By Kelsey Duchesne
Despite my favorite food being movie theater popcorn and my ongoing quest to fully understand my taxes, I would categorize myself (and specifically, my body), as an adult...until a week or so before my period. One quick look in the mirror before popping to the shower and *boom*, I’m 15 again, and my face is sporting a bumpy, red constellation of oozy pussballs (not a real word, but should be). I’ve come to accept that my blotchy skin is a not-so-subtle warning that my period is near, and I can’t be the only one...I mean, right? I’m here to break down why we get these pesky pre-period pimples, and how we can be proactive before, during, and after the final pop.
WHY DID I WAKE UP TO PIMPLE-PALOOZA?
In the last two weeks of your cycle, your body is mixing a cocktail of high androgen levels and low estrogen levels. This combo can produce an oily scalp and v. oily skin, and clogged pores can cause a plethora of pimples. Therefore, you can experience a pimple or two anytime in the 7-10 days before your period (perhaps we should think of the pimple as a sign to do a little period prep? Just a thought.) Teenagers typically deal with longer stretches of acne due to inconsistent ovulation and hormones oscillating, so the older you get, the less you often have to deal with pimples.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO TREAT THIS DZITASTER?
Alright, I’m being a tad over dramatic (plus, I love wordplay), because there are lots of ways you can treat your menstrual-induced pimple woes. If you’re looking to balance out your hormones, you can chat with a doctor about going on a birth control that helps keep your skin clear (and safely avoiding an unwanted pregnancy is a great too! Two birds, one stone.) There are also daily regimen you can do to keep your skin healthy, such as cleansing and moisturizing your skin everyday, avoid touching your face (don’t pop those pimples!), wear sunscreen, and avoid cigarette smoke. Because your estrogen levels are low on your period, causing dehydrated skin, it’s important to hydrate your largest organ as much as possible! Let’s also remember to think outside the box (er, face). Washing pillowcases and sheets regularly, along with cleaning your cell phone can help your skin avoid bacteria and build-up.
ALL THIS INFO HAS MADE ME A LIL HUNGRY...ANY FOOD RECS TO KEEP THE SKIN CLEAR?
I’m glad you (okay, I) asked! Some of the best snacks to keep your skin looking clear n’ balmy include fish, nuts, avocados, and garlic (don’t you kinda wish these were the basket ingredients on Chopped? All of these sound pretty tasty.) Cortisol, a stress hormone that can be a factor in breaking out, is often produced by insulin from foods that raise your blood sugar levels. Try sticking to these foods in the week before your period, and remember to drink lots and lots of water. :)
Have any period-pimple taming tips for us? Leave them in the comments below!