Hormonal fluctuations that occur during the menstrual cycle can cause an increase in inflammation and oil production, leading to breakouts on the skin. This can cause significant distress and frustration, especially if you have put in a lot of effort to maintain clear skin. To help prevent acne breakouts, Holistic Acne Specialist, Dr Shannon Curtis on her Instagram handle wrote, “Acne breakouts before your period are super common, thanks to the interplay of the hormones, occurring at the end of the menstrual cycle."
The expert suggested some tips, to keep your hormones happy and healthy and how to avoid premenstrual breakouts:
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- Limit alcohol the week before your menses starts: The expert said alcohol taxes your liver and is also responsible for metabolizing hormones like estrogens. If your liver function is sluggish, that extra alcohol will overburden your liver and could lead to acne breakouts, contributing to imbalanced estrogen levels.
- Support your liver: To keep your hormones balanced and skin clear, your liver may need a little extra love before your periods. Consume foods that help support liver functioning (like beets, lemons, artichokes and cruciferous veggies), also drinking herbal tea, helps in clear skin.
- Keep your blood sugar balanced: Dr Shannon said when you’re likely craving more carbs and sugar during or before your periods, it makes sense given what’s going on hormonally! Eating too many sweets increase your blood sugar levels and leads to acne. Focus on consuming complex carbohydrates (like squash, quinoa, sweet potatoes and beets) and avoid eating sugary beverages and processed foods and make sure to balance your diet with healthy fats and proteins.
- Optimize progesterone levels with food: If your progesterone levels are low, androgens may create more sebum, which can result in more acne. Eat foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, zinc and magnesium, to support progesterone production.
- Optimize your stress response: According to Dr Shannon, stress lowers progesterone levels and impacts the body’s ability to metabolize other hormones, which contributes to acne. Embrace gentle forms of stress relief during periods, like breathwork, yoga, walking out in nature, or getting a massage.
- Improve circulation to your pelvis: Pelvic stagnation can impact progesterone production and the health of your menstrual cycle. Improve pelvic circulation and lymphatic flow with regular movement, standing more than sitting, having good posture, massaging your abdomen, and addressing any constipation.
- Align to your inner rhythms: Take cues from your body’s natural rhythms and listen to what your body is asking for. As your estrogen and progesterone levels naturally drop the week before your period, you may notice the desire to be more introverted, take on fewer tasks and find more stillness in your everyday life. This is all in preparation for your menses, which births you back into a new cycle yet again.
- Address any emotions that are coming up: Are you noticing anger or irritability, sadness or grief, fear or anxiety? The premenstrual phase often accentuates any emotional wounds. Consider journaling about your emotions to figure out where they’re coming from and what your body is asking of you to heal.
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