Acne can occur or worsen during pregnancy, even in women who have not suffered from the condition previously.
Causes of Acne During Pregnancy
Acne that develops during pregnancy is no different from any kind of acne. It is not exactly clear why pregnant women sometimes experience acne, but changes in hormone levels are thought to play a role.
As hormone levels climb during the first trimester, the skin produces more oil, triggering breakouts. Acne is a common complaint for pregnant women and it is more likely to occur in women who experience breakouts during their menstrual cycle. However, even women who normally have clear skin can develop acne while pregnant.
Treating Acne During Pregnancy
When it comes to treating acne during pregnancy, the best place to start is with daily skin care.
- Don’t overdo. Wash your face twice a day, in the morning and at bedtime, using lukewarm water and a mild alcohol-free cleanser
- Start fresh. Use a clean washcloth each time you wash your face. Don’t reuse
- Hands off. Don’t pick or squeeze pimples since this can lead to infection and scarring
- Shampoo daily. Oily hair should be shampooed daily and pulled back off the face
- Think oil-free. Use water-based moisturizers and oil-free make-up products
Your body undergoes many changes during pregnancy, and although it can be tempting to treat acne vigorously, the health and safety of your baby should be your primary concern. Since some over-the-counter and prescription medications are dangerous to take during pregnancy, talk to your obstetrician about which acne product to use.
The following over-the-counter acne products have been deemed safe for use in pregnant women by the America College of Obstetrics and Gynecology:
- Topical benzoyl peroxide
- Azelaic acid
- Topical salicylic acid
- Glycolic acid
If you currently take a prescription acne medication, talk with your OBGYN about whether or not to continue it during pregnancy. The following acne medications should NOT be used during pregnancy…
- Hormone therapy
- Oral tetracyclines
- Topical retinoids