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Your Skin and Your Period: What to Know

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how to take care of your skin

Changes in our skin are just one of the many issues our hormones cause us. So it makes sense that around our periods, our skin can be all over the place and we’re prone to oiliness and breakouts. If you experience severe acne, it’s important to visit your dermatologist to discuss permanent solutions for you. However, if you just get the less severe but nonetheless annoying breakouts around your cycle, we have some tips we’ve gathered from the experts to help you.


Why does my skin get like this every time?

Blame it on the testosterone. When our progesterone and estrogen levels dip as our period approaches, our testosterone levels remain the same. These higher levels of testosterone are what can make our skin more oily than normal (aka one reason boys get acne around puberty.) For some, this may just present a nice glow while for others, it can present slick oily skin. 


How to Help Period Breakouts

A great tip from a friend of mine and my personal go-to skincare advisor, don’t overdo it. It’s tempting to try many products to correct skin issues, but often, it only makes it worse. Unfortunately, unless you feel you have severe enough acne to seek hormonal treatment, we can’t do anything to change the way hormones affect our skin. However, there are ways we can take care of our skin that will help us to not worsen breakouts (and I’d bet the majority of us aren’t actively doing most of these things, so you may even see some improvement.)


Skin Care Practices for Best Hygiene

Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t suffer from period breakouts, these tips are good for all of us to keep our faces clear of bacteria, dirt and ultimately, breakouts. 

  • Don’t touch your face 
      • This is surprisingly hard to do. For one day, try your best not to touch your face and if you slip up and do, mark it down. You might be surprised by how many marks you have at the end of the day. Overall, try your best not to touch your face. Your hands carry a lot of dirt and bacteria. In fact, this may be obvious to some people but washing your hands before you wash your face is essential to keeping your face clean. You’d be surprised how many times we walk into the bathroom and jump straight into our skincare routine. Clean hands = clean skin.
  • Change your pillowcase often
      • Washing our sheets often is important. More bacteria builds up than you may think, even if you’re clean every time you go to bed. Your pillowcase is a great example of this. Sleeping on an unwashed pillowcase can easily lead to dirty skin and breakouts.
  • Sanitize your phone
      • That thing we throw in our purses, leave on various surfaces, stick in our pockets and hold in our hands all day long and then put up to our face to answer a phone call collects a lotttt of bacteria. Sanitize your phone a couple of times throughout the day to ensure none of that is getting on your face.
  • Don’t Smoke
      • Did you know smoking is directly connected to acne? Many studies have been conducted on this and proven that smoking is a contributing factor to acne in many adults. 


    What skin care do I need?

    So all in all, what do we really need to keep our skin clean and fresh? According to Northwestern Medicine, you only truly need a cleanser, a moisturizer and sunscreen to have perfectly healthy skin. Toners, serums and exfoliants are additional options to add to your skincare routine if you have extra needs or wants from your products. 

    Overall, if we can incorporate these three essentials and avoid what the dermatologists recommend avoiding, we can have healthy skin and even if those breakouts come around our cycles, we’ll know we have the healthy base to better navigate them. 

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