Raise your hand if you've been personally victimized by hormonal acne, especially before your period 🙋. OK — same. There is nothing more annoying than the zits that pop up around that time of the month, and sometimes it feels like it's absolutely inevitable. There are numerous times that I've gotten facials and the esthetician asks if I am within 5 days, before or after, my monthly period. They prefer to see you after that time of the month because if they see you before, the chances of you breaking out again afterwards are much higher. And who wants to waste money?
WHY does this happen to us? Well according to Dr. Rebecca Booth via Dermstore, during PMS days estrogen decreases which prompts a slight surge in testosterone, which causes enlarged pores, excess sebum and pesky breakouts. One of the main causes of acne is an imbalance between estrogen and testosterone, and when the later is higher — hellooo new chin and lower cheek zits!
There are ways that you can help prevent this madness. From a lifestyle perspective, consider omitting inflammatories like dairy, gluten and processed sugar from your diet about 5 days before your period. Make sure you get enough sleep and your pillowcases and cell phone screen are clean. Oh and, don't touch your face!!! If you're still struggling, MASK. Masks are an incredible way to get a concentrated treatment on your skin that can really help prevent blemishes and other skin issues from rising to the surface. Below are our tried-and-true recommendations:
May Lindstrom Problem Solver
I've said it once and I'll say it again, this mask is the real deal. It comes as powder and you activate it by adding water, which then creates a mousse. With ingredients like clay, cacao, charcoal, cinnamon, turmeric, clove and lavender, it's full of everything you need to literally pull toxins out of your pores. Unlike a lot of clay masks, this is not drying at all. It will actually alleviate your skin of any dry patches that you have, which is also a
nice side effect of hormones. You'll feel your excess sebum being vacuumed out with this one 😏. ($100, MayLindstrom.com)
Renée Rouleau Rapid Response Detox Masque
This detox mask is not a clay or charcoal base (unusual of "detox masks") but rather a golden yellow gel filled with anti-inflammatory ingredients like tea tree oil, Manuka oil, salicylic acid and Chinese licorice. This mask is specifically formulated to keep your skin from drying out (which Renée lists as the culprit of most acne) to disrupt blemishes from forming. It's great for most skin types but especially sensitive and dry. Another plus, you only need to leave it on for 15 minutes so the commitment is minimal! I've been using this before my time of the month recently and I'm vvvery happy with the results. ($60.50, ReneeRouleau.com)
Raw Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is an all-star ingredient when it comes to skincare. It's a natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory that soothes blemishes and helps with skin regeneration. There's a reason it's a major ingredient in many skincare lines. You don't want to apply any old honey to your face, though. Make sure you get raw, unpasteurized and GMO-free to maintain the naturally occurring benefits inherent in this superstar ingredient. You can also mix it up with other superfoods in your kitchen for an even more potent mask, here are 4 examples. ($35.95, Amazon.com)
Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel
This is considered a "spa grade" acid-based chemical peel that can slough away dead skin cells and reveal brighter skin in minutes. It's also totally natural and certified organic. Doing a peel before your period is a great idea so that you can be sure your skin is off to a fresh start with no clogged dirt or dead skin on the surface. It's full of alpha and beta hydroxy acids, vitamin A, grapeseed and more. It sends you off with a nice tingly feeling while you use it that helps you ~know~ it's working. There are a few different strength options based on your skin sensitivity. ($48, Dermstore.com)
Glossier Galaxy Green Mask
I mentioned that this was one of the first products that got me hooked on Glossier here, and it's because this is one of the easiest and budget-friendly clay masks I've found. It's formulated with white kaolin clay, parsley, spinach and cress sprout extract (hello juice cleanse!), bitter orange peel, avocado oil, and antioxidants like açai, aronia and billberry. It doesn't leave your skin dry but it certainly leaves a noticeable glow. It helps clear out your pores while adding lots of nourishing ingredients into them. ($22, Glossier.com)
Leahlani Skincare Mermaid Mask
If you missed our Q&A with Leahlani founder, Leah Klasovsky, (read it here), the line was basically formulated to help those with skin imbalances like cystic acne. This beautiful mask is made in Hawaii and enriched with superfoods like raw honey, organic spirulina, organic chlorella, chamomile, luminess algae and much more. It helps boost the circulation in your skin, purify it and also exfoliate... WINx3. It's a stunning emerald color that makes you want to use it daily. ($32, LeahlaniSkincare.com)
Osea Malibu Red Algae Mask
This mask is a duo of detox and hydration in one. Formulated with French red kaolin clay, organic red algae, thyme, juniper and tea tree oils, it specializes in actually shrinking your pores (yes! 🙌). On top of that, the brand is totally natural and thoughtfully formulated in Malibu, California. I love the bottle, it's a pump so there's little room for contamination, like there is in jars. You can even use this as a spot treatment overnight for stubborn blemishes. ($48, OseaMalibu.com)
What are your favorite detox masks? Dish in the comments!