Ladies, let’s be real: Period skin woes are real. No matter how diligent we are with our skincare routines, when it’s that time of the month, our complexion can have a mind of its own. Hormonal breakouts especially blow because they’re a pain — literally — to deal with before they surface and after they’ve run their course. Thankfully, it’s completely normal and you’re not alone — take it from Chrissy Teigen, who recently got real about her period skin on Snapchat. To ward off pesky zits, follow our week-by-week guide so your skin stays clear and radiant.
THREE WEEKS BEFORE: STICK TO YOUR ROUTINE
Good news: In the weeks leading up to your period, your skin is usually in tip-top shape. “Your estrogen levels are still high this time of the month, so your skin tends to be hydrated and your pores generally appear smaller,” explains dermatologist Whitney Bowe of Advanced Dermatology, PC in NYC. Enjoy this complexion perfection, gals, because something could start brewing soon. “This is a great time to feel motivated to stick to your skincare routine, which will help your complexion stay in its best possible shape throughout hormone shifts that are coming your way,” says Bowe.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE: PROACTIVELY TREAT breakouts
Okay, so your period is en route and you know it. It’s time to pay attention to what your skin is telling you during this time. “As your period approaches, your estrogen levels dip and your progesterone begins to amp up, along with increased oil production,” Bowe states. “This is the time to stay ahead of your pimples!” Regularly use a zit-fighting treatment like the Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads ($40), which contain sebum-absorbing, breakout-banishing salicylic acid. “If you feel a pimple starting to brew under the skin’s surface, try a clay mask to remove impurities and dirt from the breakout,” she recommends.
Another two-week-pre-period tip is to avoid steam rooms and saunas. They affect your precious pores during a particularly compromising time with your skin. “Your pores are already starting to swell from the effects of progesterone, and steam can make pore-swelling worse,” Bowe warns. “When pores swell shut, they are more likely to create an oxygen-starved environment deep in that pore where acne bacteria loves to grow.” So, basically, put your next spa day on hold if you’re nearing your menstrual cycle.
DURING YOUR PERIOD: GET EXTREMELY CLEAN
The time has come and your skin is ready. “The prior weeks’ pore-clogging progesterone surge has likely left your skin with pimples creeping up your chin and jaw because of your increased sebum production paired with compressed pores,” she says. It’s all about proper cleansing at this point to ensure that your skin is squeaky-clean and free from excess oil. “I highly recommend that my patients double cleanse during this time, starting with a product like Dermalogica Precleanse Balm ($45) followed by a gentle cleanser. Finish with a moisturizer to keep your skin nourished and smooth,” says Bowe.
AFTER YOUR PERIOD: BRIGHTEN AND LIGHTEN POST-PIMPLE MARKS
Yahoo! Your period is donezo. It’s time to get your skin back in check. “Your estrogen and progesterone levels are returning to normal and you should experience some relief from menstrual-related acne,” says Bowe. “If you have stubborn, cystic pimples which can last up to 10 days, I often suggest that my patients dab cortisone on the spot once or twice.” Cortisone will help reduce redness and soothe the skin. After the actual zit is taken care of, a lingering dark spot often remains, dulling your complexion. “Try incorporating products with brightening ingredients like licorice, soy, or kojic acid into your routine,” she recommends.