Cystic Acne During Your Period: What It Is And How You Can Fight It
Cystic acne is a severe form of acne affecting the face, chest, and back. It is characterized by multiple inflamed lumps beneath the skin nodules, cysts, and frequently, scars.
Acne is most common during the adolescent and teen years. However, acne can continue into adulthood and can be severe. According to recent studies, premenstrual acne in adults can be seen in 44 percent of women.
Cystic acne can occur as a result of the menstrual cycle as well as during other life events, such as pregnancy and perimenopause, because of hormonal changes.
Treatment can be challenging and may require a combination of medicines. Topical treatment is usually ineffective.
People with cystic acne often need additional treatments such as:
- Oral antibiotics
- Systemic steroids
- Hormonal therapy
One recommended treatment for cystic acne is an oral form of vitamin A. Make sure to speak to a health care provider before beginning to take any kind of supplements. The vitamin A treatment is required for at least five months, and further courses are sometimes necessary.
Others experience cystic acne because of genetics, or they may be acne prone. For these people, a more aggressive approach may be necessary with an oral form of vitamin A called isotretinoin. This is considered to be the best form of treatment for resistant cystic acne.
Get Expert Treatment For Your Skin
Wondering what the best treatment is for your period breakouts? We recommend checking in with a dermatologist or healthcare provider for customized treatment. They have the expertise to prescribe the best skin treatments for your skin and concerns.
To get started, you’ll complete a virtual consultation form where you can describe your skin concerns and acne symptoms. A board-certified dermatologist will create your first treatment plan customized to your unique skin.
Take the confusion out of acne treatment and get started on your journey to healthy skin today.
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Charcoal Masks Can Help Clear Clogged Pores Vladislav Lazutin/shutterstock
What happens to your body:
For about a week following ovulation, the fallopian tubes help the newly released egg travel from the ovary toward the uterus, according to the Office on Women’s Health. The ruptured follicle produces more progesterone to thicken the uterine lining.
How it affects your skin:
Higher levels of progesterone stimulate oil glands and rev up the production of an oil known as sebum, according to Zeichner. “This oil blocks pores and creates an environment that allows bacteria to grow,” he told INSIDER.
“Salicylic acid should be your go-to ingredient at this time,” Zeichner told INSIDER. “It helps remove excess oil from the skin and keep pores clear.”
Garshick added that products with glycolic acid can help in similar ways. Additionally, Garshick suggested using an alcohol-free toner, like Simple Soothing Facial Toner or Murad Clarifying Toner. To clear clogged pores, you can also use a charcoal-based face mask.
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Blood Level And Vitamin B
Vitamin b5 is good for skin and acne, vitamin b7 also called biotin is known for its benefits for the skin so make sure to get enough B vitamins during the day. B vitamins are water soluble, means your body wont stock them in its fat but it will get rid of them through urine so its important to get at least the daily recommendation of B vitamins everyday.
Difference Between Pimple And Acne
Pimples and Acne are common skin conditions in adolescence. Although PMS acne and pimples during menstruation are the same, there is a slight difference between them.
Acne is usually found in roughly textured skin and occurs due to clogged pores. These clogged pores trigger the sebum production. Sebum is produced mainly due to the bacterial action on clogged pores.
Pimples are a type of Acne. The spots on the face during periods are more prominent on the chin. Their oily nature characterizes period zits, and they cause pain on touch.
Read Also: How Long Does Hormonal Acne Last
How Your Period Affects Acne
Menstrual acne, a flare-up of blemishes every month that coincides with menstruation, is fairly common. According to a study published in the Archives of Dermatology, 63% of acne-prone women experience these premenstrual flares. They usually strike about seven to 10 days before the onset of a womanâs period and then subside as soon as bleeding begins.
What Is Acne And Symptoms:
Acne is a generalized skin condition that has many different types of presentations including blackheads, whiteheads and pimples. What we are concerned with here is hormone related acne that occurs before, during or after a PMS or the period stage. However this hormone related acne actually begins for most girls in their teenage years when their adrenal glands start making dihydroepiandrosterone sulfate . DHEAS is an androgen hormone.
They add to the stimulation of oil glands or sebum in the face. In teenagers these hormones are in constant flux and most teenagers suffer from acne on the face and chin. For some women this syndrome of fluctuating hormones continues into adulthood resulting in acne. According to recent studies 63% of women who had adolescent acne showed a 25% increase in inflammatory acne lesions during pms.
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How To Treat Period Acne And Pimples
At present, dermatologists prefer topical retinoid medicine to get rid of period pimples. These medications include active ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide for a quick period acne remedy. Topical tretinoin is also an example of this type of medication available to treat period bumps.
Further, home remedies like Neem paste and Turmeric paste can sometimes work wonders for period pimples and Acne. So, know more about various home remedies for good skin and try addressing your skin problems at home today!
Causes Of Menstrual Cycle Acne:
There are hormonal changes and fluctuations that happen during a womens cycle that can cause acne. The normal cycle of the average woman usually is four weeks long with the peak estrogen levels being about 14 days after the period is complete. When the estrogen levels decrease the progesterone levels increase for most women. It is the hormone progesterone that causes the increase production in the facial oil glands such as sebum a thick oily substance and causes this acne. This is caused by the excess oil filling up the facial pores and causing pimples, whiteheads or blackheads.
Acne usually starts up between two days and seven days before the womans period begins. Usually this acne ends when the period starts because the production of progesterone goes down while the production of estrogen goes up. Women who do have acne usually will have it until their late 30s or early 40s. The production of both hormones during menstruation drops after that time frame.
Prevention and Control:
As mentioned previously the two main hormones involved in the production of PMS acne are estrogen and progesterone. In the first 14 days of the menstrual cycle, estrogen is the most prominent hormone.
So what are any other treatments for acne?
Perhaps the best treatment is cleansing and hygiene in an attempt to keep the oil from building up.
Facial masks or treatments such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can also be used.
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What Is Fungal Acne Vs Hormonal Acne
Fungal acne and hormonal acne are often confused with each other because both types of acne start in the hair follicles. Fungal acne occurs when excess yeast develops, whereas hormonal acne is caused by excess sebum. Fungal acne can result in whiteheads, itchiness and often becomes red, irritated and inflamed.
A Dermatologist Shares The Ultimate Guide To Dealing With Period Acne
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A womans body goes through a lot of changes throughout the menstrual cycle. This happens because of the fluctuating levels of oestrogen and progesterone hormones. Moodiness, cramps, bloating and menstrual acne are all the results of hormonal fluctuations.
Hormonal fluctuations and period acneIn the first half of the menstrual cycle, oestrogen is the predominant hormone. However, in the second half, progesterone levels rise to become the dominant hormone. This increase in the level of progesterone leads to the build-up of sebum beneath the skins surface. Excess sebum can clog pores and produce the bacteria that is responsible for breakouts and inflammation. Moreover, as estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate, the male hormone testosterone can trigger sebaceous gland activity. This can aggravate acne symptoms.
Treating period acneSince period acne is caused by internal factors, we cant really stop them from popping up. But, by taking care of our skin around the time of menstruation, we can make the breakouts less severe.
Practising good skin hygiene is the key to taking care of period acneWash your face with a gentle cleanser at least twice a day. Avoid touching your face as much as possible as hands can introduce more dirt and bacteria. Besides keeping the skin clean, here are some other possible treatments for period acne.
You can also look into some topical treatments
Home remedies can also help
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How To Prevent Acne Before Your Period
There are some lifestyle changes you can try that may help you manage your acne before your period.
Good skin hygiene Bacteria on your face can aggravate premenstrual acne. Keeping your skin clean can help prevent acne before your period. Avoid touching your face too often because your hands can leave bacteria and dirt on your skin. Your phone can carry a lot of bacteria, so cleaning it frequently may also help prevent premenstrual acne.
When you work out at a gym, be mindful of common surfaces that other people may have touched. You can use towels to cover mats, seats, and handles.
Dont smoke Smoking contributes to all kinds of acne.
Maintain a healthy weight A hormone called sex-hormone binding globulin helps fight off acne. This protein acts like a sponge to soak up testosterone in your bloodstream. Having a healthy amount of SHBG means theres less testosterone available to cause acne before your period.
Obesity can reduce SHBG sensitivity, thereby increasing testosterone. Eating a well-balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight may help control acne before your period. Try eating a diet with a low glycemic index with plenty of foods high in zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamins A and E. These can be found in seafood, cheese, nuts, and spinach.
Getting enough vitamins and minerals can help improve your acne. Keep in mind, vitamins and minerals can help maintain healthy skin theyre not useful as a primary treatment for acne.
Is Hormonal Acne Caused By Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, hormonal fluctuations can cause acne. Often, acne gets better as your pregnancy progresses. There are several treatments that you should avoid during pregnancy, including topical retinoids, salicylic acid and isotretinoin. Ask your healthcare provider about the safest acne treatment for you to reduce and eliminate breakouts during pregnancy.
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Eat Your Fruits And Veggies
Eating well is actually a key way to prevent that dreaded hormonal acne. So really, heap those fruits and veggies onto your plateâfor your skinâs sake!
Stacey specifically recommends blueberries and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts because, she explains, âthose foods really help to detoxify the liver. And generally when there’s a lot of acne, especially premenstrual acne, the liver may not be working optimally. So these foods are often beneficial.â
Eating one handful of blueberries one time isnât going to really do anything for your skinâyouâve got to stick to these habits to see results. âWhat happens during your period is a result of how you’ve been treating your body for the entire month previously,â says Stacey.
Try Tea Tree Oil And Acv
Tea tree oil kills C. acnes, the bacteria associated with acne, says Dr. Kindred. As a hormonal acne treatment, she recommends either using a tea tree oil-based cleanser or creating a diluted wash using a mixture of water with a few drops of raw oil that you can apply directly on your breakouts. Dr. Garshick notes that tea tree oil has been shown to reduce inflammation, meaning it may also help reduce the redness associated with hormonal breakouts.
Another derm-recommended ingredient for hormonal acne? Apple cider vinegar. ACV has antibacterial and antifungal properties and can help kill bacteria and yeast on the skin related to conditions like acne, eczema, and dandruff, says Raechele Cochran Gathers, M.D., a board certified dermatologist and founder of MDhairmixtress.com. However, always check with your dermatologist first as ACV is acidic and can cause severe skin irritation when used incorrectly.
Read Also: What Can I Do For Hormonal Acne
What Causes Acne During Your Period
Women who suffer from period acne generally start noticing it about one to two weeks prior to menstruation. The aforementioned study found that an estimated 56 percent of women who experience period acne usually develop it during the week beforehand.
Around this time, estrogen and progesterone levels drop. This hormonal reaction stimulates oil glands to produce higher amounts of oil that can clog pores, especially when it mixes with bacteria and dead skin cells.
Women who already meet risk factors for acne may experience worsened outbreaks during their periods.
You Might Also Notice It Popping Up Down There
Seeing any kind of lump anywhere near your vaginal area can set off some major alarm bells. Before you panic, know that some people do report vulvar breakouts before their period.
Hormones can be to blame for breakouts in this area, but there are other possible period-related causes, too.
Other period products can also cause contact dermatitis, which is a reaction to something that touches the skin. Scented tampons, pads, and wipes can do it.
The deep pimples and cysts that sometimes come with periods can be pretty painful for some, but there are things you can do to ease the pain.
To get relief during a painful breakout, try:
- a warm compress for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, three or four times a day to soothe pain and help draw out pus
Period-related acne can be particularly stubborn. You can help speed up the healing process with a mix of over-the-counter products.
Here are some other things you can do to deal with breakouts:
One of the most frustrating aspects of period acne is that it usually just keeps coming back. Here are things you can do throughout your cycle to stay two steps ahead of those pesky hormones.
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The Dermatologist’s Guide To Treating Menopausal Acne
As if the hot flashes and mood swings weren’t enough, add “constant breakouts” to the list of menopausal symptoms. The root cause should come as no surprise it all comes back to good old-fashioned hormonal changes. And these hormonal changes can cause acne not only during menopause, but also before and after. In other words, it can be something you’re dealing with for years to come. But the good news is that, with the right approach and treatment plan, there are ways that you can help keep menopausal acne in check.
Ahead, Ife J. Rodney, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Eternal Dermatology in Fulton, MD, and Jessie Cheung, MD, a dermatologist in Willowbrook, IL, explain everything you need to know about what sets menopausal acne apart from other types of breakoutsand what you can do to clear your skin.
Meet the Expert
- Ife J. Rodney, MD is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Eternal Dermatology in Fulton, Maryland.
- Jessie Cheung, MD is a dermatologist in Willowbrook, Illinois.
Controlling Premenstrual Acne With Medications
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Why Do We Get Acne Before Periods
Before jumping to the menstrual acne remedies, we must understand the natural cause of it.
The premenstrual acne occurs because of the excess of Sebum produced by Progesterone. This oil clogs our pores and then the evil game of breakouts starts!
It is not just you, or just me. The premenstrual acne is faced by nearly 60-70% of the women.
Well, this being a natural process, we cant completely stop it. Still, there are many ways to reduce the occurrence of premenstrual acne or ways to treat period acne.