In addition to bloating, mood swings, and cramps, acne before your period is another common symptom of premenstrual syndrome. According to research, more than 60 per cent of acne-prone people develop acne before their period. The flare-ups usually occur seven to 10 days before menstruation begins and get better as soon as it starts.
Symptoms of premenstrual acne
Premenstrual acne might include two kinds of pimples: blackheads and whiteheads. Apart from blackheads and whiteheads, other types of bumps from acne before your period may include:
Papules: Small raised red bumps that occur due to infection and inflammation of hair follicles
Pustules: Small red pimples with a white or yellowish pus-filled centre
Nodules: Solid, painful lumps underneath the skin
Cysts: Large lumps that are underneath the skin, generally painful, and contain pus
The area around your chin and jawline is more prone to getting premenstrual acne.
Preventing acne before period
Good skin hygiene: Bacteria on your face can aggravate premenstrual acne. Keeping your skin clean can help prevent acne before your period.
Limited skin contact: Avoid touching your face too often because your hands can leave bacteria and dirt on your skin.
Keep phone clean: Your phone can carry a lot of bacteria, so cleaning it frequently may also help prevent premenstrual acne.
Beware of common surfaces: When you work out at a gym, be mindful of common surfaces that other people may have touched. You can use towels to cover mats, seats, and handles.
Treatment for acne
For persistent acne a topical treatment may help.
1. Alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic and glycolic acid prevent your pores from becoming blocked.
2. Antibiotics kill bacteria or prevent their growth.
3. Azelaic and salicylic acids have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects. Salicylic acid acts as a chemical exfoliator.
4. Benzoyl peroxide when applied to your skin, it provokes oxygen production, killing anaerobic bacteria.
5. Retinoids are vitamin A compounds.
6. Zinc and sulfur have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Your dermatologist may be able to help ease acne before your period with in-office treatments including: cortisone injections, chemical peel, laser therapy, and acne surgery.
The period complexities are quite a task and period zits only worsen them. Pamper yourself, avoid stress, and lead a hygienic and healthy lifestyle.
(Dr Usha Beloskar is the Medical Director, Sskin Savvy Advanced Aesthetics, Kohinoor Square Dadar, Mumbai)