Chat with AHA!

Chat with Ask Healthshots

Fed up with period acne? Put a full stop to this with these 12 tips

Have you ever noticed acne popping up just before or during your monthly cycle? Well, it happens due to a hormonal imbalance in the body. Here are 12 tips to deal with period acne or breakouts.
period acne
Period acne can be treated! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Published: 13 Jun 2024, 02:30 pm IST
  • 266
Inputs from

Acne, especially severe acne or breakouts, can freak out any woman, leading to stress. These breakouts can be painful and may leave scars and spots behind. While acne is most common among individuals aged 11–30, many women experience it just before or during their menstrual cycle. Period acne is mainly triggered by changes in the ratio of estrogen and progesterone hormones, which are responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle. The drop in these hormones may also lead to breakouts before the period even starts. Here are some tips to manage period acne at home.

What causes period acne?

Period acne is primarily caused by hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle. Specifically, the drop in estrogen and progesterone levels just before menstruation can trigger excess oil production, leading to clogged pores and breakouts. Additionally, increased levels of androgens, like testosterone, can further stimulate the sebaceous glands, exacerbating acne. Apart from this, stress and inflammation during this time can also contribute to flare-ups. These hormonal changes create an environment conducive to acne. You may notice acne on back, face, and chest.

How to deal with period acne?

Find out 10 ultimate tips to deal with period acne or breakouts to keep your skin healthy and glowing:

1. Change your skincare routine

When it comes to treating acne, assessing your skincare routine is essential. “Make sure you cleanse your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser to remove excess oil, dirt, and makeup. After cleansing your face, follow with a toner to balance your skin’s pH level and a moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated,” suggests dermatologist Dr Pallavi Singh. Avoid using any harsh product that can strip your skin of its natural oils, as this can exacerbate acne.

2. Use salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide

Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are two powerful ingredients in the fight against acne. Salicylic acid helps unclog blocked pores by breaking down and removing dead skin cells and oil, according to a study published in Clinical, Cosmetic, And Investigational Dermatology. Using facial cleansers containing salicylic acid is often recommended to deal with acne. Benzoyl peroxide, on the other hand, kills acne-causing bacteria and is used to treat mild to moderate acne. It comes in skin creams, gel or lotions, which you may use to treat acne.

Woman applying cream on face
Salicylic acid has many benefits for the skin. Image courtesy: Freepik

3. Choose non-comedogenic products

Use non-comedogenic skincare and makeup products. These products are specifically designed not to clog pores, reducing the risk of acne and breakouts. Look for labels that state “non-comedogenic” to ensure you are using the right products for acne-prone skin.

Get expert backed answers by HealthShot’s AI-powered chatbot Get expert backed answers by HealthShot’s AI-powered chatbot
Get expert backed answers by HealthShot’s AI-powered chatbot
Your health question get answered? Get expert backed answers by HealthShot’s AI-powered chatbot
Ask Now

Also read: Why and how to use zinc to get rid of acne

4. Avoid touching your face

Touching your face can transfer bacteria and oils from your hands to your skin, potentially causing breakouts. Try to avoid touching your face throughout the day and keep your hands clean. “Additionally, make sure to clean your phone screen regularly, as it can also fight bacteria,” says Dr Singh.

5. Use oil-free and fragrance-free products

Oil-free products are less likely to clog pores and cause breakouts. Similarly, fragrance-free products reduce the risk of skin irritation, which can exacerbate acne. Choose moisturisers, cleansers, and other skincare products that clearly state they are oil-free and free of artificial fragrances.

6. Introduce retinoids into your routine

Retinoids, derivatives of vitamin A, are highly effective in treating acne and promoting cell turnover, according to a study published by the American Journal Of Clinical Dermatology. They help prevent clogged pores and can improve the overall texture and tone of your skin. Start with a low concentration to avoid irritation and gradually increase as your skin builds tolerance. “Apply retinoids at night and always use sunscreen during the day, as they can increase sun sensitivity,” advises Dr Singh.

retinol night creams
Try retinol night creams to control acne breakouts. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock.

7. Regularly change pillowcases and towels

Pillowcases and towels can accumulate bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells, which can transfer back to your skin and cause breakouts. Change your pillowcases at least twice a week and use a clean towel every time you wash your face. This simple habit can significantly reduce the risk of period acne.

8. Try niacinamide

Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is a versatile ingredient that can help regulate oil production, reduce inflammation, and improve the barrier function of the skin, according to a study published by the Journal of Antioxidants. It is suitable for all skin types and can be used in both morning and evening routines. Look for serums or moisturisers containing niacinamide to help control acne and enhance skin health.

Also read: Niacinamide: Know the benefits of this skincare ingredient and how to use it right

9. Keep yourself hydrated

Dehydration can lead to dry skin, prompting your oil glands to produce more oil, which can result in acne. Drinking plenty of water helps flush toxins from your body and keeps your skin hydrated from within, according to a study published by Clinics in Dermatology.  Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

10. Focus on a healthy diet

Your diet can have a significant impact on your skin. Incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into your meals. Make sure your diet is packed with essential nutrients such as vitamins C, E, and K, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. A study published by Nutrients reveals that foods rich in antioxidants are essential for maintaining overall skin health. Apart from what you should eat, avoid high-glycemic foods such as sugar and white bread, which can cause insulin spikes and lead to breakouts. Additionally, avoid dairy products, especially milk, as it can trigger acne.

11. Manage stress levels

Stress not only affects your physiological health but also your skin. Stress can lead to hormonal imbalances, which in turn can cause several skin problems, such as acne, finds a study published by Dermatology Practical And Conceptual. You may practice yoga, meditation, and deep breathing to control your stress levels. Listening to music, taking a short walk, dancing, playing games, watching a comedy, etc. can also temporarily uplift your mood.

Stress can be problematic for your skin. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

12. Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep can increase stress levels and worsen acne. A study published by Clinical and Experimental Dermatology finds that sleep deprivation is associated with unbalanced skin surface pH and low blood flow to the skin, which may exacerbate several skin problems. So, aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to give your skin time to repair and rejuvenate.

If period acne is severe, consider seeing a dermatologist. A dermatologist can prescribe topical treatments or oral medications to help manage acne.

  • 266
About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

Next Story
Healthshots AHA
Ask a Health Query
Anonymously for FREE!
Close Popup Healthshots AHA
  • Unlimited Queries
  • Completely Anonymous
  • Credible Sources