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What Can Pregnant Women Use For Acne

How To Get Rid Of Pregnancy Acne

Acne & Dermatology : Treating Acne During Pregnancy

Is acne a sign of pregnancy? | Acne during pregnancy | Pregnancy-safe treatments | When to see a doctor

Everybody knows the sinking feeling of discovering a zit, or pimple, at just the wrong moment. Acnethe bumps that occur when your follicles become clogged with dead skin cells, oil, or bacteriacan be a real stressor, especially in your teen years, when its most common. But imagine getting it when youre expecting, when your body is supposed to be glowing. Its unfortunate, but pregnancy acne is a pretty common side effect of having a baby.

Do You Break Out More When Pregnant With A Boy Or Girl

The gender of your child is irrelevant when it comes to pregnancy breakouts. No scientific evidence shows more or less when youre pregnant with a boy or girldespite any superstitions to the contrary. The hormone changes producing acne happens with pregnancy in general.

That being said, if youre pregnant with multiple children, you have a higher hormone loadwhich means you are a bit more likely to get pregnancy acne than if you were having a single pregnancy.

Is It Safe To Use Benzoyl Peroxide During Pregnancy

Unlike certain skincare ingredients , benzoyl peroxide is safe to use throughout your pregnancy. Benzoyl peroxide is considered generally considered to be safe to use in pregnancy by the FDA, says Corey L. Hartman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Birmingham, AL. The federal agency’s pregnancy risk categories measure the risks and side effects associated with taking or using a given ingredient during pregnancy, determining how to weigh the risks versus potential benefits for both mother and baby.

Since absorption of benzoyl peroxide into the bloodstream is limited, there is little risk to the fetus however, further research needs to be conducted to know for sure. “The difficult part about deeming products safe or not in pregnancy is that there are no clinical trials regarding the use of many acne treatments in pregnant patients,” Dr. Fahs notes. “The safety data we use is extrapolated based on evidence we have from observational studies with small sample sizes.”

Given the limited research on the use of benzoyl peroxide during pregnancy, it’s always smart to consult your obstetrician and your dermatologist before applying it.

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Enhancing Your Pregnancy Glow

There’s a lot of talk about the “glowing” complexion that comes with pregnancy. Whether you’re experiencing your best skin ever or you’re still searching for your glow, glycolic acid can help.

Through the exfoliation of dead skin cells, the AHA can get rid of dullness and roughness. The result can be brighter, more healthy-looking skin.

How To Tackle Acne During Pregnancy

Pregnancy Topical Acne. Topical Acne Treatments

We all know the stereotype of the radiant expectant mother, with her glowing, picture-perfect, clear skin, but the reality of unpredictable pregnancy hormones can be somewhat different.

For women affected by adult acne, not knowing how their skin will react – or how to keep it under control without many of the most commonly prescribed treatments – may be a concern during pregnancy or when planning to conceive. But there are a number of safe options to keep acne at bay while you’re pregnant.

Reviewed byDr Sarah Jarvis MBE
15-Mar-19·4 mins read

According to dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto of the British Association of Dermatologists : “Acne during pregnancy is surprisingly common and, for many, tends to occur during the first and possibly second trimester.”

It’s triggered by surges of the hormone progesterone, which increases oil production, and she adds: “Dermatologists have noted that pregnant women with acne may be more self-conscious of the change in appearance pregnancy can bring.”

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How To Treat Pregnancy Acne

Some women will manage their pregnancy acne by following the pregnancy tips above. If the acne is severe, your doctor might recommend trying prescription acne medications or other topical acne treatments.

These awesome of the acne medications for pregnant women:

  • Cefadroxil is an oral medication used to assist in clearing stubborn acne it has no reported connection with birth defects
  • Azelaic acid is safe in pregnancy with no reported cases of birth defects
  • Benzoyl peroxide appears to be safe for pregnant women to use in limited amounts it is found in most over the counter acne treatments.

Find out more about this in the article Management Of Severe Acne During Pregnancy.

I Didn’t Think Anything Would Fix My Pregnancy Acne

Willie B. Thomas / Getty Images

The timing of writing this story was a bit weird, considering no one knew I was pregnant at the time. Family and friends knew, but there was no Instagram announcement or public broadcast of any kind. The reason I chose to out myself, I guess, was because suddenly I understood how much it sucked to deal with pregnancy-related acne, and I wanted to help. Before my experience, I was blissfully unaware that every effective spot-busting ingredient I have relied on in the past would be off the table .There isn’t a lot of data on how these ingredients affect a developing fetus. However, one thing doctors know for sure is any products derived from vitamin A, including retinoids and retinol, are unsafe to use during pregnancy. This also technically includes salicylic acid, even though I had one doctor tell me it was perfectly fine to use in concentrations of less than 2 percent. While another shook her head and said: “If you want to test it out, that’s your prerogative, but I do not recommend it.”

I knew tea tree oil did zip for me as a spot treatment, and AHAs were much the same. Go-To’s lactic acid-infused Exfoliating Swipeys worked well as a preventative breakout measure, but what I was really searching for was something to kill an unwanted eruption overnight.

Keep scrolling to see what zit zapper I rediscovered.

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Pregnancy Acne On Bump

As your bump grows, you might notice some pimples that werent there before.

This could be down to any creams, lotions or oils you may be using on your bump as a way to support the skin as it stretches.

If youre not used to moisturising the skin on your stomach regularly, your pores may become blocked as a result.

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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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.

Where Is Pregnancy Acne Located

Most commonly, pregnancy acne occurs on your chin, jawline, hairline, neck, chest, and back. But it can appear anywhere on your body depending on the severity.

Hormonal acne is usually on the jawline, Dr. Skotnicki says. Often in women that arent pregnant, its cyclical. Theyll get cystic acne on their chin and jawline right before their period or during their period. Pregnancy acne is very similar. In cases that are very bad, they can have it all over.

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Laser Treatments And Light Therapies

Your dermatologist may also suggest undergoing a laser treatment to treat acne. This type of therapy are considered relatively safe for expectant moms and can be less painful than a pricking session. If you are considering laser treatments, it is best to consult your dermatologist first. A lot of laser treatments require numbing solutions or topical anesthesia, which may affect your unborn baby.

Safety Precautions Of Using Glycolic Acid While Pregnant


While glycolic acid is considered safe to use during pregnancy, there are still some unknowns. So it’s best to err on the side of caution and take certain precautions to ensure the utmost safety.

“It’s best to stick to lower concentrations, typically 7% or less, during pregnancy,” Dr. Luber says. No studies have tested the effects of using higher concentrations of glycolic acid during pregnancy, but studies have shown detrimental effects on rat fetuses when exposed to high doses of the AHA.

To ensure that you’re using a 7% or less concentration, look on the label of your glycolic acid products. This won’t severely limit your options, as most over-the-counter glycolic acid skincare uses a low concentration. It does, however, mean that you will not be able to have any in-office glycolic acid peels during your pregnancy, as these contain a much higher concentration of the acid.

If you are ever unsure whether you can use a specific product or treatment, run it by your healthcare provider first.

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Why Acne During Pregnancy Is Common And How To Get Rid Of It

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  • Why Acne During Pregnancy Is Common and How to Get Rid of It

Everyone talks about the glow that comes with pregnancy but for many, the increase in oil secretion can cause breakouts, even in women who havent had acne for years. Theres no culprit that we can blame for acne during pregnancy, but dermatologists project that these breakouts are caused by the same thing that causes them during teenage years: hormones. Specifically, a hormone called androgens. If you are breaking out during your pregnancy, heres what you may want to know about how long it will last, why it happens, and how to safely treat it.

What Acne Products And Ingredients Should Pregnant Women Avoid

Pregnant women should avoid taking isotretinoin and other retinoids, anti-androgen medications and oral tetracyclines . Isotretinoin has been proven to increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and birth defects, including cleft palate, congenital heart defects, hydrocephalus and microcephaly. Oral retinoids have been classified by the US Food & Drug Administration as pregnancy category X, which means the drugs have been associated with fetal abnormalities or positive evidence of human fetal risk.

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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.

How We Made Our Picks For The Best Acne Treatments For Pregnancy

How to Treat Baby Acne- Pregnancy & Parenting- ModernMom

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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What About Prescription Options

If your acne becomes severe during pregnancy, you do have a few prescription options, according to Dr. Hirsch.

We use topical azelaic acid in pregnancy, she says, and certain antibiotics .

You can also find azelaic acid in non-prescription products, and its a great ingredient if youre dealing with bumpy skin caused by clogged, non-infected pores.

Does Getting Acne During Pregnancy Mean Youll Have A Boy Or A Girl

Theres an old wives tale about pregnancy acne and what it means for the sex of your baby. According to the tale, if you have pregnancy acne, youre more likely to be pregnant with a baby girl because the baby girls hormones combined with your own are more likely to cause acne during pregnancy.

In reality, there seems to be little truth to this tale. As the pregnant woman, your hormonesnot the babysdictate what types of pregnancy symptoms you may experience, including acne.

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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.

How Pregnancy Affects Acne

Are Acne Medications Safe To Use During Pregnancy?

When it comes to how pregnancy will impact on your skin, the sad truth is that it really depends.

“Pregnancy can have a dual effect, depending on your skin type and your hormone levels during pregnancy,” Rai explains. “Hormones definitely have an effect on your skin and your hair – often pregnant women do notice a glow and an improvement in their hair – so hormonal influences definitely exist in pregnancy, but it depends on your balance of hormones, which is an individual thing.”

It all boils down to the balance between oestrogen and progesterone, which changes cyclically at different phases throughout your pregnancy.

“Some women are more sensitive to that balance, so everyone responds differently,” Rai says. “For the majority of women, especially if their acne is mild, I do tend to see it improve during pregnancy, but some people’s acne does get worse. There’s certainly no guarantee, so don’t get pregnant just to improve your skin!”

How to tackle acne during pregnancy

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When To See A Provider

Realistically, you dont need to see a healthcare provider at all for pregnancy acne. The blemishes may be uncomfortable but, Skotnicki says, its not harmful to your health or to the viability of your pregnancy. That being said, if severe acne becomes unbearable or it begins to scar, it might be worth speaking to your primary healthcare provider or dermatologist. If you have nodules or cysts or acne in more than 50% of your face, back, or chest, you should seek medical expertise.

What Is Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is a type of AHA, meaning it’s a chemical compound that removes the top layers of dead skin cells. It’s derived from sugar cane and offers various benefits to skin, but it’s different from other AHAs, like lactic and citric acid.

“What really makes glycolic acid special is that it has the smallest molecular structure of any AHA,” explains Adam Luber, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Scottsdale, Ariz. “So, it’s low molecular weight allows it to penetrate the skin easily and exfoliate the skin more deeply than any other AHA.”

Although it’s known mostly as an exfoliator, glycolic acid boasts a wide variety of benefits and uses. “The acid in its many forms is used in treatments for wrinkles, pigmentation, acne, rough skin, razor bumps, and keratosis pilaris,” Dr. Zalka notes. As an anti-acne agent, glycolic acid keeps pores clear and prevents blackheads by exfoliating dead skin cells and promoting cell turnover.

When you slough off the top layers of skin, it can also result in anti-aging benefits. You may experience smoother fine lines, as well as an improved tone and texture. You can find glycolic acid in many forms, including cleansers, serums, and at-home treatments. The AHA is also popular as a high-concentration peel at dermatologists’ offices.

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