with the preventive measures mentioned above, it will be resolved in no time. 

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