Pregnancy Acne

How to treat acne during pregnancy

For some unlucky women, pregnancy will bring oily skin and breakouts of acne instead of that radiant glow that most women expect. Although there are some ways to treat pregnancy skin problems, some medications will be off-limits, as they can have a severe impact on your growing baby. Learn about acne treatment during pregnancy, including pregnancy skin care to help keep breakouts at bay.

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Acne and Pregnancy

About half of all women suffer from occasional pimples, and most of these women will continue to suffer from acne during pregnancy. Like most changes that occur in a pregnant body, the reason behind pregnancy and acne is largely hormonal. Your hormone levels will fluctuate throughout your pregnancy, and the almost immediate spike in progesterone can lead to an invasion of oil-producing hormones called androgens. The extra oil will combine with shed skin cells to clog pores, which can lead to mild or severe pregnancy acne depending on your type of skin and your history of acne.

Since there is no way to change your hormone levels during pregnancy, there is no fool-proof way to prevent a breakout, but you may be able to minimize the discomfort and appearance of acne. Begin with a good pregnancy skin care routine, involving a gentle cleanser, a light moisturizer and a careful technique. Try to wash your face in the morning and before bed with an oil-free cleanser. Your skin becomes more sensitive during pregnancy, so beware of specialized acne cleansers that will likely irritate your skin. After you rinse and pat your face dry, follow up with a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer to hydrate and soothe your skin.

Good prenatal nutrition can help calm acne, so be sure you include plenty of water along with your vitamins to keep hydrated. If your skin dries out, it may compensate by overproducing oil, and the cycle of acne continues. Try not to touch your pimples either, as this can easily spread bacteria to other areas of your skin. If this skin care regimen is not helping, you may need to speak with your doctor about a safe acne medication.

Acne Medication and Pregnancy

Some acne medication that you may have used before pregnancy will be safe to continue, but certain products carry very frightening side effects for an unborn baby. Many dermatologists agree that topical creams using salicylic acid as their active ingredient are probably fine, but steer clear of anything containing retinol, whether it's a topical cream like Retinol-A or a pill like Accutane. Antibiotics such as tetracycline and minocycline have also been proven to cause birth defects, so be very careful with the products you choose. Your best course of action is to consult a doctor or dermatologist before taking any acne medication, regardless of how gentle it may seem.