All women loathe that time of the month. The mood swings and the painful cramps are too much to handle.
But how many of us have to handle ugly breakouts too during periods? Why do women have it so difficult when men are walking around easy, huh?
A lot of women suffer from what is called PMS acne. That is, acne breakouts before or during periods. If you notice bumps just before your periods are due, and if they usually disappear afterwards, you may have PMS acne.
The hormones in women fluctuate all the time because the body constantly undergoes changes. There are basically two main hormones at play in the body, oestrogen and testosterone.
An average woman's menstrual cycle lasts up to 21-24 days at the end of which periods arrive. Oestrogen starts peaking in the body 14 days after the period. When its levels decreases, the level of testosterone increases and this is the dreaded hormone that causes the breakouts.
It causes our sebaceous glands to go on an overdrive and produce excess sebum. It also makes our skin puffy and shrinks the pores.
This results in clogged pores and acne. Because this hormone level increases just before the arrival of the periods, we experience breakouts especially at that time.
Pre-menstrual acne affects 63% of women suffering from regular acne. It continues well beyond the late 30s to the early 40s and there is not much we can do about it.
Unfortunately, you cannot change the things happening inside our body or control the hormones. But there are a few ways to get rid of PMS acne.
1) Birth-control Pills
If you visit a dermatologist for PMS acne, he usually prescribes birth-control pills. Birth-control pills are said to be the most effective method to treat PMS acne. It works by increasing the oestrogen levels in the body. When the oestrogen levels are at peak, the testosterone levels are in check, thereby preventing break-outs.
Some birth-control pills also slow down the production of oil. But beware of the side effects of these pills. Never use over-the-counter birth-control pills as they may not work as well and may cause harmful side effects.
A doctor will be able to guide you the best. Also, it might take months before these pills actually work to reduce breakouts.
2) Potassium-sparing Diuretics
This is for women on whom the birth-control pills are not as effective. The administration of potassium-sparing diuretics reduce the testosterone levels in the body.
But it is not suitable for all women. It has its own share of side effects such as irregular periods, breast tenderness and fatigue.
Acne can be caused due to nutritional deficiencies as well. In such cases, taking dietary supplements of vitamins and minerals will help prevent acne. Supplements such as zinc, amino acids and L-carnitine can improve the appearance of your skin and prevent breakouts. Low-dose anti-biotics are also prescribed. Consult your dermatologist.
4) Natural Remedies
-Natural remedies like drinking lots of water may help prevent acne flare-outs. Our skin is the largest organ of our body and what it basically does is detoxification. If there are any irregularities on the skin, it may be a sign that the skin is not able to complete its detoxification process. Drinking water may help the skin to flush the toxins from the body and help in the process.
-Avoiding oily food before the periods also help. Oily food triggers the production of sebum, increasing the chances of break-outs.
-Wash your face twice a day with a cleanser especially formulated for oily skin. Never use heavy make-up products. Completely avoid the use of oil-based cosmetics. Face washes containing salicylic acid and benzoly peroxide help clean up acne.
-Lastly, include loads of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet and reduce dairy products, especially before the onset of your monthlies.