Weekly guide to Hormonal Acne control (The Dreaded Menstrual Acne!)

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Published: 17th March 2008
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Do you struggle to control your acne? Have you tried every product on the market and still can't find that magical cure? Maybe it is time to consider that it may not be the products, but it could in fact be your hormones. Many women have break-outs around the time of their menstrual cycle, but most women don't consider the fact that hormones could be causing the acne break-outs they suffer during the rest of the month. 

You acne might be related to hormonal imbalances if the skin on your face feels more sensitive during the fourth week of the month. If your breakouts the week before your period are focused mostly on your jaw line or chin then they may be related to hormones. If you have irregular periods or an increase in facial or body hair your acne may be related to a hormone imbalance. Irregular periods and an increase in facial or body hair can be signs of a more serious hormonal imbalance and should be discussed with your doctor. Acne during pregnancy, and continued acne troubles after pregnancy can also be hormonal. 

Before we talk about how you can clear up your skin by proper weekly skin care let's talk about your hormonal cycle. Your hormonal and menstrual cycle lasts between 21 and 40 days. During the week after your period your estrogen level rises. Estrogen is a hormone that helps to control your sebaceous or oil glands. Estrogen helps to keep your skin acne free by telling the oil glands how much oil to release. Around fourteen days after your cycle starts your body experiences a surge of another hormone called progesterone. Progesterone is the hormone that is responsible for an increase in oil production and secretion. Your progesterone level increases after ovulation and peaks around the same time your period begins. 

Seems a little unfair doesn't it? Not only are you dealing with the cramps, bloating, and the mood swings that come along with your period, but you have to deal with an acne break out on top of it! Not to worry though because there are several things you can do daily and weekly to help reduce and maybe even prevent hormonal acne breakouts.

The first week of the month, remember this cycle begins on the first day of your period, your skin may appear dull, you may be recovering from a break out, and your skin may be more sensitive than at other times of the month. Your skin needs gentle care this week so mild cleansers are in order. Look for a facial wash with soothing ingredients like chamomile, green tea, or aloe. If you are suffering from a break-out then use a concealer to cover it up. You may want to consider using a lighter make-up that is oil free or one with acne fighting ingredients in it this week. If you have any lingering blemishes this week, put some salicylic acid or tea tree oil on them after you use your face wash.

Your skin could use a little treat this week so try using an exfoliating or moisturizing facial mask. If your skin is flaky or looking dull use an exfoliating mask to remove dead skin cells and make your skin look brighter. A moisturizing mask will provide your skin with the hydration that it needs and help with any flaking. You might want to try an exfoliating mask the day that your period starts or the day after, and then use a moisturizing mask later in the week. 

During the second week of the month, the week after your period, your estrogen levels are rising and this should help you have a clear and balanced complexion. This week your main concern should be skin maintenance and the prevention of future breakouts. As part of your prevention efforts you need to keep your skin clean. Make sure that you are washing your face twice a day with the same cleansers that you used in week one. 

You can also use an exfoliating cleanser once or twice this week. You should look for a product with salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or lactic acid. If you have very sensitive skin you will probably not want to use these products, but there are some milder exfoliating cleansers that work just as well. If you have the money and it is something you enjoy this would be a good week to get a professional facial. 

During the third week of the month, the week of ovulation, your estrogen level is at its peak and your progesterone level is surging. All of these hormones are what cause oily skin and may cause you to have a breakout. This week your skin needs to be clean and you will probably need a little acne prevention. Wash your face twice a day with cleansers and use an alcohol free toner to deep clean your pores. If your skin feels oily at other times during the day this week wash your face with plain water. Water will wash away excess oil, but will not strip your skin like excessive use of cleansers would. 

You may want to use an acne fighting mask once or twice this week. If you do have pimples do not pop them, because that will just release more oil and may cause more blemishes. You may want to buy a spot treatment with salicylic acid to use this week. You might also consider buying some of the oil absorbing wipes for your face. You can use these to blot any oily spots on your face, but it will still leave your make-up intact. 

During the fourth week of the month, the week before your period, your estrogen level is at it's lowest and your progesterone level is at its highest. This may cause your skin to be sensitive, extra oily, and prone to break-outs. Continue to wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser and with water only if you feel a need for it at other times during the day. Use your spot treatment on any pimples that you do have. You can use an acne fighting mask twice this week to keep your skin from breaking out any further. 

These tips may not completely stop all of your hormonal acne, but at least you have a better idea of how to handle it. Just knowing what is going on with your hormone levels throughout the month and the effects of them on your skin puts you a step ahead. Remember to find skin care products that are effective but gentle, and try to find those that are designed with your skin type in mind.

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Nell on September 8, 2011 said:
Some good tips here!
Emma on September 12, 2011 said:
Acne can really make people feel low and take away their confidence. I suffered with acne throughout my teenage years and felt ugly and unattractive. A treatment for acne that actually works like this one can really change lives. it can make every day life so much easier and happier. Great article.

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