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PMS Acne: Your Guide to Period-Related Breakouts

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Do you notice pimples showing up around the same time every month, like clockwork? Is it a coincidence, or is it caused by Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?

Many women go through sudden bursts of pimples just before their periods. Often, such breakouts are related to PMS.

While dealing with acne is never pleasant, it can become a real struggle when accompanied by other PMS symptoms.

Proper management and care are needed to manage period-related breakouts.

This article will explore how to identify PMS acne, what causes these breakouts, and effective treatments.

How to Identify PMS Acne

Premenstrual Syndrome refers to the changes in emotions, behavior, mood, and physical health in the days between ovulation and periods.

It can cause problems like fatigue, mood swings, Anxiety, and cramps.

Another change that women commonly go through is acne flare-ups.

Approximately 65% experience worsening of acne flare-ups before the onset of periods.

The easiest way to identify PMS breakouts from regular breakouts is to notice the timing. 

Acne related to PMS is most likely to occur in the week leading up to or during your period. Additionally, such acne might clear up by the end of your period.

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  • What Causes Acne Before Periods

    increased acneSource: elenavagengeim
    Woman suffering from acne

    Your periods can directly affect your skin, and hormonal fluctuations are the reason behind it.

    Women often experience fluctuating hormones around their periods, especially Testosterone.

    Testosterone can trigger sebaceous glands to produce more sebum (or oil), leading to acne. 

    Though Testosterone is identified as a male hormone, women also produce it in smaller amounts.

    Another hormone that can play a role in causing PMS acne is Progesterone. It can cause excess production of sebum, which plays a leading role in causing acne.

    Progesterone can make the skin oily and close skin pores, which may trap dirt and oil. This can trigger sudden and severe breakouts before periods.

    Did you know?:
    High levels of Testosterone in women can cause Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

    PMS Acne Treatment

    While many women may think there is no solution to acne, here are some treatment strategies to help you control PMS acne.

    • Birth control pills may work best for those not planning to get pregnant as they can help regulate hormone levels and control PMS Symptoms.
    • Spironolactone is another widely used medication for PMS that can restore hormonal imbalance and bring down period-related breakouts.
    • Benzoyl Peroxide is a common acne medication that may work well on hormonal breakouts. You can consider using over-the-counter Benzoyl Peroxide if you have mild acne.
    • Protect your skin from UV rays by using sunscreen and avoiding irritating products like greasy sunscreens, oils, and concealers.
    • Exercise and a healthy diet may work as the best natural remedies for PMS that can control hormonal imbalance and acne.

    It is essential to seek medical help if your PMS symptoms, including acne, worsen over time or interfere with your daily life.

    Do not use Benzoyl Peroxide around the eyes, nose, mouth, and open skin.


    Premenstrual Syndrome is a common issue that women face before their periods, and acne is another problem associated with PMS.

    Such PMS-related acne usually occurs a week before periods. Hormonal changes that occur throughout the menstrual cycle can play a role in causing acne.

    High Testosterone and Progesterone levels can trigger sudden and severe hormonal breakouts just before periods. PMS acne may subside as your period comes to an end.

    However, such acne can be a problem if it does not go away or change from bad to worse.

    In such cases, taking medications to control hormone levels may help control PMS acne. 

    Lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and skincare may also work to manage PMS acne.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can stress worsen PMS acne?

    Yes, stress can worsen PMS acne. Stress triggers hormonal changes and increases inflammation, which may contribute to more severe breakouts. Managing stress through relaxation techniques can be beneficial.

    Can PMS acne be a sign of hormone imbalance?

    PMS acne is often associated with hormonal fluctuations but doesn’t necessarily indicate a hormone imbalance. Persistent or severe symptoms may require hormonal testing to rule out imbalances.

    Are there specific considerations for treating PMS acne in women with PCOS?

    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can contribute to hormonal imbalances and acne. Treatment approaches may involve addressing underlying hormonal issues, and consultation with a healthcare provider is crucial for tailored management.

    Is PMS acne only common in teenagers?

    No, PMS acne can affect women of all ages. Hormonal fluctuations related to the menstrual cycle can contribute to breakouts throughout a woman’s reproductive years.

    Can PMS acne occur during pregnancy?

    PMS acne is typically associated with the menstrual cycle, so it’s uncommon during pregnancy. However, hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause different skin concerns, and consulting with a healthcare provider is advisable.

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    Photo of author Janet Fudge
    Jim Carson is a highly skilled and dedicated medical writer passionate about advancing medical practice. With years of experience in the field of medical sciences, Jim has made significant contributions to various studies aimed at improving healthcare outcomes. He currently writes for, providing expert insights and knowledge on various topics. Jim's expertise extends to various areas, including drug interactions, dosages, side effects, and best practices for medication use. In Los Angeles, Jim lives with his loving wife, children, and beloved pets. He deeply values spending time with his family and cherishes their presence. When he's not writing, Jim enjoys watching football games and staying updated with the latest sports news. Jim's writing shines through his commitment to advancing medical practice and improving healthcare outcomes. Readers can trust Jim's articles to be informative, accurate, and reliable, making him a trusted pharmaceutical information source for the website's audience.
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