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Acne Before Period: Understanding the Connection

If you've ever noticed an annoying pattern of pimples popping up right before your period, you're not alone. Many women experience acne before period due to hormonal fluctuations in their menstrual cycle.

This comprehensive guide will dive into the causes, prevention, and treatment options for premenstrual acne, helping you achieve clear and healthy skin despite hormonal breakouts.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle are the primary cause of acne before period, and understanding these patterns can help manage and prevent breakouts more effectively.

  • A consistent skincare routine tailored to acne-prone skin, stress management, and lifestyle adjustments can contribute to healthier skin and reduced acne breakouts related to the menstrual cycle.

  • Tracking your menstrual cycle and adjusting your skincare routine and lifestyle can lead to better acne management and clearer, healthier skin.

  • Exposed Skin Care offers a range of products formulated with both scientific and natural ingredients, designed to help manage acne breakouts, including those caused by hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle.

Period cramps closeup

The Science Behind Period Acne

Hormonal Fluctuations and Acne

During a woman's menstrual cycle, hormone levels fluctuate, with estrogen and progesterone levels rising and falling at various stages. These hormonal fluctuations can cause acne breakouts, especially in the week leading up to your period when progesterone levels are at their highest.

Acne-Causing Factors

Several factors contribute to acne before period:

  • Increased oil production: Higher progesterone levels stimulate the sebaceous glands, increasing oil production on the skin's surface.

  • Inflammation: Hormonal fluctuations can cause inflammation, which leads to red, painful bumps and inflammatory acne lesions.

  • Acne-causing bacteria: The oily substance produced by sebaceous glands (sebum) provides a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria, exacerbating acne symptoms.

  • Clogged pores: Excess oil, combined with dead skin cells, can clog hair follicles, resulting in acne breakouts.

Skin texture unhealthy with with enlarged pores

Managing Acne Before Period

Skincare Routine for Acne Prone Skin

Following a consistent skincare routine can help control acne and prevent breakouts:

  • Cleanse: Use a gentle cleanser with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to remove excess oil, kill bacteria, and unclog pores.

  • Exfoliate: Incorporate an exfoliant with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic or lactic acid into your routine to remove dead skin cells and clear pores.

  • Treat: Apply spot treatments containing benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can kill acne-causing bacteria.

  • Moisturize: Choose a non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep skin hydrated without clogging pores.

  • Sun protection: Use broad-spectrum sunscreen daily to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Birth Control Pills for Hormonal Acne

Oral contraceptives, known as birth control pills, can help regulate hormone levels and reduce acne symptoms.

Birth control pills containing both estrogen and progestin can increase sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels, which in turn decreases free testosterone, a male hormone that contributes to oil production and acne.

However, birth control may not be suitable for everyone, and some women may experience side effects or irregular periods while taking it.

Teen girl with birth control pills combined oral

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Acne Breakouts

Incorporating healthy habits into your daily life can help control acne and support clear skin:

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Hormone levels fluctuate less in women who maintain a healthy weight, reducing the likelihood of acne breakouts.

  • Manage stress: Stress can worsen acne by increasing inflammation and oil production. Practicing stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or exercise can help keep acne under control.

  • Get enough sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support healthy skin.

  • Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water is essential for overall health and maintaining a healthy glow.

Over-the-Counter Treatments for Acne

There are various over-the-counter treatments available to help manage acne before period:

  • Salicylic acid: This beta-hydroxy acid penetrates pores to exfoliate and clear clogged pores, reducing acne symptoms.

  • Benzoyl peroxide: A potent antimicrobial agent, benzoyl peroxide helps kill bacteria and reduce inflammation in acne-prone skin.

  • Glycolic acid: An AHA, glycolic acid helps exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells, promoting clear skin.

  • Tea tree oil: With natural anti-inflammatory properties, tea tree oil can help soothe and heal acne lesions.

Close up beauty portrait of african woman with tea tree oil

Professional Treatments for Severe Acne

If over-the-counter treatments and lifestyle changes are not enough to manage acne symptoms, professional treatments may be necessary:

  • In-office treatments: Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy can help reduce acne symptoms and improve skin texture.

  • Acne surgery: In severe cases, dermatologists may perform acne surgery to remove large, painful cysts and improve the appearance of acne scars.

  • Oral medications: Prescription medications like oral antibiotics or isotretinoin may be prescribed for severe acne, but they come with potential side effects and risks, including birth defects for isotretinoin.

Stress and Its Impact on Acne Before Period

The Connection Between Stress and Hormonal Acne

Stress can significantly impact hormonal acne, exacerbating acne breakouts before your period. When the body is under stress, it releases cortisol, a hormone that can increase oil production in the skin.

This excess oil, combined with dead skin cells, can clog pores and create an environment for acne-causing bacteria to thrive.

Stressed young businesswoman at office desk

Stress-Management Techniques for Reducing Acne Breakouts

Incorporating stress-management techniques into your daily routine can help minimize stress-related acne breakouts:

  • Meditation: Practicing mindfulness meditation can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, which may reduce the severity of acne breakouts.

  • Exercise: Regular physical activity has been shown to decrease stress levels and improve overall well-being, which can help manage acne symptoms.

  • Deep breathing exercises: Deep breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing, can help activate the body's relaxation response and reduce stress.

  • Yoga or tai chi: Both yoga and tai chi combine physical movement with deep breathing and meditation, making them excellent stress-relieving activities.

  • Adequate sleep: Ensuring you get enough restorative sleep is crucial for reducing stress and maintaining healthy skin.

Acne Scar Prevention and Treatment

Preventing Acne Scars

To prevent acne scars, managing active acne breakouts and avoiding picking or squeezing pimples, which can cause inflammation and lead to scarring. Following a consistent skincare routine and seeking professional treatment for severe acne can also help prevent scarring.

Treating Acne Scars

There are several options for treating acne scars, depending on the type and severity of the scarring:

  • Topical treatments: Over-the-counter creams and gels containing ingredients like retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids, and vitamin C can help improve the appearance of mild acne scars.

  • Chemical peels: A chemical peel involves applying an acid solution to the skin, which removes the top layer of skin cells and promotes the growth of new, smoother skin.

  • Microdermabrasion: This non-invasive procedure gently exfoliates the skin's surface, removing dead skin cells and promoting the growth of new, smoother skin.

  • Microneedling: Microneedling involves puncturing the skin with tiny needles to stimulate collagen production, which can help reduce the appearance of acne scars.

  • Surgical procedures: For severe scarring, surgical procedures like punch excision or subcision may be necessary to improve the appearance of the skin.

  • Laser therapy: Laser treatments can help reduce the appearance of acne scars by stimulating collagen production and resurfacing the skin.Laser face skin therapy in cosmetology beauty

Menstrual Cycle Tracking and Acne

Benefits of Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle

By tracking your menstrual cycle, you can better understand the patterns and timing of hormonal fluctuations contributing to acne breakouts.

This knowledge can help you anticipate and manage acne breakouts more effectively, allowing you to adjust your skincare routine, lifestyle habits, and treatments as needed.

How to Track Your Menstrual Cycle for Acne Management

  • Mark the first day of your period: The first day of menstrual bleeding is considered day one of your cycle. Record this date in a calendar or menstrual cycle tracking app.

  • Track your cycle length: Note the number of days between the start of one period and the start of the next. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days, but it can vary from person to person.

Lady looks at the days in the calendar menstrual

  • Monitor hormonal acne breakouts: Pay close attention to when acne breakouts typically occur during your cycle. Many women experience acne flare-ups during the week before their period, when hormone levels fluctuate the most.

  • Record additional symptoms: Along with tracking acne breakouts, note any other premenstrual symptoms you may experience, such as bloating, mood swings, or food cravings. This information can help you identify patterns and correlations between hormonal fluctuations and acne breakouts.

  • Adjust your skincare routine: Based on the patterns you observe, you can tailor your skincare routine to address acne before it becomes severe. For example, if you notice that breakouts tend to occur a week before your period, you can increase the use of acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide during that time.

  • Consider lifestyle changes: If you observe a connection between your menstrual cycle and acne breakouts, consider implementing lifestyle changes such as stress reduction, dietary adjustments, and exercise to help manage acne symptoms more effectively.

By tracking your menstrual cycle and making appropriate adjustments to your skincare routine and lifestyle, you can better manage acne breakouts related to hormonal fluctuations and maintain clearer, healthier skin.

Exposed Skin Care: An Effective Solution for Acne Before Period

Exposed Skin Care offers a range of products specially formulated to help manage acne breakouts, including those caused by hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle.

Exposed Skin Care Ultimate Kit

By incorporating Exposed Skin Care products into your skincare routine, you can experience numerous benefits in managing acne before period:

  • Combination of Science and Nature: Exposed Skin Care products are formulated with a unique blend of scientific and natural ingredients, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, and green tea extract, providing a comprehensive approach to acne treatment.

  • Preventative Care: Using Exposed Skin Care products as part of your daily skincare routine can help prevent hormonal breakouts by keeping your skin clean and pores clear, reducing the chances of clogged pores and acne formation during your menstrual cycle.

  • Targeted Treatment: Exposed Skin Care offers a variety of products designed to address different acne-related concerns, such as cleansers, toners, serums, and spot treatments, allowing you to customize your routine based on your specific skin needs.

  • Reduced Inflammation and Redness: Many Exposed Skin Care products contain anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe and calm inflamed, acne-prone skin, especially during increased hormonal activity.

By incorporating Exposed Skin Care products into your skincare routine, you can effectively manage acne breakouts before your period and maintain clearer, healthier skin throughout your menstrual cycle.


Acne before period is a common issue many women face, caused primarily by hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle. Understanding the factors that contribute to period acne, such as hormonal changes, stress, and lifestyle habits, is crucial in developing a comprehensive approach to manage and prevent acne breakouts.

Implementing a consistent skincare routine tailored to acne-prone skin, managing stress through techniques like meditation and exercise, tracking your menstrual cycle, and making lifestyle adjustments can all contribute to healthier skin and reduced acne breakouts.

Additionally, exploring various acne treatments, ranging from over-the-counter topical products to professional procedures, can help address different types and severities of acne, including scarring.

By taking a proactive and holistic approach to acne management, you can better anticipate and address acne breakouts related to your menstrual cycle, ultimately leading to clearer, healthier skin.

Remember that each person's experience with acne is unique. By understanding your body's unique patterns and needs, you can develop a customized acne management plan that works best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I prevent acne before period?

To prevent acne before period, maintain a consistent skincare routine, consider birth control pills if suitable, adopt a healthy lifestyle, and explore over-the-counter treatments. It's important to address the underlying hormonal fluctuations and practice good skin hygiene to minimize acne breakouts.

How long does premenstrual acne last?

Premenstrual acne typically lasts for a few days to a week, coinciding with hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle. Acne symptoms usually improve once your period begins and hormone levels stabilize.

Can hormonal acne breakouts be a sign of an underlying health issue?

While hormonal acne breakouts are common and often not a cause for concern, they can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid disorders.

Can diet affect acne before period?

Diet can play a role in acne symptoms. A diet rich in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can support clear skin. Additionally, reducing the intake of processed foods, refined sugars, and dairy products may help alleviate acne symptoms in some individuals.

Are there any natural remedies for acne before period?

Some natural remedies, such as tea tree oil and green tea, have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce acne symptoms. However, it's essential to do your research before incorporating any natural remedies into your acne treatment plan, as their efficacy may vary from person to person.