Ladies, this post is for you if you face an additional problem of period acne besides being bloated, crampy, and cranky. Many of us get breakout during our period, however, 65% of ladies report a worsening of their acne during the period. Are you worried about how to prevent those period acne? Here’s what to know about how to manage, treat, prevent, and get rid of period acne

So, let’s get started.

What exactly are you dealing with?

Before going into battle, it’s better to know who your opponent is. While dealing with period acne, means knowing whether it’s stubborn and painful chin cysts or just run-of-the-mill breakouts. 

The easiest way to differentiate between a hormonal and regular breakout is to look at the timing. Acne related to period is more likely to show up during the week just before your period or during your period. And, it clears up or improves at the offset of your period.

But what’s for those who already have acne? Well, if you already have acne-prone skin, you might notice that it worsens during this time. On the other hand, if you have clear skin, a pimple or two might pop up.

Why do we get acne before our period?

Why do we get period acne Here’s the ultimate guide

Hormones hormones hormones!

Period acne is all about hormones. Our hormones fluctuate throughout our menstrual cycle. Where these hormonal fluctuations are responsible for other fun period things, like mood swings, period pimples are just another thing. What happens just before the onset of your period is that the levels of estrogen and progesterone drop. 

This triggers the sebaceous glands to secrete more sebum, which can clog pores and cause breakouts. Not only this, but these hormones can also increase the production of acne-causing bacteria along with skin inflammation. This hormonal fluctuation is also associated with increased stress, another factor in the worsening of acne. So, next time you get a pimple or two before your period, know that it’s just your hormones playing tricks.

Does this go away once the period starts?

Unlike other pre-menstrual symptoms, period pimples don’t necessarily go away at the onset of your period. Again, hormones hold a charge for this. But what hormone causes acne at this stage?


You might think that testosterone is a male hormone. Yes, it is. But, as a matter of fact, we all have this hormone in our bodies regardless of our gender. And it affects us respectively depending on the levels of other hormones in our body. Testosterone is one of the hormones that cause acne. It can trigger the sensitivity of sebaceous glands towards the end of your period. Again, more sebum and clogged pores result in acne during and after the period.

What makes it even worse? 

Do you notice a deep, throbbing pain along your jawline, especially in your chin? It’s hormonal acne that also causes cysts to pop up there. Even if they do not appear on the surface, this chin acne can cause immense pain.

Do you notice acne popping up down there?

You might see some kind of acne around your vaginal area during your period. Although it sets some major alarm bells, before you panic, watch the timing… is it just before your period? Again, hormones can be blamed for breakouts down there, but there are other causes as well. 

Now, what are the possible causes of acne down there, apart from hormones? Do you ever think about why dermatologists and other medical practitioners emphasize so much hygiene, especially during periods?

While hygiene is essential during every phase, let’s discuss it in the context of acne during the period. First of all, menstrual pads. They tend to rub your skin, thereby irritating the hair follicles. Wearing these sanitary napkins for a prolonged time can lead to folliculitis and ingrown hairs. Other period-related products like tampons, pads, and wipes can also cause contact dermatitis, which occurs when something touches the skin.

This means it’s not always hormones to blame for period acne. Instead, sometimes it can be the poor hygiene of the person as well.

Get ready for your next cycle

Now that you know what are the causes of acne before, during, and after the period, you can avoid it in the most effective ways. Here’s how to prevent period acne.

Over-the-counter products

You can effectively prevent acne by using OTC products. Start with a lower strength of benzoyl peroxide and gradually increase over a few weeks. Alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic acid help prevent clogged pores, remove dead skin cells, and stimulate the growth of new cells. Starting with a lower dose of salicylic acid is also a good option.

Proper diet

Eating low glycemic index foods is known to help with hormones that cause acne. On the other hand, excessive intake of these foods can cause inflammation, which is one of the main causes of hormonal acne. This is also one of the great answers for how to avoid pimples during periods naturally. So, try to limit the intake of sugary foods, white bread, and other highly processed foods.


After using suitable OTC products and watching your diet, if you are still having period acne for three cycles, you should talk to a dermatologist. You can ask them how to stop your period acne since you have already tried OTC products and have been following a low-sugar diet. Depending on your situation, they may recommend you use one or a combination of products including retinoids and antiandrogens.

Take home message

Period acne is a quite normal phenomenon for most of the ladies out there. But, it is surely an irritating issue as well. And the most frustrating thing about these period pimples is that they tend to come back every month. Usually, these are hormonal fluctuations that cause acne during the period, but what causes this hormonal acne is another area to focus upon.

Do your best, and the next time you see a pimple or two pop up around your period, watch what you missed to prevent this whole world of pain. If you want to read about mistakes that make your acne worse, click on 10 Skincare Mistakes That Make Your Acne Worse. For further detail and help you can follow us on social media as well. Peace!