The Real Reason You Always Break Out Before Your Period

No one looks forward to getting their period. Bloating, cramps, and bleeding are all uncomfortable parts of this time of the month. Many women also find themselves breaking out in the week leading up to their period. According to a 2014 study, 65% of participants reported that their acne got worse during their period (via Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology). If you experience new or increasing blemishes as your period date approaches, you're probably dealing with hormonal acne (via Healthline).

Before your period begins, the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone in the body drop. Some people don't notice any effects from this, but it can cause more sebum to be released in your skin and clog your pores. This is the most common reason that people tend to break out before their periods. Hormones can also make your skin inflamed and create more bacteria that can lead to more acne. Increased stress during your period, which is a common side effect of PMS, can also lead to more breakouts.

How to treat hormonal acne

Is there anything you can do about the pesky hormonal acne you get before your period? Fortunately, you have a couple of options. Hormonal acne needs to be treated on top and underneath the skin. When you get acne, you should wash your face daily with a face wash that contains acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide (via Cleveland Clinic). Topical creams can also help.

To fight hormonal acne internally, you'll need to make changes that will affect the hormones that cause your acne. Getting better sleep and eating a healthy diet can help regulate your hormones and fight acne. Birth control can also be used to treat hormonal acne that pops up before and during your period. "Certain types of birth control pills can help treat blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and cystic acne," Jonathan Dunn, MD, an OB-GYN at Scripps Clinic Carmel Valley, told Scripps. "They can be especially effective in treating stubborn hormonal acne along the jaw, lower face, and neckline when other treatments, such as topical creams and oral antibiotics have not helped." Not all types of birth control are approved for treating acne, so you will need to speak to your doctor about which is right for you.