Dealing With Hormonal Acne 101

Irrational thoughts, random tears over the dude you dropped two months ago, bloating, sugary and salty cravings, and last but not least, what we are here to discuss: hormonal acne.

I know, I know…your skin was just getting it together, and here comes Mother Nature at your front door delivering your package of pimples and nonsense. But, you are not alone. Studies show that 65% of women suffer from hormonal acne during their time of the month.

What Causes Period Acne?

Your hormones are all out of whack when your body is preparing for your period. To be more specific, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease which causes overproduction of sebum and clogs your sebaceous glands. PMSing can also increase your stress levels, which may trigger stress acne and cause your bags to darken and your skin to appear less tight.

Junk food like ice cream, chips, fast food, chocolate, and coffee that you may crave and indulge in prior to your period can also cause period acne. What you put into your body is what comes out, and your diet usually reflects on your face. The increase in greasy foods, lack of water, and loading up on sugars will be visible in your skin, especially if you don’t typically eat these things.

How to Treat Hormonal Acne

Don’t fret! We’ve got some recommendations on how to minimize hormonal acne.

Set a calendar reminder.

Add your expected period start date to your calendar. If you know your hormonal acne starts a week prior to getting your period, add that to your calendar too. Around the time your hormonal acne usually spikes, you should start using a chemical exfoliant, a light scrub exfoliant, or a clay mask. Use whichever works best for you, but not all at the same time! This will help unclog those full sebaceous glands. Here are some of my favorite exfoliants for each category.

Chemical Exfoliants:
Scrub Exfoliants:


Mask Exfoliants:
Start spot treatments prior to your breakouts.

If you break out on your chin every time your period comes, start applying your preferred spot treatment. Some great options are glycolic acid, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, a drying lotion, or tea tree oil. This will help dry out those spots where pimples are starting to form and make them less noticeable. Below are some effective spot treatments.

Find alternatives to your period cravings.

I know it’s easier said than done, but instead of chocolate or candy, switch to a sweet tea with honey, indulge in fruits, or limit how much you intake, so it doesn’t throw off your skin. If you’re craving something salty, try something like salted nuts, sea salt popcorn, or savory hummus.

Minimize stress.

Try your best to minimize stress and evaluate situations as they come during that PMS time. Remind yourself that your hormones may be influencing your tolerance level and your reactions, so do some self-care activities to minimize your stress.

When it comes to hormonal acne, the key is to be ahead of the game. When Mother Nature comes knocking at your door next month, just remember, you ready!