Keeping Clear Skin: How to Deal With Acne During Pregnancy

Acne during pregnancy is more common than one might think. Acne tends to flare up during pregnancy because of the body’s ever-changing hormones, as well as stress, diet and sleep problems. Controlling acne during pregnancy is different than during the teenage years. Using doctor-recommended or prescribed acne medications and natural methods to keep skin clear keeps both mother and baby safe.

What Causes Pregnancy Acne?

Pregnancy acne is caused by the same issues as normal acne: hormones and oils. Hormones go into overdrive during pregnancy and cause the production of pore-clogging oils that lead to breakouts. Pregnancy acne is no different from teenage acne, although a woman may breakout in different places than she did when she was younger.

How Can I Prevent Pregnancy Acne?

Preventing pregnancy acne is the best way to keep skin healthy and clear before and after the baby is born. Cleanse your face twice each day, once in the morning and again at night, with a mild, soap-free cleanser. Soap can dry the skin and lead to more breakouts. Apply an oil-free moisturizer after cleansing while the skin is damp. Do not use facial scrubs too often, as this can further irritate sensitive skin during pregnancy. Use a lightweight, oil-free tinted moisturizer or foundation with an SPF of at least 15 to protect skin during the day. Keep hair clean, as oily hair can cause acne flare ups, especially around the hairline and jaw. Drink plenty of water and stay away from refined sugar and sugary beverages, as this can lead to inflammation and breakouts. Keep pillowcases, towels and washcloths clean to reduce breakout-causing bacteria.

How Do I Treat Pregnancy Acne?

If pregnancy acne is an issue, it is important not to reach for the nearest over-the-counter acne medicine. Most over-the-counter products contain some form of beta-hydroxy acid and salicylic acid. These ingredients have not been tested in pregnant women and may be harmful to the baby. Accutane, Retin-A and other topical retinoid products are strictly off limits until after the baby is weaned as they can be absorbed through the skin and into breast milk and, subsequently, the baby’s bloodstream.

Talk to a doctor about pregnancy acne, and never use any prescription or over-the-counter acne medications without a doctor’s permission.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

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