Acne During Pregnancy: Causes And Natural Ways To Prevent Them

Acne During Pregnancy

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Those blisters will not go. Yes, when you are pregnant your acne will only worsen. You could have acne during pregnancy due to the changes in the body, including fluctuations in hormonal levels.

The overworked hormones can lead to an acne breakout, especially if you had experienced the problem before you were pregnant. In some cases, acne can become severe during pregnancy.

MomJunction tells you about acne when you are carrying a baby, what you can do to get relief from them and then what you should not do to get relief.

What Causes Acne During Pregnancy:

In the first trimester, your hormone levels go through an upheaval. As the levels of your hormones increase, your body secretes more oil than usual. As a result, you suffer from acne outbursts.

Here are some of the most common causes that lead to acne in pregnancy:

1. Hormonal imbalance:

The biggest reason for acne outburst while you are pregnant is shifting of the hormonal levels. During the start of your first trimester, i.e. around the sixth week of your pregnancy, your hormone levels hit an all-time high.

Progesterone is the main hormone. It makes your glands produce more natural oil or sebum, which causes the acne breakout. The excess oil that your glands produce at this time block the pores of your skin. As a result, bacteria build up in the pores and result in infection, leading to acne breakout.

[ Read: Hormone Changes During Pregnancy ]

2. Fluid retention:

While you are pregnant, your body will begin to retain fluids. All the additional fluid that your body will retain will contain toxins, which can lead to an acne breakout.

3. Prone to acne breakouts:

If your skin is predisposed to acne, you are most likely to suffer from acne breakouts in pregnancy. Also, if you have always had acne just before the start of your menstrual period, you are more likely to experience that when you are pregnant.

In case you do not suffer from acne during early pregnancy, you will most likely not get any acne breakouts during the latter part of your pregnancy as well (1).

Acne is painful both in its feel and look. Added to the other pregnancy woes, acne could make you feel depressed. But before you opt for treatment, you would want to make sure that it is safe.

[ Read: Common Skin Problems During Pregnancy ]

Is Acne Treatment Safe During Pregnancy?

Acne is not a serious health or medical condition, but simply a cosmetic condition that will disappear once your hormone levels even out. One of the best things you can do about your pregnancy acne flare-ups is nothing. You may want to try some presumably safe over-the-counter medicines that promise to work on your acne and remove the spots, but these are not safe to use when you are pregnant. Even if the medication states that it is safe for you, it is good to avoid it certain ingredients in the medicine may have a negative impact.

But do not get disheartened as you need not have to live with the acne for nine months. Take some care and that will act as a natural remedy for acne.

Natural Ways To Deal With Acne During Pregnancy:

Acne is not worrisome, apart from the fact that it may mark your appearance. You can deal with it by taking the below-mentioned measures:

1. Keep your skin clean:

The best way to prevent acne when you are pregnant or otherwise is by keeping the skin as clean as you can.

Use a mild and soap-free cleanser twice in a day to wash your face. You can wash your face once in the morning after you have woken up and then at night before you go to bed. Wash your face properly with the cleanser and rinse off any residual soap. Pat dry gently but do not rub your skin.

Also take care to wash and clean the area near your hairline and your jawline, as these are the two areas where pores get clogged the most.

Oily and greasy hair can also cause an acne breakout. Therefore, use a good shampoo to wash your hair. To avoid any residual oils from touching your skin, change and wash your pillow cases, towels and any scarves or hats that you use regularly.

2. Do not poke:

While you may want to wash and scrub your acne to make them go away, doing so will only worsen the situation.

When you are pregnant, your skin becomes extra sensitive, and even the slightest rubbing and scrubbing can cause an injury. Regular scrubbing also strips the natural layer of moisture. When your skin loses its natural moisture, it will send out a signal to your oil glands to produce more oils to make up for the lost moisture. As a result, the oil glands in your body will start producing more oils, which can further clog your skin and lead to acne breakouts.

If you try to squeeze your pimples or prick them, it can make your breakouts stubborn and lead to permanent scarring and spots.

3. Keep your skin moisturized:

This advice may not sound sensible but it helps because moisturizing your skin is one of the safest acne treatments when pregnant. It is important to keep your skin properly moisturized if you want to avoid acne breakouts. Use an oil free moisturizer formulated for acne prone skin. It will reduce the irritation that often accompanies with acne.

Using the right moisturizer will also help you to keep your skin hydrated. Sometimes, when you wash your face frequently to avoid any oil clogging in the pores, it can tend to dry out your skin and make it harsh. As a result, your skin can become vulnerable to acne breakouts even when it is too dry. You have to strike a balance where your skin is neither too dry nor too oily.

4. Read the ingredients list:

Before you buy any product to use on your skin, read the labels and understand the ingredients.

Certain products are meant exclusively for those with acne prone skin. For instance, products that are labeled as oil-free, non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic are ideal for those with oily skin and scalp. Such products keep the skin and scalp oil free so that you do not have any breakouts.

[ Read: Best Acne Products For Pregnant ]

5. Avoid the sun:

Over-exposure to the sun not only increases the acne but also damages your skin. Being out in the sun for a long time increases the risk of skin cancer. It can also highlight the pigmentation and spots on your skin that are a common feature in pregnancy.

To avoid any harmful side effects when you are out in the sun, make sure you use a sunscreen (2) that has an SPF count of at least 15. Also, you need to make sure that the sunscreen you are using is made for oil and acne-prone skin.

6. Take healthy and balanced diet:

If you like to eat sweets or refined grains, reduce their intake or remove them from your food list altogether if you want to get rid of the pimples.

Instead of sugar, go for alternatives such as jaggery or honey that will give you the sweet taste, but not the harmful effects of sugar. And instead of having refined grains, switch to whole grains.

Also avoid fried or baked foods as they are loaded with unhealthy or saturated fats that make the skin vulnerable to pimples.

Include nuts such as walnuts and almonds, fresh fruits and vegetables from a variety of color combinations, so that you get the best of nutrients. Concentrate on fruits and vegetables that are green, yellow, orange and red in color.

Note: Before you make changes to your diet, talk to your doctor, and also eat everything in moderation.

7. Increase your vitamin A intake:

Vitamin A will help to keep your skin healthy and prevent the outbreak of acne.

While you do need a good amount of vitamin A during pregnancy, an excess of this vitamin can have an adverse effect on your unborn baby. To maintain a healthy balance of vitamin A in your body, get your dose from natural food sources of such as carrots, fish, milk, and eggs. And do not take vitamin A supplements unless your doctor has asked you to.

8. Stay hydrated:

Another best acne treatment is to drink a lot of water. It is extremely important to stay properly hydrated, especially since pregnant women get dehydrated easily. Dehydration makes the skin dry.

Make sure that you drink at least eight to ten glasses of water each day. You can also add some fresh fruit or vegetable juices, healthy smoothies, and milkshakes to your fluid intake.

If your acne persists in spite of the care you take, you might be tempted to get them treated. However, be aware of some treatments that could be harmful.

Acne Medicines And Treatments To Avoid During Pregnancy:

It’s difficult to figure out what acne medicine is safe during pregnancy, as each skin type is different. You need to be very careful about the medicines you ingest or even the skin lotion you apply, as your baby’s health could be at stake.

So, before you use medicines that claim to treat acne, speak to your doctor and get a confirmation about its safety. The following medications are generally avoided during pregnancy.

1. Isotretinoin:

One acne treatment that is extremely popular and effective is an oral medication known as isotretinoin. Here are a few reasons to avoid using isotretinoin when you are pregnant:

  • Isotretinoin can lead to various birth defects (3).
  • The effects of the drug are rather strong and it is compulsory that anyone who is linked to the medication in any way has to undertake a mandatory risk management program. It means that any doctor who prescribes the medication, any pharmacist who sells it, and any dispenser who distributes has to learn about the various ways in which they have to educate the users before they hand out the drug.
  • The risk factors associated with this drug are so high that any woman who is of childbearing age has to first start taking two types of birth control pills before taking medicine. It is also mandatory that the female has to take at least one form of the birth control pill at least one month before she starts to take the acne medication.
  • It is also important that before taking, during the course and after finishing the oral medication, women get a pregnancy test done.

2. Hormone therapy:

Hormone therapy involves various female hormones such as estrogen and anti-androgens such as spironolactone and flutamide. These chemicals can be dangerous for pregnant women.

3. Oral tetracyclines:

Oral tetracyclines include various antibiotics such as doxycycline and minocycline. All these oral medications can interfere with your unborn baby’s bones, and lead to tooth discoloration in your baby’s permanent teeth when they appear.

4. Topical retinoids:

Topical retinoids (4) permeate the layers of the skin and enter the bloodstream, coming in direct contact with your developing baby. The retinoids that you need to avoid when you are pregnant include tazarotene (Tazorac), adapalene (Differin) and tretinoin (Retin-A). All of the mentioned retinoids are as harmful as the isotretinoin oral medication and can have severe negative effects on your unborn baby.

5. Salicylic acid:

To be safe and make sure that there is no risk to your unborn baby, any pregnancy acne treatments that contain the ingredient salicylic acid.

This means that you do not have many treatment options for acne during pregnancy.

Acne Medications Safe During Pregnancy:

Drugs containing zinc sulfate, erythromycin, azelaic acid and clindamycin (5) are generally prescribed for use during pregnancy to treat acne. They are considered safe as they are meant for external use and need to be applied topically.

So consult your doctor and get a prescription before using acne medication during pregnancy, as this is a matter of safety for you and your growing baby. Do not self-medicate but take care of your skin. That will help you avoid or deal with acne.

Moms, did you too go through an acne breakout during pregnancy? Was it mild or severe? What treatments helped you and would you like to suggest any natural remedies for fellow mommies? Please leave your comments below.

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  • sona

    I had a bad break out during my pregnancy. Literally every day I would have a new breakout. I started using organic apple cider vinegar diluted it with water. About 3 times a week, put it on my face with a cotton ball, leave it for 10 minutes and rinse off. I follow this with a moisturizer, sweet almond oil. It has been working great for me.