Acne During Pregnancy: What is It?
While some women can experience a decrease* in acne breakouts during pregnancy, many women suffer from increased acne breakouts. Pregnancy can also trigger a woman’s first bout of adult acne when she has never had a problem before. The leading cause of pregnancy acne is believed to be a hormone called androgen. These androgens encourage* the sebaceous glands in a woman’s skin to get bigger and increase* the production of sebum.
Know that you are not alone when suffering from pregnancy acne. Studies show that one out of every two pregnant women experience some form of pregnancy acne. Some cases are more severe than others. If you are in your second or third trimester and are concerned that you might develop acne, you have no reason to worry. You are very unlikely to develop it if you did not encounter it during your first trimester.
How to Deal with Acne During Pregnancy?
Because pregnancy acne is a natural condition, it will usually subside when the expecting mother’s hormone levels return to normal. Below are some smart ways to treat* your pregnancy acne.
- Use drug-free home remedies to help treat* the acne.
- Wash your face gently with a mild soap or acne cleanser twice a day.
- Avoid scrubbing your face too hard as it can irritate your skin and only worsen the problem. Use your hands instead.
- Do not rub your skin when drying it. Instead, pat your skin gently.
- Use an oil-free moisturizer after washing.
- Squeezing, rubbing, or popping your pimples will only aggravate the problem and leave scars, so avoid it.
Unsafe Treatments for Pregnancy Acne
If you are concerned about your pregnancy acne, do not attempt a prescription acne medication or over-the-counter chemical spot treatments. These can be unsafe for both you and your baby during your pregnancy. You should check with your doctor before starting any acne treatment, including drug-free home remedies. Bring in any items you plan to use in your acne treatment so your doctor can look them over.
It should be stressed here to void isotretinoin at all costs. While it is an excellent method for treating severe acne, it is very dangerous for pregnant women because it can affect the growing fetus and cause birth defects. The risks are so extreme that anyone involved with the drug must be enrolled in a special risk-management program. Women who are still of childbearing age have to be on two different types of birth control* at least a month before beginning isotretinoin. If your doctor prescribed this drug to you for your pregnancy acne, contact the American Board of Medical Specialties, and report him or her. Also, do not take the medication.
There are other prescription acne treatments that have been known to cause birth defects. Hormone therapies, including estrogen and anti-androgens, are known to cause birth defects. Oral tetracyclines like tetracycline, doxycycline, and minocycline are known to hinder bone growth. Topical retinoids like adapalene, tazarotene, and tretinoin are similar to isotretinoin and should be avoided as well. You should also consider avoiding salicylic acid as the effects on a fetus are still unknown.
With all the treatments to avoid, you might be thinking it is all but impossible to treat* your acne. This is not the case. There are other topical prescription products that you can use. These products contain azelaic acid. Over-the-counter products to consider should include those that contain benzoyl peroxide or glycolic acid. These medications are believed to have little risk on the growing baby. Again, consult your doctor before beginning any kind of acne treatment.
If you are more interested in drug-free home treatments for your pregnancy acne, try some of the tips for preventing acne as given below:
- Avoid washing your face more than twice a day and after sweating heavily. Cleaning your face too often can actually overstimulate your oil glands and only end up aggravating the problem further.
- When washing your face, use a cleaner that is gentle, non-abrasive, oil-free, and alcohol-free.
- Change the washcloth you use to wash your face every time you wash, or use disposable cotton pads or a sonic cleansing system.
- Rinse your face with lukewarm water after washing. Gently pat your face dry, and apply a moisturizer.
- Women with oily skin should shampoo daily. Do not use hair products that are oily.
Find a spa or facialist that will see you to treat* your pregnancy acne. Be sure to let them know that you are pregnant. Some spas or facialists will have experience doing facials for pregnant women and will know what to avoid. Not all will however, so you would want to bring a list of the acne treatments you need to avoid. If the spa or facialist is unwilling to check the ingredients of products being used, check them yourself. It is always better* to be safe now than sorry later.