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Pregnancy acne treatment

Why You Might Get Acne During Pregnancy and Safe Treatment Options

April 25, 2018
2 min read

You might have noticed you’ve developed acne during your pregnancy or that your blemishes are getting worse. Although this can be an annoying pregnancy symptom, there are some skin care steps you can take to help clear up your acne. There may be medications you can take, too; however, it’s best to consult your healthcare provider about which ones are safe to take while pregnant. Read on to learn why you might be getting acne while pregnant, pick up some useful skin care tips, and discover which acne treatments are best to avoid.

What's in this article:

What Causes Acne During Pregnancy? What Can I Do to Help Prevent or Treat Acne During Pregnancy? Are There Any Acne Treatments I Should Avoid?

What Causes Acne During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy hormones could be the culprits behind acne during pregnancy. When these hormones kick in, too much oil (sebum) in the skin may be produced, leading to clogged pores and blemishes. You might notice more acne during early pregnancy, because this is when many pregnancy hormones go into overdrive. Many moms-to-be get acne while they’re pregnant, even if they had clear skin beforehand, whereas some women notice that their acne gets worse during pregnancy.

The acne you may be getting during pregnancy is simply normal acne; it’s another one of those changes that can happen to your skin (like stretch marks or itchy skin) that are a part of pregnancy for some women.

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What Can I Do to Help Prevent or Treat Acne During Pregnancy?

Here are some easy ways to help prevent acne during pregnancy:

  • Gently wash your skin with a mild soap and water. You can do this twice a day, but be careful not to scrub too hard, as this can irritate the skin. For more on this, read up on skin care that works.
  • Shampoo. If your acne appears around your hairline, or if you have oily hair, wash your hair with shampoo every day.
  • Choose oil-free skincare products. Go for non-greasy cosmetics, sunscreens, and hairstyling products.
  • Keep your hair off your face.

Always check with your doctor or dermatologist first, but over-the-counter products containing topical benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, topical salicylic acid, and glycolic acid may be OK to use during pregnancy.

Are There Any Acne Treatments I Should Avoid?

Experts recommend these acne medications be avoided during pregnancy because they can increase the risk of birth defects or other medical issues for your baby:

  • Oral isotretinoin (such as Amnesteem, Claravis)
  • Topical retinoids (these are in the same drug family as isotretinoin and are also a form of vitamin A, but are applied to the skin)
  • Hormonal therapies (these block specific hormones)
  • Oral tetracyclines (this antibiotic can cause discoloration of the baby’s teeth if taken after month 4 of pregnancy and can affect the baby’s bone growth)

No matter what, read drug labels carefully, and check with your doctor before taking any acne medications, or medications of any kind. Avoid squeezing or picking at your pimples, as this can cause infection and scarring, and avoid touching your face, as this can transfer oil and dirt to your skin.

Acne might be one of the annoying physical changes you may experience at some point during your pregnancy. Although it can be a little frustrating, keep in mind that by following a gentle, cleansing skin care regimen, and possibly even taking acne medication, your acne may clear up, and you can simply enjoy your pregnancy glow!

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