Why does acne often appear before or during menstruation?
Abdominal pain, mood swings, and bloating are some of the signs that often appear before menstruation. In addition to all these signs, another symptom that is most frequently complained of is the appearance of acne. The formation of acne before menstruation is no different from acne in general.
The process starts from sebum production by the oil glands in your skin. Sebum is an oily substance that serves as a natural lubricant for the skin. Once produced by the oil glands, sebum will come out of the follicles through the pores to the skin's surface. Follicles are the inner part of the skin's pores where hair grows, oil glands, and sweat glands.
The menstrual cycle of each woman ranges typically between 21-35 days. When the period comes, precisely two weeks before, the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone increase because the body is preparing the uterus for fertilization (ovulation).
Levels of this hormone stimulate the production of sebum, aka an oily substance that acts as a natural skin lubricant. Acne mainly affects the skin's pores due to a mixture of sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria.
More sensitive skin conditions exacerbate the risk of the appearance of acne during menstruation, including high levels of testosterone during menstruation that can activate the oil glands so that the production of sebum increases.
Sometimes, sebum cannot come out of the follicles because the pores are clogged. These blockages are formed from sebum, dead skin cells, and hair. This is what then becomes the seed-potential cause of acne. Acne is formed when bacteria infect the blockage and sebum accumulates in the follicles. The bacterial infection triggers an inflammatory reaction characterized by swelling, pain, and redness. The severity of acne depends on the type of bacteria that is infected. Not all bacteria on the skin can cause acne. Usually, the most common bacterium that triggers acne is Propionibacterium acnes. Causes of acne before menstruation The menstrual cycle lasts 14 days.
During that cycle, several body hormones change, such as estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen hormone production increases during the first 14 days, while new progesterone rises in the next 14 days. Then, the amount of both hormones will decrease near menstruation. At the same time, the production of the hormone testosterone does not change. Testosterone is a male reproductive hormone, but women also have it in small amounts. Although small, testosterone during menstruation tends to be higher than estrogen and progesterone because both productions are declining. High levels of testosterone cause acne to appear before menstruation. The reason is that high testosterone levels during menstruation cause increased sebum production.
For some women, the increase in sebum can make a face look brighter. However, excessive sebum production can also clog pores and trigger acne. Acne can appear more and more when the hormone progesterone increases again. The reason is that the increased amount of the hormone progesterone causes the skin to swell. The pores are getting smaller so that sebum is trapped in the follicles.
Prevent the Appearance of Acne During Menstruation
There are some tips you can do to prevent and treat acne during menstruation:
- Keep your face clean. Make sure you wash your face regularly, at most twice a day, using a cleanser that suits your skin type. This aims to reduce the production of sebum on the face.
- Wash hands with soap. Never touch the face (including acne) in a state of dirty hands, as it can cause acne to get worse. Preferably, wash your hands with soap before touching your face.
- Observe food intake. During menstruation, limit your intake of sugar, carbohydrates, or milk. The reason is that high-glycemic foods, such as white bread and potatoes, can cause blood sugar spikes that often turn into dermatitis.
- Drink lots of plain water. In addition to preventing dehydration, white water can also help detoxify and maintain skin moisture. Drinking white water, at least two glasses a day, helps improve blood circulation to prevent stubborn acne.
- Wear sunscreen when doing outdoor activities. Apply sunscreen, minimum SPF 30, on average on the body at least 20 minutes before activity. Reuse every two hours for maximum protection. This is necessary to reduce the harmful effects of excessive exposure to the sun's UV rays.
- Do facials. There is nothing wrong with facial expressions towards the end of the menstrual cycle. This treatment can clear clogged pores and get rid of excess sebum, thus preventing the appearance of acne during menstruation.
Besides that, you can also use Lustre Fresh Toner, as it helps shrink acne. Lustre Fresh Toner is designed to gently tone and firm the face, remove remnants of impurities and reduce the size of pores. After applying the toner, the skin will feel refreshed, and it tones and tightens the pores.
How to use it? After cleansing with Lustre Fresh Cleanser, apply a good amount of Lustre Fresh Toner to a cotton pad or ball and leave it on the face for about five to seven minutes. If you have sensitive skin, it may be best to leave it shorter. Then massage it onto the face with gentle upward and outward motion. Lustre Fresh Toner has anti-inflammatory properties; therefore, it helps combat acne.