You know this: Your skin feels hydrated and looks bright for two weeks, then becomes an oily mess the next, and when pimples start popping up, it’s time to get ready for – arguably – the worst week of the month – your period.

The main culprit? Hormones. As you may already know, an increase in testosterone encourages sebum production leading to clogged pores and acne if not properly taken care of.

But according to Japanese skincare brand Orbis, high levels of progesterone which occur right after ovulation contributes to this situation too.

Research done by the company showed that when progesterone levels are at their highest, the skin tends to observe a lower level of a certain antimicrobial peptide. This particular substance is naturally produced in the skin to fight disease-causing bacteria, and in this case, acne.

With lower levels of this antimicrobial peptide present on the skin, it is less protected and therefore, more prone to breakouts.

There are of course, ways to counter this. Tailoring your skincare routine to include more acne-fighting products with ingredients like salicylic acid during the week will help.

The ones we like include SK-II’s Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, Laneige’s Trouble Relief Toner, Etude House’s AC Clinic Intense Mask and Kiehl’s Acne Blemish Control Daily Skin-Clearing Treatment. All these help to prevent breakouts without drying out the skin.

Then, there is the all-in-one skincare option that you don’t have to switch to just because of your period.

Orbis’ reformulated Clear series is a three-step system that you can use every day to balance skin and enhance its natural protective functions.

Herbal extracts – particularly the gromwell root extract – are said to multiply the amount of antimicrobial peptides on the skin by five times, so it’s better prepared to fight acne-causing bacteria, even when you’re nearing your period. All of this in a refreshing oil-free formula that still keeps your skin comfortable and hydrated.

Pretty cool, huh? The range – a wash, toning lotion and moisturiser – is available at all Orbis retail outlets. Prices start at $20 for the cleanser.

Photography: Vernon Wong; Art direction: Michelle Tham; Styling: Hong Xinying; Hair and makeup: Dollei Seah, Lydia Thong and Vicky Lee of Makeup Entourage (9111 1919), using Lancome; Model: Lee Soon Young/Nu Models; Dress: COS; Watch: Swarovski

Want more tips on preventing menstrual acne breakouts? Check out this guide on how your skin conditions typically change during the month, and the best acne fighting products that won’t dry your skin out!