This is your ultimate guide to hormonal breakouts, period pimples and acne before your period. Plus how to get clear, calm, happy skin.

3 Big Reasons Why You’re Getting Acne Before Your Period

In Acne by Cheryl Woodman MChemLeave a Comment

Acne before your period. It’s the worst. You know it’s coming. You know you’re about to get big, painful cystic breakouts around your jawline. You know it and yet every month, nothing you do stops them 😭


You feel self-conscious and you miss your no-makeup face.

I feel your pain my friend. I was once trapped where you are now. In a cycle of Vesuvius acne before my period that barely healed before new breakouts silently attacked my skin. It felt like my acne was just getting worse and worse… I was at breaking point with it.

It took me to a moment of hot, angry tears at a pharmacist’s counter (more about that another day ;)) – but if you’ve heard me speak about this before, you know this was THE moment I decided to take back control. The moment I said to myself – Cheryl you’re a scientist, your skin’s been clear before it can be clear again. You just have to find out what’s changed. Find the trigger causes of your acne and heal them.

I’m so glad I didn’t find help from that pharmacist or my doctor because instead, I started an acne healing journey which led me to right here, writing this blog to you. Here where I now have clear, acne resisting skin. Here where I’ve healed not just my skin, but my body health too. Here where I get to help wonderful women like you heal from acne too… naturally (!)

And that journey – it starts by knowing exactly why you’re getting acne before your period.

Because understanding is power and control.

Once you understand why period acne’s happening to you, you can then understand exactly how to heal from acne and get clear, calm, resilient skin.

Think about it, imagine you’re a matchmaker for your best bud, do you;

A) Throw a dice to decide her hot date?

B) Ask a bazillion questions like she’s starring on The Bachelorette – heck this new man you’re choosing’s like a brother, you know THAT much about him (!)

Best answer, I know you know it eh – it’s B.

And here’s exactly how we go about healing your period breakouts too my friend, we need to get to know your skin first, know why period acne’s happening to you… then you can choose acne skincare and acne help that works (I’ve got just the thing :)).

So let’s get going eh… why are you getting acne before your period?

This is your ultimate guide to hormonal breakouts, period pimples and acne before your period. Plus how to get clear, calm, happy skin.

1) Period Acne Caused By a Hormone Called Insulin

I’m starting with the biggest yet least obvious cause of your period acne first because that’s what you deserve my friend. This reason for breaking out before your period is so underknown about. See here’s the deal – a hormone called insulin and its sister – insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) have a heck load to answer for when it comes to acne before your period.

The fact is when you have acne like those big, red, cystic period breakouts you’re getting, there are a couple of key changes happening in your skin;

  1. Your skin’s oil-making glands and oil-making cells are being told to make more oil (technically called sebum) and they’re growing in size and number – fuelling more and more oil to be made
  2. Your skin’s going into a state of what’s scientifically called hyperkeratosis – pfft – I know eh – how techy – all this means is skin cells inside your pores are growing out of control and thickening the inside of your pores making them prone to clogs

See this hormone here – IGF-1 – it’s a steroid growth hormone. Crazy right.

It causes things to grow, grow, grow like Jack’s Beanstalk.

And the thing is in the scientific world, its link with acne has been known about for YEARS. See here in this science quote;

Plasma IGF-1 levels positively correlate with severity of acne.J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 Oct;75(4):768-773

Psst – I go into this in more detail inside my online acne healing course – Acne Warrior.

So how the heck does this IGF-1 thing cause acne before your period?

This is the whistle-stop tour my friend but you’re going to get the whole story inside Acne Warrior;

1) Your insulin hormones, they take sugar out of your bloodstream

2) When your estrogen levels are high like in the first weeks of your cycle, you’re really sensitive to it, you don’t need a lot to get the job done

3) That week before your period (and of your period) – when you’re getting period acne – that’s when estrogen plummets

4) As estrogen’s plummeting your body gets less sensitive to insulin

Science knows this. It’s why there are published papers like this one;

This is one big reason for acne before period.

Psst – don’t worry about those crazy science words after the bit in pink. It’s the pink bit that’s important. And as this is happening to you (maybe even right now!)…

5) You need more and more and more insulin to do the same job (!)

6) More insulin hormones means more IGF-1 which means MORE growth which means more oil in your skin and more clogging of your pores

Bottom line: to help stop period acne and breakouts before your period you need to help reduce your body levels of IGF-1 – it sounds techy, crazy and sciency eh but I promise you it’s super simple. You have big power and control over these dudes and it’s exactly what I’m guiding you through step-by-step inside Acne Warrior.

Acne Warrior online acne healing video course to heal from acne naturally. A natural, holistic treatment for acne.

2) Period Hormones Cause Your Skin to Get Oily & Dehydrated… which causes acne

Estrogen is such a yummy hormone for your skin 😀 it helps your skin to resist wrinkles and fine lines, it helps plump your skin, helps hydrate your skin, helps your skin to glow like a moonbeam.

And just before your period, that time when you’re getting period acne – estrogens at its lowest. Not just at ground floor, your estrogen levels have hit the basement.

Yikes right.

Now you also have this other hormone called testosterone.

Just like men don’t get monthly hormone changes, our ‘male’ hormone doesn’t change either.

Your testosterone levels my friend are steady as a rock. They don’t climb to the 400th floor and they also don’t plummet to the basement.

This means just before your period testosterone becomes louder in your body because estrogen (which is anti-androgenic/anti-testosterone) isn’t there to balance it out.

And I bet you know this already eh – testosterone causes your skin to become oily and therefore prone to clogging and pre-period breakouts.

This is the most commonly known about cause of period acne.

But thing most people don’t know is, it links up pretty neatly with reason #1 – which heck yes means you have big power and control here too. And that’s because of this big fact;

Ovaries and the adrenal glands are two examples of tissues remaining sensitive to insulin actions where insulin may contribute to increased androgen secretion.World J Diabetes. 2021 May 15; 12(5): 616–629.

Please, please don’t worry if any of this sounds super techy, that’s why you’ve got me, your scientist friend 😘

What this science explosion’s telling us 😉 is that your ovaries MAKE androgens – and that insulin is the hormone which tells them to do this.

To get actionable next steps for how to stop your pre-period acne and get clear, calm, breakout-resisting skin – enrol in my acne healing course Acne Warrior – here’s the link you need to get started instantly.

Acne Warrior online acne healing video course to heal from acne naturally. A natural, holistic treatment for acne.

3) Cystic Period Breakouts Get Caused by Huge Increases in Inflammation ‘Hormones’

This is big for you if right now, just like I once did, you’re suffering from deep, painful, pre-period cystic acne breakouts.

The fact is, just before your period your body’s feasting on WAY more inflammation ‘hormones’ than it is at any other time of the month.

I keep putting that hormone’s word in air quotes because the dude causing you these higher inflammation levels isn’t actually a hormone BUT it does have hormone-like effects.

It goes by a fancy name but don’t let that scare you – prostaglandins – let’s call him Pete 😉

Pete helps;

  • Make muscles in your womb contract, causing period cramps (period cramps are a sign your levels are higher – and Acne Warrior will help you reduce them)
  • Constrict blood vessels in your uterus (turning them off so you can shed and have a period)
  • Cause inflammation

Can you see why your body needs Pete to make a period happen eh? Pete helps your womb lining to shed away so you don’t end up growing and growing and exploding from the inside out 😱

But because Pete causes inflammation too – your body’s inflammation levels get overall higher.

They’re in that lift to the 400th floor.

And because acne is technically called a chronic inflammatory skin condition – anything causing your body extra inflammation will worsen your acne just before your period.

Pete is a big reason why you’re breaking out before your period.

And my online course Acne Warrior which you can start instantly is a step-by-step action plan for how to stop Pete causing you painful, cystic acne breakouts before your period.

I can’t wait for you to feel what it’s like to get clear, calm, happy, breakout resisting skin and to love your no-makeup face again 🥰😘

If this blog’s taught you more about your acne in 5 minutes than you’ve figured out in the years you’ve been struggling, you’re going to get so much more inside Acne Warrior. Keitha enrolled just a few weeks ago (and is already seeing her skin getting calmer!) she sent me this email today;

How to heal acne before period. Say goodbye to period acne with Acne Warrior.

Use this link to enrol in Acne Warrior.

I can’t wait for your email, to hear how you’re seeing breakouts reducing and getting no period acne – especially not the cystic kind.

See some of your fellow Acne Warrior’s results here >