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  5. How To Deal With Acne Breakouts During Your Periods?

Besides mood swings, painful cramps and bloating, do your monthly periods bring acne pustules with it every time? Are they stubborn or often break out with oozing pus?

Acne breakouts during your period are common, owing to the hormonal fluctuations that take place within your body. However, there are different reliable treatments to manage them.

Let’s check them out in this article!

What Is Period-Acne?

If the acne forms and flares up during a week before your periods, it can be considered as period-acne. Sometimes, the onset of periods may also worsen the already existing acne on your face. It happens due to the imbalanced production of hormones during the menstrual cycle. However, the acne clears up by the end of your period.

What Does Period Acne Look Like?

infected sebaceous glands red acne

Acne breakouts during the period develop as red, inflamed, raised painful bumps. Such breakouts are common on the cheeks, chin, neck, etc. In rare cases, the acm3 develops into pustules.

What Causes Acne To Occur Before And After A Period?

Your body experiences fluctuations in the production of different hormones throughout your menstrual cycle [1].

“Your ovaries start producing estrogen and progesterone hormones at relatively low levels around ten days before your menstruation. This lowered estrogen and progesterone levels trigger overactivity in the sebaceous glands in your skin which starts to secrete sebum in excessive amounts,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.

She further adds, “The excess sebum on your skin traps the dead skin cells which leads to the clogging of your skin pores. When the acne-causing bacteria start to grow in these clogged pores, it results in inflammation and acne breakouts before and during your periods.”

Sometimes, you may notice the period-acne does not go away even after your menstruation ends. This is due to the relatively high levels of testosterone hormone in your body which causes overproduction of sebum in your skin, leading to acne after periods.

Also, the condition of your period-acne worsens if you are under stress or anxiety during menstruation due to raised levels of cortisol hormone in your body.

woman suffering premenstrual syndrome

“In terms of Ayurveda, we can correlate the period-acne that is caused by hormonal imbalance in your body to vitiate Pitta dosha in your body,” says Dr. Zeel. In a way, you can benefit from Pitta controlling treatments, lifestyle, and diet during your periods, which can result in reduced acne on your skin.

Symptoms Of Period-Acne

  • Inflamed papules
  • Redness
  • Tenderness or pain
  • Development of whiteheads in rare occasions

Where Does Period Acne Show Up?

Period-acne may predominantly show up on the lower region of your face which includes:

  • Cheeks
  • Around nose
  • Chin
  • Jawline

Different studies found that around 50% - 80% of women develop acne during their menstruation. Also, about 65% of women reported worsening of their acne condition during their periods [2].

How To Get Rid Of Period Acne?

1. Ayurvedic Herbal Remedies

Regular skin care using Pitta dosha pacifying herbs during your menstrual cycle is what helps in controlling the period-acne in your face. Below are some of the effective herbal remedies for period-acne:

A. Nimba (Neem)

Start using a neem-based soap or face cleanser a week before your menstruation date. Neem has wonderful anti-microbial properties that prevent bacterial infection, thus controlling acne formation during periods.

B. Kumari (Aloe Vera)

Rub your acne spots with freshly extracted aloe vera gel twice a day. It controls the bacteria growth while reducing inflammation, redness, and pain caused by your period-acne.

C. Haridra (Turmeric)

Apply turmeric paste on your period-acne and wash it off after 20 minutes. Repeat this twice a day. Turmeric is very effective in preventing uncontrollable acne breakouts and reduces inflammation.

D. Amalaki (Indian Gooseberry)

Apply a little amount of amla paste on your pimples and rinse it off after half an hour. Amla is a rich source of vitamin C which helps in preventing scarring caused by acne.

E. Tulsi (Basil)

Prepare a juice by crushing some fresh tulsi leaves. Apply it on your acne and wash it off after half an hour. Tulsi calms down the pain and swelling on your face and prevents pus formation in your period-acne.

F. Panchatikta Ghrita Guggulu

This Ayurvedic medicine comprises herbs such as neem, amrita, shunti, gajapippali, shuddha guggulu, etc. which are very effective in correcting the hormonal imbalances in your body. You can take the tablet in the morning and evening with normal water.

2. Home Remedies

  • You can use a warm compress or cold compress for 10-15 minutes a day to relieve the inflammation and pain caused by period-acne.
  • Mix a few drops of tea tree oil in your face wash and cleanse your face with it twice a day.
  • Apply lemon water on your acne papules using a cotton ball. Leave it overnight and wash it off the next morning.
  • Rub your acne spots with a small watermelon slice and leave it overnight. Wash it off the next morning.
  • You can also apply some raw honey to your acne spots and wash them away after half an hour.
  • Putting a warm green tea bag on the period-acne for a few minutes a day will help in reducing the inflammation and aids in rapid healing of your skin.

Vedix Tip: Never pop your period-acne as it may lead to more pain. It also increases the acne formation in the regions around the popped pimple.

3. Suitable Diet During Periods

  • Include a lot of fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, celery, peas, radishes, sweet potato, lettuce, cucumber, leafy greens, mushroom, potatoes, okra, spinach, cabbage, pumpkin, cilantro or coriander, avocado, and cauliflower among others in your diet regularly.
  • Including cooling herbs such as brahmi, shatavari, and guduchi in your meals is beneficial.
  • Make herbal tea using fennel, coriander and cumin seeds. Take it thrice a day during your menstruation.
  • Flavor your meals using milder spices such as turmeric, ginger, and fennel seeds.
  • Ensure any food you eat has a low glycemic index (GI) [3].
  • Avoid foods with a high glycemic index such as white bread, artificial sugars, and other processed foods. They can worsen your period-acne [4].
  • Strictly stay away from oily, hot, spicy or salty foods.

4. Other Medications

  • You can use OTC ointments that contain benzoyl peroxide (2.5%) as a spot treatment.
  • You can use a face cleanser or moisturizers that contain salicylic acid or glycolic acid.
  • You can also use creams that contain tea tree oil for spot treatment [5].
  • Your doctor may prescribe low-dose antibiotics such as Tetracycline or Accutane (in case of uncontrollable acne). However, using Accutane may have different side effects such as birth defects in pregnant women, increase in suicidal tendency, etc. which you need to discuss with your doctor before administration of the drug.

How To Prevent Acne Breakouts During Periods?

  • Know your skin type and always use skin products that are most suitable for your skin type. This can help in maintaining the balance of your skin’s pH.
  • Know your period cycle and start using rosewater regularly as a toner from a week before your menstruation date. This prevents clogging of your skin pores with sebum.
  • Avoid using harsh skin products and cosmetics that may cause irritation and inflammation on your skin.
  • Clean your mobile phone screens every time before you have a call or prefer using earphones. Your mobile phone can be home to millions of bacteria, which get transmitted to your facial skin (at cheeks and jawline) when you talk.
  • Always remove your make-up before bedtime.
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands. It can transfer the bacteria to your facial skin, in turn leading to acne breakouts. Always use clean hands to remove makeup or apply a moisturizer on your face.
  • Keep yourself well hydrated and get adequate sleep.
  • Avoid exposing your skin to UV radiations as much as possible. Never forget to apply an effective sunscreen lotion if you are going out during the daytime.
  • Always wash your face with an effective herbal cleanser after your workout session or any activity that causes sweating. This prevents the build-up of sweat and bacteria in your skin pores.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and freshly cooked vegetables that are rich in zinc and other nutrients to reduce the occurrence of period-acne.
  • Avoid causing friction to your skin by using uncomfortable helmets with tight straps or collars.
  • Avoid taking birth control pills.
  • Practice yoga and meditation regularly to keep your stress levels under control.

young woman enjoying yoga

How Long Does Period Acne Last?

“You may notice the occurrence of acne about 7-10 days before the onset of your period, which may subside within a few days after the bleeding starts,” says Dr. Zeel. So, a period-acne can last for around 2 weeks.

When Should You Go To The Doctor About Period-Acne?

Visit your dermatologist when your period-acne turns out into severe cystic acne or if you develop dark patches on the back of the neck and other regions on the body during menstruation.

You may need to visit a gynecologist if you notice any of the following issues alongside period-acne:

  • Irregularity in menstruation caused by PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome).
  • Hair loss and hair thinning on the scalp and other regions of the body.
  • Sudden weight gain or difficulty in shedding weight.

The Last Word

Among different treatment options, it's always better to go the Ayurvedic way when it comes to period-acne as it helps in keeping your doshas in balance. Also, ensure you consume adequate water and get sufficient rest during your menstruation to keep your stress hormones in check.

At Vedix, we analyse your skin problems and the related dosha imbalances, based on which, we customize an Ayurvedic skin care regimen with long term benefits.

Know Your Dosha Now

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