Wednesday, September 28, 2022

How To Treat Acne During Pregnancy

A Guide To Pregnancy Acne

ACNE DURING PREGNANCY | How to SAFELY treat

Having acne during pregnancy is extremely common. Women experience many hormonal changes during their lives but while they are pregnant, these changes can be drastic. Hormones control so much of what we feel and how we behave. We may not realize it, but what our hormones behave throughout our lives can dictate much of what our bodies do and are capable of. Lots of women experience acne during pregnancy, but this is nothing to worry about, as it is treatable. Lets take a look at pregnancy acne and how it can be treated.

Establish A Smart Daily Routine With Pregnancy

To clear pregnancy acne, start with a few gentle over-the-counter products, says Steven Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., professor of dermatology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Clear your shelves of any topical cleansers, makeup, or moisturizers that contain chemical exfoliants made with salicylic acid. Several over-the-counter topicals without salicylic acid, like benzoyl peroxide and glycolic and azelaic acid, are considered safe in limited amounts .

The Best Treatments For Pregnancy Acne

If your skin usually breaks out during your menstrual period, you’re likely to find the same thing happening during the early months of your pregnancy. But this isn’t always the case: some women find that their regular acne problems disappear during pregnancy, while others who were never troubled by pimples find that pregnancy brings them on.

If you’re one of the unlucky women with newfound blemishes, try the following treatment methods for pregnancy acne.

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What Causes Pregnancy Acne And How Can You Treat It

Pregnancy is one of the most special times in a womans life. But with pregnancy comes hormonal changes which can lead to or exacerbate certain health conditions. A very common condition experienced during pregnancy is acne. While acne can be treated effectively under normal circumstances, pregnant women should be cautious, as many chemicals present in widely-used acne treatments can be detrimental to the health of their unborn baby.

What is pregnancy acne, what causes it, and what can be done to prevent and treat it? Lets take a look:

Does Pregnancy Cause Acne

How to Treat Acne During Pregnancy: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

Yes. It is fairly natural to develop acne when you are pregnant. The severity of acne during pregnancy can either improve or get worse. In mild cases, medication might not be needed, but it will require medical attention if acne is severe. Throughout pregnancy, there is an increase in androgen , which results in causing acne. Also, if women have a prior history of developing acne, there is a high possibility of experiencing acne growth during pregnancy.

What causes acne during pregnancy?

Hormonal changes and fluctuations are the leading cause of acne during pregnancy, yet there are several other factors that can be attributed to this.

  • Overproduction of sebum is likely the cause for acne to occur during pregnancy. When the hormones, called androgens, cause the glands in your skin to expand and grow, it results in producing more sebum. This, in turn, blocks pores and leads to inflammation, bacteria growth, and breakouts.
  • If you experience a tremendous amount of stress, this might lead to an increase in your stress hormones, thus resulting in breakouts or aggravate the existing acne.
  • Throughout your pregnancy, the immune system changes. This can also be one of the factors for acne growth.
  • During pregnancy, fewer toxins are released as your body retains more water. These toxins get trapped in the pores and try to escape through your skin and sweat, resulting in acne.
  • Changes in diet can also cause pimples or acne to surface up on your skin.

Is acne a symptom of pregnancy?

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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

  • Topical retinoids

  • Hormonal therapies

  • Oral tetracyclines

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!

  • See all sources

What Not To Use

First up, it’s important to be clear on which acne treatments and medications are absolutely off the table during pregnancy and around conception.

“You must not use treatments such as retinoids , spironolactone, and certain antibiotics during pregnancy, due to a link with birth defects,” says Mahto.

Sadly, she adds: “It is more tricky to say what is safe to use, as researchers don’t carry out studies on pregnant women. Much of our data therefore comes from animal studies.”

As a result, Mahto says: “Most acne treatments during pregnancy should be thought of as ‘holding measures’. In an ideal world, if you suffer with troublesome acne it should be treated before conception if pregnancy is on your radar. Of course, this may not always be entirely possible!”

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Treating Acne During Pregnancy

Determining how to treat acne during pregnancy is challenging. Scientists do not include pregnant women in clinical trials of acne medications because of the risk to the fetus. Therefore, there is no direct evidence concerning the safety of most acne medications during pregnancy.

According to a 2016 article in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, “ost treatment recommendations are based on observational and animal studies.”3

Because there is little data available, women and their doctors need to set clear goals for acne treatment during pregnancy. Some researchers recommend aiming for symptom improvement rather than complete clearing of the skin during pregnancy.4

Despite the lack of research data, the FDA has established five risk categories for medications during pregnancy . While this system guides us in medication choices, the best approach is to discuss options with a doctor and tailor the treatment according to the phase of pregnancy or breastfeeding.4

What Is Pregnancy Acne

Acne & Dermatology : Treating Acne During Pregnancy

Acne is very common among pregnant women during the first and second trimesters. It is believed that almost half of all pregnant women will experience acne during pregnancy.

The major cause of pregnancy acne is the increase in hormone levels associated with pregnancy. The specific hormones responsible for acne during pregnancy are called androgens. These hormones play a role in the development of organs, certain neural functions and sexual differentiation of a fetus, among others. Androgens can cause skin glands to grow and produce an oily substance call sebum. Acne breakouts occur when sebum clogs the skins pores, leading to bacteria and inflammation.

Anyone can develop acne, but its especially common in women who are prone to breakouts during their menstrual cycle. Pregnancy acne will usually clear up once hormones have stabilised.

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Why Do Some Women Have A Pregnancy Glow

Some women are just fortunate enough to experience clear, beautiful skin throughout pregnancy. For those who experience the pregnancy glow, it is usually the cause of hormones and increased oxygen flow. According to the experts at Everyday Health pregnancy weight gain may also be the reason why pregnant women seem to ‘glow’. Fuller skin is plumper, and lines tend to look less prominent in a rounder face. Everyone’s skin reacts differently to pregnancy, so don’t be frustrated if your skin is breaking out or doesn’t look as clear as you’d like it to be.

Why Does Pregnancy Cause Acne In Some Women

Now that you know how common it is to develop acne during pregnancy, lets explore why it happens.

According to Dr. Ranella Hirsch, a board-certified dermatologist and former president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology, the culprit behind pregnancy-related breakouts isyou guessed ithormones.

is related to the increase in progesterone, which is a key hormone supporting the developing fetus, says Dr. Hirsch. Unfortunately, it also stimulates the production of sebum, which can lead to acne.

Dr. Hirsch also mentions that pregnancy acne isnt limited to hormonal blemishesyou can develop all types. It just depends on the person.

Also Check: How To Rid Of Acne Fast

Safe Treatments For Pregnancy Acne

Acne during pregnancy is a natural condition that usually resolves after childbirth. So, the safest course of action is good skincare. But, severe cases may need medical attention. Read below to know about some safe treatments for acne. Some experts recommend prescription medicines containing erythromycin or azelaic acid. Other options include over-the-counter products that contain benzoyl peroxide or glycolic acid. These medications are believed to be safe during pregnancy and do not pose an increased risk of birth defects. However, make sure never to self-medicate without first discussing with your doctor.

If you do not want to take medicines for pregnancy acne, you may try the natural remedies given below.

Use The Right Topical Actives

How to Treat Acne During Pregnancy

When asked which ingredients to say no to during pregnancy, Greenfield recommends avoiding retinoids at all costs. Why? According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, retinol is part of the isotretinoin family, which is synthetic vitamin A, and may cause birth defects. Additionally, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acidwhich are acne product heavy-hittersshould be limited, but check with your doctor first as they may be safe to use in small amounts. Using products that are safe for pregnancy yet effective enough to cleanse your sebaceous glands of built-up sebum can go a long way in preventing acne breakouts,” Greenfield suggests. “Ingredients such as lactic acid and sulfur are both safe and efficacious. They combat oil buildup and gently cleanse the skin.”

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What Causes Pregnancy Acne

Its not guaranteed that your face will break out during pregnancy, but theres a good chance that zits or splotches will strike even if youve never been plagued by pimples before.

The breakouts, which tend to hit sometime around week 6 of pregnancy, have to do with hormone surges, of course. Specifically, progesterone causes your glands secrete more oil, called sebum.

All that extra sebum can clog up pores and cause bacteria to build up, leading to breakouts.

How To Reincorporate Retinoids Post

We recommend working with your doctor on how to add back retinoids to your routine post-pregnancy. According to Dr. Paik, you can start retinoids immediately post-pregnancy although with a newborn on your hands this may not be a top priority! My only precaution with using tretinoin once you have a baby is to avoid transferring the medication directly from your face onto your babys delicate skin.While there may be a slight chance for purging when reincorporating them back into your routine, re-introducing it slowly can help. Start by using it 2 or 3 times a week to start, and slowly increase frequency to help minimize potential sensitivity and irritation. Our dermatologists have some great tips to help prevent the retinoid uglies.

Overall, treating acne during pregnancy can be tricky, but there are some great options that can help keep your acne under control. Your skin can change a lot during this time, so we always recommend consulting with your dermatologist to create a treatment plan thats safe for you.

Also Check: How To Reduce Cystic Acne

Try Blue Light Therapy

If you already have pimple-causing bacteria inside of your pores, blue light therapy can banish bacteria, and the inflammation that comes with it. “Blue light therapy is safe and works as an antibacterial treatment to combat P. Acnes living and causing inflammation in the sweat glands,” says Greenfield.

What Can I Do To Help Prevent Or Treat Acne During Pregnancy

Treating Acne Safely During Pregnancy, Safe Pregnancy Skin Care

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.

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Acne Medications To Avoid

There are some prescription medications that should be avoided during pregnancy. These are medications that can cause pregnancy complications or increase the risk of the baby developing a congenital disability. Some of the treatments to avoid include hormonal therapy, oral tetracyclines, isotretinoin, and topical retinoids. It is very important to talk to your doctor about medications that you can use safely to treat acne during your pregnancy. It may be difficult to completely eliminate severe nodular acne but it is not impossible.

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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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.

Home Remedies To Treat Acne

How to Treat Acne During Pregnancy

There are some home remedies that can be very helpful for treating acne during pregnancy. Many women have a high risk of experiencing zinc deficiency during pregnancy. A zinc deficiency can cause reduced immune function, hair loss, diarrhea, and skin lesions. Research has found that high zinc levels result in less severe acne. Eating foods that are rich in zinc can help to treat acne. Some of these foods include beans, yogurt, nuts and seeds, shellfish, and meat. Eating foods rich in Vitamin A can also help in acne treatment. Some food sources for Vitamin A include eggs, chicken, fish, certain fruits and vegetables, and fortified dairy products.

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When Is Pregnancy Acne Most Common

Acne may arise at any point during pregnancy since androgen levels and the resulting increased oil production increase early on in pregnancy. Androgen levels are particularly high during your third trimester so expect that if you are dealing with pregnancy acne that it will be especially bad during this period. Androgens actually help get the cervix ready for labor which is why they increase as you near full term.

The severity of pregnancy acne will vary from person to person. It is, however, more common among women who had acne before becoming pregnant. While having a previous history of acne is the strongest risk factor for pregnancy acne, the underlying causes of acne flare-ups during pregnancy have not been definitively determined.

There are other risk factors besides the increase in androgens that can make you a likely target for pregnancy acne. The immune system plays a part in fighting off acne and during pregnancy, a womans immune system is constantly changing and somewhat suppressed. Additionally, the stress that often accompanies pregnancy can increase levels of stress hormones and trigger breakouts or worsen existing acne.

Medication Or Natural Remedies

The acne treatments available work by controlling the production of sebum and clearing the clogged pores. You can choose to use natural remedies or medication to treat pregnancy acne. There are many acne products that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. These ingredients kill acne-causing bacteria and they clear the pores of dead skin cells and oil. Pregnant women can use products that contain these ingredients quite safely. It is, however, important to know that the ingredients can cause skin peeling, dryness, and irritation.

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