Written in collaboration with DIVA Cup and guest author Dr. Elizabeth Miller, Naturopathic Doctor
As we celebrate Period Action Day, it is crucial to recognize the profound connection between hormonal acne and your menstrual cycle. This day, dedicated to raising awareness about menstruation and advocating for equal access to menstrual products, serves as a reminder of the essential role that hormonal balance plays in our lives.
The Menstrual Cycle and Hormonal Fluctuations
To understand the link between hormonal acne and your period, it's essential to grasp the hormonal changes that occur throughout your menstrual cycle. Your cycle can be divided into four key phases: menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase.
- Menstruation (Days 1-5): This phase marks the start of your period. Hormone levels, specifically estrogen and progesterone, are at their lowest during this time. Many people experience clearer skin during their period.
- Follicular Phase (Days 6-14): Estrogen begins to rise, promoting skin health by reducing inflammation and supporting collagen production. This is often considered the "good skin" phase.
- Ovulation (Around Day 14): Hormones, including luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), peak during ovulation. Increased estrogen can contribute to a radiant complexion.
- Luteal Phase (Days 15-28): Progesterone and testosterone levels surge during this phase, while estrogen stays low. These higher hormones can lead to increased sebum production, which, in turn, may result in hormonal acne.
Hormonal Acne and Its Triggers
Hormonal acne is a common skin concern among people with periods and is primarily linked to fluctuations in hormone levels, especially the rise in progesterone and testosterone during the luteal phase. This increase in hormones stimulates sebum production, leading to clogged pores and the development of breakouts.
Hormonal acne commonly predominates around the lower half of the face, chin, jawline, neck, and in front of the ears. For some it presents as just a pimple or two leading up to menstruation, but for others can appear as painful, red, and inflamed lesions that can persist longer than just a week.
Furthermore, hormonal acne can also be exacerbated by factors such as stress, poor dietary choices, and inadequate skincare routines. Stress, in particular, can disrupt hormonal balance, leading to more severe outbreaks.
Diet and Lifestyle Tips for Hormonal Acne
During the luteal phase, we want to promote detoxification of excess hormones through the liver and digestive tract. Adding in lemon water or dandelion tea can help boost liver function, and extra fiber from leafy greens and flax can help bind to excess hormones to help excrete them in the stool.
Studies show that dairy can aggravate hormonal acne, as it can spike testosterone levels leading to more sebum production in the pores. Many people also experience digestive flare ups with dairy which can further imbalance detoxification of hormones, leading to more pimples.
Foods high in sugar can also flare up acne, as sugar can spike insulin, which will further disrupt hormones and acne. Reducing sugar intake in general is best, but especially the two weeks leading up to your period to prevent hormonal acne flares.
Stress management is equally important, as stress can alter our hormones as well as inflammation in the skin. Optimizing sleep is very important for managing stress, as well as calming down the nervous system with yoga, meditation or deep breathing exercises.
The Importance of Period Action Day
Period Action Day is an annual reminder of the importance of addressing menstrual health issues and ensuring that all people with periods have access to appropriate menstrual products. In many parts of the world, women still face significant challenges when it comes to managing their periods, including limited access to sanitary products and inadequate healthcare resources.
Menstrual health should be a priority for everyone; proper menstrual hygiene and support can improve the quality of life for countless women and people who menstrate, ensuring that they can navigate their hormonal fluctuations with confidence and comfort.
How Consonant Skin + Care and DIVA Cup Can Help
Consonant Skin + Care offers a range of unscented, natural skincare products that can aid in managing hormonal acne. These products are formulated with clean and effective ingredients to support your skin's health throughout your cycle. Regular skincare routines that include gentle cleansing, exfoliation, and hydration can help maintain clearer skin, even during hormonal fluctuations.
Additionally, DIVA Cup provides an eco-friendly and sustainable solution for menstrual hygiene. By choosing reusable menstrual cups over disposable products, you not only reduce waste but also save money in the long run. This ensures that people who menstrate have access to reliable menstrual products that won't break the bank.
As we mark Period Action Day, let's remember that hormonal acne is just one aspect of the intricate relationship between our bodies and our menstrual cycles. By understanding these connections and supporting initiatives like Period Action Day, we can work towards a world where anyone who needs access to appropriate menstrual products gets it and can manage their menstrual health with confidence and dignity.
Together, we can empower people to face the monthly skincare rollercoaster with grace and self-assuredness.