Acne and hormones are intrinsically linked—ask any teenager and they’ll tell you it’s true. A lot of teenage girls and grown women experience acne breakouts around ‘that time of the month.’ It almost feels inevitable, doesn’t it? This is, after all, the reason so many of us keep the Drying Lotion handy
What’s happening during that monthly breakout? What’s causing it?
Basically, a quick rise in the hormone progesterone causes the skin to produce more oil just before menstruation.This additional oil often clogs pores and leads to acne (as you’ve likely experienced at some point). As your skin breaks out, both progesterone and estrogen will sharply drop, causing the mood changes, concentration issues, and physical symptoms associated with PMS.
(Read: The survival guide to PMS acne)
Does hormonal birth control help acne? There are a number of reasons to choose to take hormonal birth control; acne management is a major one. It works to stop acne by directly targeting the source of monthly acne—hormonal changes. It is successful enough that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of some hormonal birth control methods for the treatment of acne.(*Please read the disclaimer below.)
Here’s the downside: hormonal birth control doesn’t work for everyone. In fact, some women experience even worse acne while using this method. Furthermore, hormonal birth control also makes the skin more sensitive to the sun and more likely to incur melasma—patches of dark skin on your face that are generally associated with pregnancy.
In the meantime, be sure that you’re using the right skin care products for your skin—whether you have acne all month long or only during your period. Spot treatments are important, of course, but the best way to have clear skin consistently is to stick to an appropriate regimen.
*This blog post is for entertainment purposes and is not intended to replace medical advice. Please speak to your doctor if you have questions about hormonal birth control.