Acne & Periods: Why You Should Let Your Skin Breathe During Shark Week?

Most women have their own “secret” to having clear skin.

However, regardless of your skin type, the best way to keep your skin acne-free doesn’t involve any secret cream or potion: it’s to simply let it breathe.

Find out what causes acne

Acne is a skin condition that usually occurs on the T-zone on your face and forehead, but can also appear on the chest, back and shoulders.

Acne can affect anyone of all ages, but is particularly common in teenagers.

Acne is primarily caused when your pores become clogged with dead skin cells and oils. However, a number of factors can cause acne.

First and foremost on the list is stress. You might have noticed yourself that when you’re feeling particularly tense or under pressure, your acne worsens.

This is also exacerbated if you suffer from depression, or have an irregular sleeping patterns.

Acne is also a symptom of an unhealthy diet. Eating a lot of oily or sugary foods can cause issues with your digestive system, resulting in a build up of toxins.

Other causes include the hair and cosmetic products you use, or even the type of hat you wear.

But unfortunately that’s not all.

Periods and acne

When your period arrives, it brings a whole host of things you need to worry about.

As if stomach cramps and the occasional leak wasn’t bad enough, it can also cause breakouts of acne.

You can deal with stomach cramps with painkillers and a hot water bottle, and you can prepare for leaks with absorbent underwear.

But how do you deal with period-related acne? Well, first and foremost, you need to let your skin breathe.

Breathing is as important for our skin as it is for us. 7% of the oxygen we breathe is used by our skin, and it provides our cells with vital fuel, as well as getting rid of any excess carbon dioxide from our bodies.

Does our skin actually breathe?

Our skin doesn’t actually “breathe” in the sense that it takes in oxygen like we do through our lungs.

This is because there is a dead layer of skin on the surface, and it is the skin below it that requires oxygen.

So what does the cosmetics industry mean by letting your skin breathe?

When skincare manufacturers say that a product lets your skin breathe, they don’t mean it actually ingests oxygen.

They actually mean it is non-comodegenic. This means that it doesn’t block your pores when you wear it, preventing clogging and a build up of dead skin and dirt.

How should I let my skin breathe during my period?

When women wear makeup, creams or lotions that cover up our pores, it can encourage acne to appear and spread.

This doesn’t mean you need to stop wearing makeup altogether. Heaven forbid! But when you do, you need to make sure that you remove it properly before bed.

Be sure to take the time to thoroughly remove every trace of it at the end of each day. It’s also worth washing your face at least twice a day with a deep facial cleanser.

While you don’t need to go entirely makeup free during your period, you might want to consider going without makeup in the week after your period.

This is because during the post-period part of your menstrual cycle, your body produces a higher amount of estrogen.

The release of this hormone hydrates your skin and increases collagen production, making your skin look naturally better. Plus it might not be as bad as you thought, either!

How else can I prevent acne during my period?

While letting your skin “breathe” during your shark week is crucial, there are other things you can do to prevent acne flare-ups during your period as well.

1. Avoid touching your face

We touch our face anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 times a day, often without even realizing we’re doing it.

This is especially true if we work at a desk all day, leaning our faces on our hands and fists.

Unfortunately, this also means that we spread dirt and bacteria across our faces when we do.

Try to make a conscious effort to avoid this, and remember to wash your hands before you apply your makeup.

2. Try birth control

Many of us use The Pill as a form of birth control. However, it can also help reduce the production of excess oil in our skin too.

It works by preventing the natural increase in estrogen and progesterone before we being menstruating, intercepting acne flare-ups before they happen.

However, this effect varies from woman to woman, so be sure to consult with your doctor or pharmacist first.

3. Always shower after exercising

When you exercise, you produce a lot of sweat, natural oils and bacteria that can clog up your pores and rapidly cause and increase breakouts of acne.

As such, you need to make sure you shower thoroughly after a workout, possibly using a body wash developed for acne-prone skin.

While your T-zone is important to focus on, make sure you also cover your chest and back as well.

Be sure to plan your exercise regimen with plenty of time to shower afterwards.

4. Stay hydrated

During your shark week, try to avoid sugary drinks like soda or fruit juices.

Instead, stick to a nice glass of water. Drinking water regularly will help cleanse your body of toxins, flushing out any harmful chemicals that can lead to a flare-up of acne.

5. Change your diet

Just as drinking sugary drinks can affect your acne during your period, so too can your diet.

Avoid foods high in oil, saturated fats and dairy when you’re on your shark week.

Sticking to a vitamin-rich diet with foods such as fish, lean meats, legumes, green leaf vegetables and nuts provide you with the right nutrients you need to combat any acne breakouts.

The bottom line

Periods are a tough time for all of us, especially if we suffer from acne. But you don’t need to take it lying down.

There are plenty of things you can do when your period strikes to prevent bad acne breakouts: staying hydrated, changing your diet, and showering thoroughly after exercising.

But first and foremost amongst these is to let your skin “breathe.”

Clean your makeup off thoroughly before bed, and don’t be afraid to treat yourself to a makeup-free day here and there. It’ll do wonders for your skin.

Recommended reading: The Complete Guide On How To Get Rid Of Hormonal Acne