Is acne caused by my periods?

Last updated on October 20, 2020


I am 12 years old. I started my period when I was 10. I also started to receive acne on my back. I have had it for almost a year now. My mom says it’s from my period. Is that true? I am 5’1 and I would like to try and reach the height of 5’5. Do I have any chance of outgrowing acne or actually being that height?


The real question you need to ask yourself is whether you have had your growth spurt yet or not. Most girls have it before their first period, but some have it afterward. Your growth spurt comes in stage 3 of Dr. Tanner’s scale of development. See the description of each stage to decide where you are at. To estimate what stage of development you are in, see the Tanner Stage Calculator for Girls.

I know you have a target height that you would like to reach, but the better attitude is to find happiness in the height you are. No matter what you would like to be as an adult, there is really nothing that you can do to increase your final height. You can decrease it by eating poorly, but your maximum potential height was set before you were born and is locked in your genes.

In regards to acne, your mom has it almost right. Changes in your hormones cause the oil sacs in your skin to act erratically at times; sometimes overproducing or underproducing. The changing hormones also impact your skin’s resistance to bacteria. At times you are more sensitive and at others more resistant. During adolescence, you have wildly fluctuating hormone levels, but as a woman, you also experience regularly shifting hormones as well.

What your mother is stating is that at certain points in your monthly cycle you are more likely to break out with acne than at other points. Your period is, of course, occurring because of those same shifting hormones. So, in a sense, your major outbreaks can be somewhat predicted by your periods even though they are not directly related; just the consequence of the same shifting hormones.

Once you reach full adulthood, your body will reach a more steady rhythm and the severity of your acne outbreaks will fade way. It might go away completely, but more likely it will settle down to a few mild outbreaks each month. Cleansers to remove excess oil will help. It is easy to overdo it and get your skin dry; the irritation of dry skin will make you more prone to outbreaks. It will take a bit to get the right quantity in the right places at the right time down, but once you get the pattern established, it won’t be too bad. You can also look into getting an acne treatment. Those with salicylic acid removes the top layer of dead skin cells, reducing the probability of clogged pores. Treatments containing benzoyl peroxide kills the bacteria that causes inflamed pores. Generally, you need to find a combination that works well with your skin.