As if bloating, cramps and change in mood isn’t enough to deal with when it’s the time of the month, so many of us also suffer with our skin. From period acne to dry and itchy skin it’s hard not to feel frustrated when pimples appear. We have the ultimate guide with expert advice on how, when, and most importantly why your skin freaks out during your cycle.

Woman applying The Body Shop Seaweed Oil Control Lotion



If you don't already, tracking your periods can be super helpful to figure out where you're at in your monthly cycle as well as what skin changes to expect and when they’re most likely to make an appearance.

Your skin undergoes a journey throughout your cycle and blemishes don’t only appear right before you start your period. Your menstrual cycle entails four phases – menstrual, follicular, ovulation and luteal – and each influences your skin differently. That’s why throughout the month you may notice subtle fluctuations in oil production or patches of dryness as estrogen and progesterone levels rise and fall. At The Body Shop we love self-love and what better way to feel confident in your own skin than finding a skincare routine worth smiling about.


Most of us know that no two cycles are the same and what may work for one may not work for another. Sometimes, searching your questions into a search bar can be overwhelming and can provide you with information that you can’t always trust. Leading California based dermatologist, Dr.Steffani Kappel, has the answers you’ve all been searching for – What is period acne? Why do I get oily skin during my period? And what is a hormonal breakout?

What is period acne?

Period acne is also referred to as "hormonal acne" by dermatologists because the hormonal fluctuations that occur with menstrual cycle have dramatic effects on the skin. This includes dryness, pruritis (itchiness) or acne. Especially skin on the face. This is because the sebaceous glands in the face have hormone receptors that are affected by the various hormone fluctuations that take place throughout the menstrual cycle.

Woman Putting On The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil In Mirror

What are

hormonal breakouts?

Hormone break outs are clinically consistent with cyst like painful acne nodules that occurs in the jawline distribution. They mostly effect the lower face and even sometimes behind the ears. Typically, the acne lesions are deeper under the skin and can be quite painful. This is in contrast with Comedonal or inflammatory acne in which the acne lesions are more superficial. These deeper, painful cyst like acne lesions are sometimes not even as visible but can be painful and annoying. They can also lead to scarring if not treated and prevented.

Why do I get acne before my period?

The reason why acne is worse before your period has everything to do with the hormone fluctuations during your mensural cycle. The first 14 days or your menstrual cycle is called the follicular phase. The skin may even be dry and itchy during this time. Estrogen levels begin to rise. On day 14, ovulation occurs and the subsequent phase that follows is referred to as the luteal phase. This is when progesterone (the hormone closest to testosterone) levels increase which can also worsen acne.

Why do I get acne during my period?

Just before your period starts, the estrogen and progesterone levels drop. This stimulates your sebaceous glands in the face to secrete more sebum. This excess sebum production can result in clogged pores which results in increased inflammation and increased acnes bacteria leading to cystic acne. This occurs days before your period which is the reason why hormone beak outs are days before and during our period.

Best Face Moisturisers

Why do I have itchy skin

during my period?

Itchy skin occurs during the period of the menstrual cycle where estrogen levels drop and the hormone receptors on the sebaceous glands are not stimulated.

Why do I get oily skin during my period?

Oily skin during and shortly after your period occurs as the hormone levels are higher during this time. The excess levels of hormones bind to the hormone receptors in the sebaceous glands and increase excess sebum secretion. This can cause the skin to have an oily consistency, with dilated pores, and more blackheads.

What causes dry skin before my period?

Decreased sebum productions as a result of decreased hormones levels binding and stimulating sebum production during the first 14 days of the menstrual cycle.

If you’re struggling with dry skin before, during or after your period, why not try some of our skincare products specifically for dry skin and sensitive skin.

Methodology and Sources

We’ve analyzed the most searched for terms relating to skincare before, during and after your period and worked with dermatologist Dr Stefani Kappel to answer questions based on the most searched for keywords. Data pulled September-October 2021.