Is Acne A Sign Of Pregnancy
Although many women develop acne during pregnancy, its appearance does not necessarily indicate that a woman is pregnant.
Acne can develop as a result of fluctuating hormones. People may experience new breakouts during their periods. Medical conditions that affect hormone levels, such as PCOS and hyperthyroidism, may also contribute to acne.
Although many women experience skin changes during pregnancy, acne does not generally develop until the later phases of pregnancy.
According to the findings of a small
Women can develop acne before, during, and after pregnancy. Hormonal changes that occur after giving birth can trigger acne breakouts.
In some women, postpartum acne clears up on its own, but others may require treatment. The duration and severity of postpartum acne vary among individuals.
The treatments for postpartum acne are the same as those for acne during pregnancy. Women may still wish to avoid using prescription-strength ointments and pills while breastfeeding.
Oral contraceptives regulate the hormones, which may help control acne. A doctor can offer advice on starting an oral contraceptive after pregnancy.
Best Toner: Dickinsons Original Pore Perfecting Witch Hazel Toner
With no added fragrances, dyes, parabens or phthalates, this 100 percent natural toner is perfect for expectant moms whose skin might be more oily or sensitive than usual. It helps refine pores, removes excess oil, soothes irritation and maintains skins natural balance. It also wont dry out or strip skin like many other toners, Engelman says.
Buy it: Dickinsons Original Pore Perfecting Witch Hazel Toner, $4,
What Acne Treatment Should You Avoid During Pregnancy
Some skin care ingredients are potentially risky to baby and have been associated with birth defects, says Dr. Gaither. A few ingredients you should avoid include:
- Retinols and retinoids. Dr. Gaither advises moms-to-be to stop using both prescription retinoids and over-the-counter retinol products.
- Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. There’s some debate about whether these common acne-fighters are safe. Many doctors say you should avoid them, but the American Academy of Dermatology says they may be okay in small doses. To be safe, ask your doctor before using products with these ingredients.
It can be helpful to look for cleansers and spot treatments with these active ingredients, which are thought to be safe for pregnancy, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists :
- Azelaic acid
- Glycolic acid
Pro tip: At your next OB/GYN visit, bring a bag of your skincare products, says Dr. Gaither. Your doctor will be able to look over the list of ingredients and give you better advice than if you simply told her what products you were using.
There are still acne treatments out there that you can use during pregnancy. Just keep in mind that everyone’s skin is different if youve noticed a sudden change in your skin, your OB/GYN and dermatologist should be your first stop for a treatment plan and you should always consult them before trying a new product yourself.
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What Does Pregnancy Acne Look Like
Acne causes different types of skin lesion. These include:
- Comedones are lesions that develop when sebum becomes clogged inside hair follicles. Comedones can be open or closed .
- Papules refer to raised areas of skin tissue that can vary in shape, color, and size.
- Pustules are pus-filled bumps that develop when the walls of skin pores break down. They can have a red or pink base with a yellow or white head on top.
- Nodules develop when a skin lesion gets irritated and grows larger. Nodules can burrow deeper underneath the skin than papules or pustules. These lesions usually require medical treatment, such as an oral medication that contains vitamin A.
- Cysts refer to clogged pores that contain a combination of bacteria, sebum, and dead skin cells. Cysts can develop deep within the skin. Doctors can usually treat cysts with prescription medication, but large cysts may require surgical removal.
Be Aware That It Can Be Pricey
We know. This ones not actually a safety precaution, but wed be remiss not to mention that azelaic acid can get a little expensivebetween $50 and $100 to be exact. However, there are more affordable, albeit less potent, azelaic acid options out there such as Typologys Mattifying Serum 10% Azelaic Acid and The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% . If you want to just tip your toes into this ingredient trend, they may be the way to go to start.
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Pregnancy Safe Skincare From It Cosmetics
Pregnancy safe skincare can be super difficult and confusing. I have an entire guide devoted to what products are safe to use while pregnant including information on what ingredients to avoid while pregnant and a huge list of pregnancy safe skincare products. The list has gotten so large that Ive decided to start listing brands in their own individual posts.
Here youll find every pregnancy safe skincare product from It Cosmetics as of 11/14/2020. If it is not safe, Ill tell you why. All of the products meet my pregnancy safe criteria. If they release a new product that is not listed here, please comment below and I will add it. Note I will link to every product directly to avoid confusion. Youll know exactly which product I mean.
Dry Skin And Stretch Marks
Theres no doubt that pregnancy requires a lot from your body, so if your baby-to-be needs more water at any point, it will pull it from your body. That in addition to hormone changes can lead to dry skin.
In addition to drinking plenty of water, moisturizing products that have coconut oil, cocoa butter, peptides, and hyaluronic acid can improve hydration. And when it comes to stretch marks, one strategy to prevent them is frequently moisturizing prone zones to help the skin stretch naturally as your bump grow.
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Acne Products That Are Safe To Use While Pregnant Or Trying To Conceive
A few months ago, I casually walked into a medical spa for a quick skin analysis. I figured wed discuss whether peels or microdermabrasion would be best for my acne-prone skin. But when the aesthetician asked me about which medications I was on, I said none, out of habit. However, I casually mentioned my husband and I were starting intrauterine insemination in the next month on our quest to get pregnant. And before I could even rest my head on the table, the consultation came to an abrupt end.
I was surprised to learn that even though Im not pregnant yet, I needed to treat my skin like I am. That meant all of the medical-grade treatments and products I was looking forward to trying were off-limits.
Skin-care for pregnant women and those of us trying to conceive can be a fickle mistress. Your hormones might be completely thrown out of orbit after you go off the pill, which can result in oily skin and breakouts. Unfortunately, the treatments you normally turn to might not be pregnancy safe.
Luckily, dermatologists say there are safe skin-care options to try throughout your pregnancy journey. Heres a look at how to treat your skin when youre in full on baby-making mode.
Going off birth control can be both an exciting and confusing time. Even though youre excited to get that pink plus sign, it can take monthsand for some women, even a year or longer, to get a positive pregnancy result.
And pregnancy itself can lead to acne breakouts, too, so the fun just keeps going.
If You Learn You’re Pregnant While Taking Retin
If you’re on tretinoin and find out you’re pregnant, stop using it and let your healthcare provider know.
For some lucky women, skin looks better during pregnancy. For others, being pregnant makes acne all that much worse. If you fall into the latter category, you’ll probably want to continue using some type of acne treatment during these nine months.
Obviously, you need to be extra careful about which drugs you use while you’re pregnant, whether they are topical or oral. Your dermatologist can revise your treatment plan and may recommend some non-drug options for you to try.
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Top Skin Care Ingredients To Avoid In Pregnancy
Before we jump into our list, we must point out that evidence-based data on the safety of specific products in pregnancy is limited. In almost all cases, clinical trials on pregnant women that could even start to prove that certain ingredients are harmful are an ethical no-no.
But some animal, anecdotal, or case-specific studies have shown some serious fetal effects related to a few common skin care ingredients. Thats the basis for our recommendations.
The Food and Drug Administration requires cosmetic products to be safe based on their specific uses and labeling, but they dont need FDA approval to be sold on the market.
All of that brings big questions about what cosmetics are truly safe during pregnancy. On this basis, most experts err on the side of caution.
How We Made Our Picks For The Best Acne Treatments For Pregnancy
Searching for new skincare can be overwhelming, which is why we did the work for you. We first pulled products that met the safety standards established by the AAD and ACOG. From there, we conducted editorial research, focusing on popularity, innovation, design, quality, value and ease of use, with feedback from OB/GYN and other experts. We also had What to Expect staff and contributors road-test products at home, and sought help from real parents in the What to Expect community to provide insights on products that are effective at tackling acne, yet gentle on your skin during pregnancy.
Here are pregnancy-friendly acne products that will help you get rid of existing pimples, prevent new breakouts and erase dark spots to give you that bun-in-the-oven glow everyone keeps talking about.
See registry advice and a custom baby gear checklist
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Best Eye Cream: 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
While you may have to cut back on your coffee consumption while expecting, feel free to let your puffy, sleep-deprived eyes drink up the caffeine. The combo of caffeine-rich green tea and coffee in this 100% PURE eye cream works to naturally reduce under-eye puffiness and the appearance of dark circles. Its the perfect AM remedy for pregnancy-induced insomnia and a fab addition to your baby-safe skin care routine.
Buy it: 100% PURE Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream, $29, Dermstore.com
How To Check If Your Skin Care Products Are Safe
First, discuss the safety of your skin care products with your dermatologist and OB/GYN, especially if youre taking prescription medications or are concerned about a pre-existing skin condition.
Next, you can scan your products list of ingredients for any weve reviewed or others that may be concerning to you. A very credible resource for learning more about skin care and personal product ingredient safety is the Environmental Working Group .
Because personal care products arent heavily regulated, the EWG developed a database of over 87,000 personal care products, delivering a safety rating for each. The safety rating is generated by referencing each products ingredients with over 60 toxicity and regulatory databases.
You can reference the EWGs Skin Deep® database online or get the app . In the app, you can quickly scan a products bar code to get its safety rating.
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Why Does Acne Appear During Pregnancy
Two major factors are responsible for pregnancy acne. First, women go through extreme hormone changes during early pregnancy. A hormone called progesterone is responsible for helping create an ideal environment for a fetus, but it can also cause the glands in your skin to secrete more oil, which is called sebum. Since progesterone spikes during pregnancy, the excess sebum can clog your pores and lead to a buildup of bacteria2 primary causes of acne.
The second major contributor of pregnancy acne is your bodys tendency to retain more water when you become pregnant. Your body does this so that it can accommodate the growing fetus. But because your body is getting rid of less fluid, toxins that float around in your body are not being released as they normally would be. Instead, your body may try to rid itself of toxins through your sweat and your skin, causing toxins to build up in your pores. This buildup can lead to acne.
The Safer Acne Treatments During Pregnancy
While safer treatment options exist for pregnant women, you should always talk to your obstetrician or dermatologist before using products for your acne during pregnancy. Here are a few possibilities to consider:
- Azelaic acid is thought to be safe during pregnancy.
- Benzoyl peroxide, which can be found over the counter as an acne treatment, is safe to use in limited amounts.
- Topical clindamycin, a prescription antibiotic applied to the skin, is thought to be safe during pregnancy.
- Salicylic acid found in over-the-counter acne treatments can be safe for limited use
- Laser and light treatments are considered to be relatively safe in pregnancy, but it is recommended that you see a dermatologist before embarking on this treatment during pregnancy.
If you are suffering from acne during your pregnancy, SkinCare Physicians dermatologists can help to sort out your treatment options. Book a consultation online or call 617-731-1600.
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Best Facial Moisturizer: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel
Whether rollercoaster hormones have made your skin dry, oily or ultra-sensitive, its a good bet this hyaluronic acid-based, pregnancy-safe face moisturizer will be your pregnancy skin care hero. The acid, which is already naturally produced by our body, is a long-lasting moisturizing and anti-ageing superstar. This gel version by Neutrogena is oil-free, dye-free, non-comedogenic and especially loved by moms-to-be with oily skin because the gels formula feels less greasy than traditional moisturizers. Its also a stellar choice for those with sensitive or dry skin too.
Buy it: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream, $19,
How To Treat Acne Safely During Pregnancy
Several acne medications are dangerous for pregnant women because they can cause birth defects. So if you experience pregnancy acne and wish to treat it, always talk to your prenatal care provider first. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, pregnant women should always avoid these acne medications:
Isotretinoin . Isotretinoin is a powerful, vitamin A-based acne treatment that is known to cause a number of severe birth defects. Never take isotretinoin if you are pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or are trying to become pregnant.
Topical retinoids like tretinoin , adapalene , and tazarotene . These treatments belong to the same drug class as isotretinoin. Even though topical medications are applied to the skin, they can be absorbed into your bloodstream and then passed on to your baby.
Spironolactone . Spironolactone, a drug commonly used to treat acne and high blood pressure, is a hormone that could negatively affect a growing fetus. As a precaution, many healthcare providers recommend not to use it during pregnancy.
Tetracycline antibiotics like tetracycline, doxycycline, and minocycline. These antibiotics can cause permanent damage to the growing fetuss teeth and bones.
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Benefits Of Using Benzoyl Peroxide During Pregnancy
Benzoyl peroxide can be a helpful step in your skincare routine at any time, but it’s especially great for treating some of the issues that come up during pregnancy as your hormones rise.
“In pregnancy, sebaceous glands increase activity, leading to increased oiliness and oftentimes increased acne and breakouts,” Dr. Fahs says.”Benzoyl peroxide may be a helpful ingredient to reduce comedonal acne and decrease acne causing bacteria that contribute to breakouts.”
Benzoyl peroxide works particularly well for the treatment and prevention of inflammatory acne, like pustules and nodules. It’s also helpful for treating cystic acne, which is typically a hard bump below the skin’s surface. Benzoyl peroxide treats one of the major causes of cystic acne: P.acne bacteria.
How A Dermatologist Cleared Up Her Pregnancy Acne
Patients often say their acne is as frustrating as it is painful. I feel their pain! During my current pregnancy, I have been dealing with inflammatory acne nodules, which run deep below the skins surface. Larger and more painful than zits or blackheads, these hot, red nodules are more common during pregnancy. They also can leave post-inflammatory pigmentation behind.
Although masks can help cover up some of this acne, they also make things worse. This isnt a great look for a dermatologist part of my job is to help people keep their skin looking good, but even we can have problems with pregnancy acne and maskne!
In a recent study of women with acne, almost half of patients reported that appearance-related concerns negatively affected their social, professional, and personal lives. Many of them noted symptoms of depression, anxiety, and social isolation. Add these feelings to the other body changes in pregnancy and it can significantly affect your mental health.
But the good news is acne inpregnancy can be treated safely. Here are four tips to help clear up and prevent pregnancy-related acne breakouts.
1. Take a hands-off approach.
When acne first appears, our natural instinct is to:
- Pick, pop, or touch, which will only further clog the pore, damage the skin, and spread the outbreak.
- Try too many treatments, which can cause further skin irritation.
Related reading:Why we touch our faces so much and how to break the habit
2. Get a spot-on treatment.
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How Do I Treat Rosacea During Pregnancy
There are a variety of ways to control rosacea during pregnancy that do not involve the use of harmful medications. Some natural remedies may be implemented such as drinking plenty of water, and applying tea tree oil or moisturizing lotions to the skin. Occasionally prescription medications may be used in severe cases. Using certain food items, like cucumbers, may help reduce inflammation and redness.
If your condition is not severe or widespread, your doctor may recommend using natural therapies to treat your rosacea during pregnancy. Many medications commonly prescribed to treat the condition can be harmful to a developing fetus, especially in the first trimester when the organ systems are developing. Remedies you may try include drinking plenty of water to help your skin hydrate and regenerate itself, and applying over the counter lotions and creams which contain natural ingredients.
One common natural remedy for skin irritation is tea tree oil. It has naturally occurring anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that have been shown to help a wide range of skin conditions. When used externally, it is generally considered safe for the treatment of rosacea during pregnancy.