Health & Wellness

Q&A: How do you control breakouts when you're on your period?

For some of us, the signal that our period is coming is not a grumpy mood or weight gain, but those break-outs on our chin, nose and forehead. Break-outs are due to hormone fluctuations that make our skin oilier and clog pores. The thing to do to help control break-outs on your period is to use good skin care all month long. Use a cleanser every day that has benzoyl peroxide in it. If blackheads are a problem, use a product that has salicylic acid also. The most important thing is to keep your pores clean so they don’t get clogged with extra oil and dirt. When starting a new cleansing routine, you might need to start slowly by washing once daily then moving up to twice daily once your skin gets used to the new ingredients. This usually takes about a week. Sometimes prescription strength medications are needed to help control breakouts, so if you are not having any luck with any over-the-counter products, see your healthcare provider for advice.

I used to have a lot of trouble with my skin breaking out before and during my period, too. The best way to manage your break-outs is really going to depend on your skin type, but here's what works for me. I wash my face twice a day with a gentle cleanser. The one that works for me isn't specifically designed for acne treatment, but I know there are cleansers made for that. After washing my face, I use a light moisturizer. If I feel a breakout coming on, I use a moisturizer that contains some benzoyl peroxide to try to stop the pimples before they actually show up. When I was younger, I used to buy fancy schmancy products and spend a lot of money on skin care. Personally, I've found that the simpler I keep my skin care routine, the better results I have. You'll have to test and try different products and skin care routines to see what works best for you.

It’s the most frustrating thing having to deal with break-outs for one week of every month. Right when you get your face looking perfect, a couple of pimples start to pop up and then, BAM, your period starts. And for a week, your face is being rebellious and not doing anything you want it to do. Rather, it’s doing the opposite – it’s breaking out! No need to go stocking up on all things face creams and cleansers, because it’ll only last a week. What you should do instead is take on a more militant and strict face-cleaning regiment. If you normally wash your face once at night, you should tack another wash or two on and start washing in the morning and midday too. Little things like that and usual general face-cleansing tips will help. Also, what’ll help, at least a little, is simply embracing the fact that one week of the month (or every other month) your face won’t be at its best -- sometimes it’s out of our hands.