Last month, we wrote all about how and why hormones affect skin over our monthly cycles – for most of us, it’s the days before and during our periods when our skin suffers the most. This bad-skin phase is caused by hormonal fluctuations of estrogen and testosterone, which stimulate oil glands to produce more oil. This oil then clogs pores, attracting bacteria and leading to sore, under-the-skin bumps that manifest into painful blemishes.
Hormonal breakouts tend to appear on the lower face – especially around the chin and jaw – since this is where most of the facial oil glands are. You’ll also notice that these ‘time of the month’ spots tend to pop up in the same places each month as well – if a pore has been enlarged by a previous pimple, it traps oil more easily. To complicate matters even further, if you have high-levels of estrogen (often the case if you’re taking birth control pills) this can lead to increased risk of pigmentation once the blemish has gone.
The good news is that (along with drinking plenty of water, sticking to a consistent skin routine, and reducing consumption of inflammatories like caffeine, sugar, and dairy) there are a multitude of products that will supplement your routine and treat your skin when the hormones kick in…
Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion
Under-the-skin spots are notoriously difficult to tackle – but there’s nothing worse than waiting for a breakout to surface before you can treat it. Mario Badescu’s Buffering Lotion stops blemishes in their tracks before they’ve even come to a head – instantly reducing redness and inflammation. What’s more, it’s got a water-thin texture and is transparent, so you can wear it day and night, and layer it beneath makeup.
NIOD Flavanone Mud Mask
Designed to detox skin at three different levels, NIOD’s Flavanone Mud Mask is exactly what congested skin needs to look and feel clearer and calmer. It uses Amazonian clay to pull build-up from pores, while chamomile reduces the redness and swelling of breakouts, and flavanone (which has anti-microbial properties) kills bacteria. It also works well as an overnight spot treatment to reduce inflammation.
Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Blemish Dots
For fast results, that will flatten even the most oversized spots, the Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Blemish Dots are packed with a powerhouse of blemish-busting ingredients like charcoal, salicylic acid, and tomato extract. Best used on spots that have already broken through, the charcoal absorbs oils and pus from the breakout, while salicylic acid goes deeper to clear the pores, and tomato starts on healing the skin.
Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask
It’s a common misconception that blemish treatments need to be deep cleansing and astringent, but treating spots is about so much more than drying them out – especially if you want to prevent them from scarring. Antipodes Aura Manuka Mask is a luxurious moisturing treatment that uses honey (a natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory) to soothe and calm skin that’s in the midst of a painful hormonal breakout.
Freck Cactus Cleansing Lactic Acid Toner
It’s important to exfoliate skin during a hormonal breakout in order to slough away the dead skin cells that get caught in pores and lead to more spots, but also because exfoliating will help to prevent scarring. Freck’s Cactus Cleansing Lactic Acid Toner is a refreshing toning solution which uses lactic acid (a gentle acid-derived chemical exfoliant which is less likely to cause irritation) to clear and resurface skin.
Alpha-H Clear Skin Daily Face Wash
Hormonal breakouts can require a cocktail of spot-clearing ingredients to keep it under control at this time of the month. This is where having a targeted cleanser like Alpha-H’s Clear Skin Daily Face Wash comes into play. It includes aloe, niacinamide, salicylic acid and tea tree – which work together to kill bacteria, reduce excess oil and decongest pores.