Skin Rashes & Bumps Recurring Every Month

Woman scratching itchy arm. Allergy.
A woman in an apron scratches her arm. (Image: Anetlanda/iStock/Getty Images)

Hormonal changes associated with the female menstrual cycle can cause outbreaks of bumps and skin rashes that recur every month. Acne is an androgenic disorder, set off by the effects of the family of hormones known as androgens, according to an article by Dr. Geoffrey Redmond of the Hormone Help Center in New York. The androgen hormone family includes testosterone, the hormone most often responsible for the bumps and rashes of hormonal acne.

Hormones

Hormones are responsible for oil gland maturation in skin, according to the Acne website. In some individuals, an overproduction of androgens leads to an overproduction of oil. Oily skin is subject to pimple bumps and flat areas of a rash-like inflammation called seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis that appears across the cheeks and nose, known as the butterfly area, is called acne rosacea. According to Redmond, many women experience increased breakouts the week before their monthly menstruation. This is likely the result of a rise in testosterone levels, he writes.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Acne is one of the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome in women. Other symptoms of POCS include irregular menstrual periods, such as intervals longer than 35 days between periods or prolonged periods, according to MayoClinic.com. Androgens play a role in the development of this condition, which can occur shortly after the onset of menses in a female. The WomensHealth website states that excess insulin leads to an increase in androgen production.

Treatment

When breakouts of bumps and skin rashes do not respond to traditional acne treatments, hormonal testing is indicated. Through hormonal testing, a physician determines if an imbalance is present and the nature of the imbalance, such as adrenal, pituitary or ovarian abnormalities. Low-dose oral contraceptives are sometimes used to treat hormonal imbalance. Other treatments include lifestyle changes. According to WomensHealth, lifestyle changes may be sufficient to restore the body to normal hormone function because of the connection between excess insulin and excess androgen production. Diet and exercise to lower insulin levels and promote weight loss are recommended. Consult a dermatologist or physician when recurring monthly breakouts persist.

Skin Care

Skin care and proper hygiene are important, but they will not prevent skin rashes and bumps caused by hormonal imbalance, according to Redmond. While it is tempting to use soaps and aggressive cleansing measures, acne-prone skin needs moisture, so use mild skin cleansing treatments to avoid drying out your skin. It is important, as well, to use makeup and skin-care products that are non-comeogenic to prevent escalating your acne problems by introducing additional oil to the skin. Unless a product specifies that it is non-comeogenic, it has the potential to cause blackheads and whiteheads in oily skin. A good routine for acne-prone skin consists of twice-daily cleansing with a mild cleanser, daily application of benzoyl peroxide and once- or twice-daily application of moisturizer.

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