Curb Period Acne With This Inner + Outer Routine
By: Madeleine Woon
Your stomach has swollen to the size of a party balloon. The sound of a partner breathing even the slightest bit too loudly is cause enough for a rage blackout. A colossal pimple is banging on the door of your chin’s epidermis, threatening to take up camp for the week. Where boobs once sat, there are now two rock-hard lumps, excruciatingly tender to touch. The unmistakable signs that Aunt Flow has come to town.
The culprit behind all of Flow’s crimes? Fluctuating hormones. Androgens, progesterone and estrogen are all key players in your cycle and fluctuate throughout the month. The constant shifting between each of the hormones determines, in part, what your skin looks like during the course of your cycle. When certain hormones (*cough* testosterone *cough*) surge in the lead up to your period, oil glands double down on oil production, and this causes the cells that line your pores to turn over at lightning speed. When these aren’t sloughed off, the oil build will inevitably lead to pimples—blackheads, whiteheads, you name it—while also feeding whatever acne-causing bacteria already exists. Et voila, a smattering of period pimples awaits.
While we can’t control every aspect of our cycle (yes, I’m looking at you, mood swings), what we can do is arm ourselves with defenses to minimize Aunt Flow’s path of destruction, and rescue your skin from the major hormonal swings…
Consistency is key
Rather than switching your routine for different times of the month, invest in a good sunscreen and moisturizer that works for you throughout the whole cycle. It’s more effective to have a consistent skincare routine to deliver reliable results rather than chopping and changing. Australian dermatologist, Dr. Shyamalar Gunatheesan, agrees. “Consistent skincare throughout the month is the key thing. If you’re taking your makeup off, using a gentle topical retinoid or alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) one to two times a week, generally, you can change the way your dead skin is exfoliated and your sebum is produced.”
You can also battle your breakouts by trying to de-stress and catching more ZzZ’s until your period is over. (Also in general.) “Stress and lack of sleep can negatively affect the skin,” says skincare expert and esthetician Renée Rouleau. “In general, stress will worsen your overall skin condition.”
Cut the treats
Ugh, I know. Why deny myself fries and chocolate when they are what my body yearns, nay screams, for most? Limiting carbohydrates around your period can help to control hormonal fluctuations. This is particularly true if you’re diabetic or if you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), in which case your levels of testosterone would rise.
“Insulin and testosterone are in a positive feedback loop,” explains Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “So as insulin resistance increases, insulin levels go up, and testosterone often increases as well.”
Eat your probiotics
Probiotics, like those found in ZitSticka’s SKIN DISCIPLINE, control the environment for good bacteria in your gut so that they can fight the bad bacteria, and successfully thrive. In the case of SKIN DISCIPLINE, the vitamin, mineral, probiotic, and fatty acid formulation helps to ease surface inflammation, regulate oil levels, and support both a healthy internal and external skin environment.
Patch things up
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, a pimple (or two, or three, or ten) is bound to pop up. In this case, your best defense is to have a patch on hand so you can murder it on the spot. GOO GETTER is a moisture-drawing patch that absorbs fluid, impurities and goo from your surface-level zit to quickly shrink its appearance. Aka, it’s the person for the job.Jam-packed with derm-backed niacinamide, salicylic acid, vitamin c and tea tree, it accelerates your period skin’s clearing and renewal. Can’t help but pick the zit? That’s where our friend HYPERFADE comes in. The infiltrative patch lightens and brightens leftover dark spots after a zit has run its course, fading the evidence of a momentary lapse of judgement-fueled pick session.
Having mixed feelings about your period and birth control? Click here for some menstrual flow inspo.