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How to deal with acne before periods

The fact that you’re done with your teens doesn’t mean acne is done with you. Most of us experience random acne showing up at the most unwanted time, which is usually just beforeour period. Before you try to deal with it like regular acne, it’s important to differentiate between regular and hormonal breakouts. This acne flares up a week before or during your period and clears up immediately after it. If you already have acne, hormonal pimples just worsen it. Some might also notice lumps or breakouts near the vaginal area, which is normal.

Before we list down remedies and solutions to deal with period acne, here’s a pro tip: Do not pop them. You can’t win, and it only invites a world of pain and a week of staying home :)

Period acne is most common around the jawline and around the chin. During your cycle, you may find small (or large) cysts forming. If you try to pop these cysts, it can be painful and lead to further breakouts and infection.

Deep pimples and cysts that often accompany cycles can be very painful, but there are some things you can do to relieve the discomfort. For relief:

· Use a warm compress for 10-15 minutes to soothe the pain

· Use a cold compress for 10-15 minutes to soothe swelling

· Kill bacteria with benzoyl peroxide

Period acne can be quite stubborn, and you might have to rely on some over-the-counter meds to tame them. You can speed up the healing process and incorporate these into your routine:

  • Use a gentle nonsoap cleanser like Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser to wash your face twice a day

  • Remove dead skin cells, minimize inflammation, and encourage the development of new skin with glycolic acid pads

  • Begin with a lower intensity, (2.5 percent) of benzoyl peroxide spot treatment

  • To keep pores open, use a salicylic acid product like a cleanser or cream

  • Use a spot treatment of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil has been shown to kill bacteria and enhance mild to moderate acne

  • Apply honey and turmeric

  • Apart from these, here are a few general rules to swear by if you want to have a healthy deal with annoying breakouts:

  • Stop using greasy sunscreens, cosmetics, oils, and concealers, which can irritate the skin.

  • Shield your skin from things like tight collars, straps, and helmets that cause friction.

  • Keep out of the sun as much as possible and use non-oily moisturizers with sunscreen to reduce your UV exposure.

  • After you've done something that makes you sweat, wash your face.

  • Don’t overuse acne products

The worst part about period acne? It comes back every month. Stay two steps ahead of your breakout with these simple, but efficient tips:

  • HYDRATE! The crazy rollercoaster of hormones can leave your skin dehydrated and oily. Drink a lot of water to flush out all toxins

  • Track your cycle and indulge in morning/night skincare routines

  • Reduce your caffeine intake to around 50%

  • Use an acne facewash

  • Outrun your acne with regular exercise. Sweating makes you feel energetic, badass, and is great for your acne!

  • Use the same OTC products that you used when your acne was active. It will help you know your skin better and improve the condition of clogged pores and clearer skin.

  • Adopt an acne-fighting diet. PMS can make us binge-eat all over our perfect diets. Reduce the intake of sugary food and drinks, white bread, and processed foods to avoid skin inflammation. Green tea also reduces acne lesions.

Note : Before settling into any skin-care routine, make sure to consult with your dermatologist and know your skin-type well.

If your acne continues to persist despite using OTC products, get one of the following prescriptions from your dermatologist:

· Retinoids to treat mild to moderate acne, and for long-term prevention

· Birth control pills regulate hormones and thus, control acne

· Anti-androgens like spironolactone

· Vitamin D, fish oil, zinc, barberry, and probiotics supplements

If you notice unusual acne growth or worsening symptoms, it means your acne is demanding medical attention. If this accompanies irregular periods, it may be a sign of PCOS. Know when to visit your doctor and get it controlled with the right medication.

Written by Nibha Patil

Artwork by Khyati Patkar

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