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
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.;
Removing Or Treating Acne
Trying to remove breakouts with your fingernails can cause dirt to pile into the zit, causing inflammation and infection. The best way to extract a zit is to leave it alone or to see a dermatologist or skincare specialist in order to remove the breakout with the appropriate sterilized tools to prevent irritating the skin and scarring.
Should you wish to forgo prescription medicine for pregnancy acne, there are natural ways to treat it at home. For example, according to Healthline, simple ingredients that can be found in the kitchen pantry can surely do the trick, such as using apple cider vinegar and water as a facial toner, baking soda for drying out spot breakouts, citrus fruits such as juicing limes or lemons on the skin can act as an exfoliant.
Healthy skin at any stage is usually related to what you put into your body. Pregnancy glow usually begins from the inside out, therefore nourishing your body with healthy, fruits and veggies and clean eating with less junk food and sugar will help relieve acne symptoms. Drinking lots of water and staying hydrated will help the skin look good and hydrated without looking dry and flaky. Healthy skin should be cleaned daily, moisturized with the right skincare for the skin-type in question, along with the right skin care treatments, that are pregnancy approved such as microdermabrasion and LPI laser treatments and spa facials.
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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.
How Do You Treat Pregnancy Acne
Following a healthy lifestyle is the best option to prevent pregnancy acne. You can try home remedies to reduce oil secretion from the sebaceous gland. First, you have to take care of your skin; wash your face regularly with good quality face wash.
A pregnant woman should follow some basic approaches to prevent pregnancy acne.
Make sure your pillowcases, hats, and towels are clean. Wash them regularly. Maintain overall health hygiene.
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What Causes Acne During Pregnancy
Hormones, hormones, hormones! Just like most side effects during pregnancy, acne or pimples is a result of increased hormone production in your pregnant body. In this instance, they cause glands in your skin to enlarge and boost the production of sebum.
Together with dead skin cells, your pores become blocked and provide a neat little party pad for bacteria. Acne can vary in severity for each woman and may just be an early pregnancy thing, or may persist throughout your pregnancy.
Acne during pregnancy is very unpredictable some women who have battled acne before becoming pregnant may find that their acne improves, and others who have never had acne find that they have the most problems. So it all boils down to looking after yourself if you happen to get it.
Pregnancy Acne: Unsafe Treatments
Isotretinoin is an oral medication that has revolutionized the way severe acne is treated. But it’s especially dangerous when youâre pregnant. That’s because the drug can cause serious birth defects.
Any patient who takes isotretinoin, as well as any doctor who prescribes it, pharmacy that dispenses it, and wholesaler who distributes it, must enroll in a special program that’s part of a risk-management program to prevent pregnancy and birth defects.
Because the risks are so high, women of childbearing age who take the drug need to be on two forms of birth control starting at least 1 month before they begin treatment. They also need to stay on two forms of birth control for at least 1 month after treatment ends. Also, women must have pregnancy tests before, during, and after treatment.
Other prescription acne treatments that can cause birth defects include:
For the same reasons, some experts also recommend against using topical treatments containing salicylic acid. This is an ingredient found in many over-the-counter products.
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Make Sure Your Skincare Is Not Part Of The Problem
Skincare really matters. ;Many women embark on the journey to motherhood understandably wanting to be as chemical free as possible. ;This means they eliminate their good ole Cetaphil moisturizer and purchase natural products that contain oils, waxes, or shea butter. ;Unfortunately, these ingredients are often pore clogging and can cause or worsen breakouts. When choosing cleansers and moisturizers, be careful to select non-comedogenic and oil free products.
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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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 .;
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.;
All that extra sebum can clog up pores and cause bacteria to build up, leading to breakouts.
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Causes And Prevention Of Pregnancy Acne
Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States, and affects up to 50 million people, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Acne symptoms occur when the body produces too much sebum, or oil, which then becomes clogged within pores with dead skin cells to form a bacteria called P. acnes. The condition of acne can be triggered by a number of things, including genetics, stress, and namely, hormones, which is most often the culprit when it comes to pimples during pregnancy.;
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.
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Does Pregnancy Cause Acne
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?
Yes Pregnancy Can Cause Acne But There Are Safe Ways To Treat It
- Pregnancy can cause acne due to an increase in androgen hormones that lasts throughout pregnancy.
- Pregnant women are more at risk of developing acne if they have a history of acne prior to pregnancy.
- Pregnancy acne will likely become worse in the third trimester when androgen levels increase even more.
- Safe acne treatments include sulfur-based washes, certain antibiotics, and azelaic acid.
- This article was medically reviewed by Karen Duncan, MD, who is an assistant professor with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone.
That coveted “pregnancy glow” may just be oily skin or a sign of an impending breakout. There’s no one culprit to blame for what causes acne during pregnancy, but dermatologists think that part of it has a lot to do with the same reason teenagers breakout: hormones. In particular, a type of hormone called androgens.
“Androgen hormones produced during adolescence drive oil productions, which creates a hospitable environment for the acne-causing bacteria to overgrow,” Caren Campbell, a dermatologist in San Francisco, says.
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Dont Use Acne Medications
Most acne medications including retinoids, oral isotretinoin, spironolactone, oral tetracyclines , and combination birth control pillsare off the table if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Certain drugs used to treat acne may cause serious birth defects.
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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Get In With A Dermatologist Sooner Rather Than Later
If you are suffering from pregnancy acne, your dermatologist should be your best friend. First of all, there are forms of folliculitis that can mimic acne. ;Early diagnosis and proper management can save a lot of frustration. Also, dermatologists offer face saving extractions, cortisone injections, and if necessary, pregnancy safe prescriptions and procedures to help your acne.
An extraction procedure is a medical grade facial, where a dermatologist uses a sterile tool called a comedone extractor to remove clogged pores. ;Since clogged pores turn into pimples, it is beneficial to eliminate them!
Cystic pimples begin underground, can be painful, and often leave marks behind. ;Fortunately, a tiny dose of liquid cortisone can be injected into cysts to decrease the inflammation and shrink them quickly. ;Cortisone shots contain a minute amount of dilute cortisone. Since there is very limited systemic absorption, it is considered a safe option throughout pregnancy and while nursing.
Other pregnancy safe procedures include blue light facials, microdermabrasion, and glycolic acid peels. ;If prescriptions are necessary, there are options such as topical and oral antibiotics as well as prescription strength azelaic acid.
Pregnancy acne is unavoidable for some women. ;However, it can be treated and improved safely by optimizing skin care, incorporating alpha hydroxy acids, and working with a trusted dermatologist in New York. To learn more,;contact us;at;Spring Street Dermatology.
Advice From Bellybellys Naturopath For Pregnancy Acne
Nicole Tracy, BellyBellys Naturopath from Nurtured by Nature has this to say about pregnancy acne:
Acne can be a very frustrating side-effect of early pregnancy, even though it is generally a good sign that hormone levels are shifting in the right direction. Often low zinc levels are an underlying cause of acne, and low zinc can also slow the healing processes of your skin. The placenta is the highest source of zinc in the human body, so it is common for a womans reserves to be diverted to where they are most needed. For this reason, it is important to supplement women with zinc during pregnancy to ensure adequate reserves.
She continues, There are a few key signs that your naturopath can check, and often a zinc taste test is undertaken to identify a deficiency. A serum zinc test can also be conducted through your naturopath, GP, obstetrician or midwife. Vitamin C is also important to strengthen the immune system and prevent acne from getting infected, and drinking plenty of purified water is crucial for flushing out toxins.
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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.
What Products Arent Safe For Pregnancy Acne
Many of the creams and meds that are typically used to zap zits contain ingredients that could potentially harm your growing baby, so youll want to steer clear. Acne products to avoid during pregnancy include:
- Retinoids. Serious breakouts in adults are sometimes tackled with such strong-arm products as Retin-A and other topical retinoids . All of these are completely off-limits until after you deliver and wean, since they can be absorbed through the skin into your breast milk and your and your babys bloodstream.
- Doxycycline and minocycline.;These are another definite no-no, since their use during pregnancy can negatively affect your baby. In fact, its best to avoid virtually all oral acne medication during pregnancy .
- Oral isotretinoin. It poses the risk for birth defects, premature birth or miscarriage.;
Topical salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, two chemicals found in a huge range of skin care and drugstore products, are generally okay to use in small amounts during pregnancy, according to American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as well as the American Academy of Dermatology .
However, not all experts consider them safe for expecting women. If youre considering using a product containing one of these ingredients, talk with your doctor first.;;
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