As you ride the hormonal roller coaster of pregnancy, your skin goes along for the journey. Discover risk-free treatments for pregnancy acne and how to address this issue healthily.
For some fortunate individuals, pregnancy delivers a superior beauty therapy for the skin than anything available in a bottle. Yet, many women forgo the “pregnancy glow” and struggle with skin conditions such as acne. Here is all you need to know about pregnant acne, including its causes and safe treatment options.
What Causes Acne When Pregnant?
The basic science behind how a pimple forms: The oil glands of the skin secrete sebum (oil) into pores, and if the sebum is sticky and thick enough, it collects dead skin cells and dirt, clogging pores. These plugs provide a veritable feast and the ideal hiding place for Propionibacterium acnes germs, which subsequently proliferate and cause the pimples you may see and feel.
First-trimester progesterone surges tend to increase oil production in pregnant women. In some cases, the oil is lighter and more moisturizing, resulting in the renowned pregnant glow. But if your body’s unique combination of pregnant hormones is particularly potent, you may have acne not seen since high school.
In addition to hormones, other factors can contribute to pregnancy acne. New York City dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., notes that pregnant women appear to be more overextended today, and stress is the kryptonite of clear skin.
In addition, many pregnant women had previously treated acne with estrogen-progestin birth control tablets, which help cure the skin by balancing hormones and reducing levels of circulating androgens, according to New York City dermatologist Amy Wechsler, M.D. But, after you stop using the medication, acne may return.
The Best Pregnancy Acne Treatments
If your skin typically breaks out during your menstrual period, you may have the same symptoms throughout the first few months of pregnancy. This is only sometimes the case, however. Some pregnant women discover that their usual acne problems disappear during pregnancy, while others who have never experienced acne find that they develop during pregnancy.
If you are one of the pregnant individual who has just developed acne, consider the following treatments.
Do not overstock on products.
According to Dr. Nazarian, many acne sufferers overuse treatments, bombarding their skin with harsh formulas and dehydrating it to clean pores and dry up the oil. Caution: this method often results in increased inflammation and a weaker skin barrier that is more susceptible to irritation.
Develop a sensible daily regimen.
Steven Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., professor of dermatology at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, recommends starting with a few gentle over-the-counter medications to treat pregnant acne.
Remove any topical cleansers, cosmetics, or moisturizers from your shelves that include salicylic acid-based chemical exfoliants. Some over-the-counter topicals without salicylic acid, such as benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, and azelaic acid, are deemed safe for use in restricted quantities (to be sure, talk to your health care provider first).
Do not utilize acne treatments.
Most acne treatments, such as retinoids, oral isotretinoin, spironolactone, oral tetracyclines (a class of antibiotics), and combination birth control pills, are contraindicated during pregnancy and nursing. Some medications used to treat acne can cause significant birth defects if taken during pregnancy.
Oil-clogged pores cause most pregnant acne, so use mechanical exfoliants to keep them unclogged. These cosmetics may contain synthetic beads or powdered nutshells that exfoliate dead skin cells.
Everything you do, avoid popping.
Whiteheads, those pus-filled bumps that beg to be squeezed, are a common occurrence on the skin of adolescents. Dr. Nazarian explains that pregnant women commonly experience acne around the jawline, chin, and mouth, with pimples that are red and inflammatory rather than easily poppable. In addition, as you age, your skin heals more slowly, so a squeeze that causes a scab can take weeks to disappear.
Consult a dermatologist.
Dr. Nazarian recommends consulting a board-certified dermatologist if your acne does not improve after a few weeks of following a consistent program or if your acne is severe or extremely bothersome. Acne in adults is notoriously difficult to treat; what works for one expectant mother may not work for you, and a customized regimen can be effective.
And remember: zits are not embarrassing!
We are not suggesting that you should be proud of your acne, but there is no reason to hide. In fact, more and more celebrities and influencers are uploading Instagram photographs of their unfiltered zits or vividly colored pimple patches.
Dr. Nazarian explains that the ‘pimple-positive movement’ helps women recognize acne’s prevalence and that they shouldn’t feel awful about it. Isn’t it wonderful to be done with high school?
Meaningful articles you might like: Causes of Nosebleeds and Congestion During Pregnancy, 4 Possible Signs of Stretch Marks During Pregnancy, Managing Cramps and Swelling from Pregnancy Leg Pain