Kallgren Dermatology in Boulder often gets questions about women breaking out in blemishes, or pimples, near or during their periods. One question we often get is about dealing with monthly breakouts. It can be really frustrating to be a full-grown adult woman, and have monthly breakouts like a hormonal teenager. It’s like a beacon telling everyone around you that your hormones are surging.

You Are Not alone

  • According to WebMd, “63% of acne-prone women experience… premenstrual flare-ups.”
  • Even women who are not prone to acne have can have a monthly flare up.  


Why Do Monthly Breakouts Happen?

  • During the second half of your cycle the hormone progesterone levels increase.
  • Progesterone triggers the production of sebum, a thick fatty substance in your skin.
  • As progesterone continues to increase, your pores close and the sebum builds up underneath, causing blemishes.
  • As hormones dip at the onset of menstruation, the hormone testosterone stimulates even more sebum to be produced and the breakout intensifies.
  • Sebum is the perfect home of a bacterium called P.acnes. This is the cause of the extra inflammation that accompanies your PMS breakout.


What Can you Do About these Breakouts?

  • One way to control them is to go use birth control pills or hormone patches.
  • You will want to discuss risk factors with your doctor before deciding on a course of action.
  • Of course, you’ll want to keep your face as clean as possible so that there are fewer bacteria to grow and cause extra irritation.