Period Pimples & More: Breaking Down Hormonal Acne Causes

Your teen years may be long behind you, but sometimes (especially that time of the month) you still get acne. What gives? Today on the blog we’re talking about period pimples and what you can do to mitigate common hormonal acne causes. 

Why We Get Acne with Periods

Acne has many causes, from the foods you eat to your skincare routine. But if you’re noticing more acne around the time of your period, you may have hormonal acne. Hormonal acne is pretty much what it sounds like: breakouts tied to changes in hormones. Specifically, hormonal acne is linked to rising and falling levels of estrogen and progesterone. The kind of acne that comes with your period usually forms on the lower half of the face, particularly on the chin and around the mouth. Hormonal acne can show up as blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, or painful cysts. 


Most Common Hormonal Acne Causes

So why exactly does your period cause acne? It’s thought that hormonal fluctuations linked to your cycle:

  1. increase skin inflammation
  2. boost sebum (oil) production
  3. proliferate growth of P. acnes, the bacteria responsible for acne

These three factors work together to create the perfect storm for a breakout during your menstrual cycle. 


What to Do About Hormonal Acne

Luckily, there are quite a few things you can try on your own to fight the hormonal acne your period causes:

  1. Try Green Tea

    Green tea is rich in antioxidants which decrease inflammation in the body. Try swapping out your afternoon coffee for a cup of green tea or use a topical moisturizer with green tea as one of the ingredients (like our Perfect Moisturizer).

  2. Buff Away Dead Skin

    Acne is often caused by dead skin clogging the pores. To prevent this cause of hormonal acne, use an exfoliating cleanser like Perfect Cleansing Scrub.

  3. Eliminate Dairy

    It’s thought that since dairy contains hormones like estrogen, it can actually worsen hormonal acne. While you don’t need to eliminate cheese and ice cream for good, it might be a good idea to explore dairy-free alternatives, particularly around the time you menstruate.

  4. See A Doctor

    If topical treatments and diet changes aren’t cutting it, it might be time to see your doctor. Sometimes hormonal acne can have other causes, like PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Your doctor can also prescribe medications like oral contraceptives or Spironolactone, which are known to help clear up hormonal acne.