The American Academy of Dermatology has reported that acne affects up to 50 million Americans every year, making it the most common skin conditions in the country. This may not pose a serious medical threat, but acne may lead to physical and psychological issues like scarring, low self-esteem and poor self-image.
If you think pregnant women are exempt from this, think again, because studies that acne affects one out of two pregnant women. Before you start to worry about acne during pregnancy, you should know that help is within reach. There is something you can do about it.
Here are 17 tips and techniques on how to treat acne while pregnant:
1. A Few Facts You Should Know About Pregnancy Breakouts
You may have noticed those bumps and some redness on your face that you usually get when it is your time of the month. So without a monthly period, it would make sense not to have these skin problems; however, you still do. Now, because you have a bun in the oven, you’re are probably unsure whether your acne medications can work.
What exactly is acne while you are pregnant?
Pregnancy acne is a natural skin issue or condition that leads to small, reddish bumps on your face and even other body parts. You may also get pimples that are white and pus-filled.
Don’t worry. Acne while pregnant is common and you are not alone in this ordeal. In case you are worried about your unborn child, don’t. As long as you don’t use harmful products with harmful chemicals, which you will learn more about in the succeeding sections, your baby is fine.
2. The Culprit: What Causes Acne During Pregnancy
What is the reason behind pregnancy acne? The answer is simple: your hormones.
Unlike pimples during your teenage years, the primary culprit of acne while you’re pregnant is the increased hormone levels, especially during the first trimester. The boost in progesterone and androgen levels over-stimulates the production of natural oils in your body; hence the breakouts. If you develop acne or had flare-ups before pregnancy, there is a higher possibility of getting pimples during pregnancy.
Here’s the good news: if you are unable to develop acne during the first three months of your pregnancy, then you are least likely to have it in the succeeding months.
Let’s say you had acne during early pregnancy. What types of acne can you experience? Read the next section to find out.
3. Different Types of Acne During Your Pregnancy
What comes to your mind when you hear the term, “acne?” Most of the time, you associate it with face. Did you know that you can also get acne in your body while you are pregnant?
Below are the different types of acne that could happen during your pregnancy:
- Back Acne: This may be harder to get rid of since you are unable to reach it comfortably.
- Body Acne: This is also a result of overstimulation of your oil glands.
- Cystic Acne: This happens when infection goes deeper into your skin and creates red and tender bump filled with pus.
Don’t worry. There are treatments available to get rid of these types of acne, which you will learn more about in the succeeding sections.
4. Acne Versus Pregnancy Rashes: How to Tell What You Have
Aside from pimples, a rash can also happen during pregnancy. These rashes may appear anywhere on your body similar to acne. The question is how you will know if you are having a rash called pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP), which happens to one percent of pregnant women?
PUPPP are tiny red bumps on your belly, which you could mistake for pregnancy acne. What sets PUPPP apart is that it appears on your belly and only shows up during the last term of your pregnancy. It may be uncomfortable and itchy, but don’t worry. PUPPP won’t harm your unborn child.
Now that you know the basics including the culprits for your pimple breakouts, it’s time to get to know the different options for acne treatment during pregnancy. Stick around and read until the end because you surely don’t want to miss all of these helpful tricks.
5. Say Goodbye to Back Acne During Pregnancy with These Helpful Tips
There is no doubt that acne can be treated. The issue is when you have back acne and scrubbing and reaching for the area can be challenging.
In that case, try these natural remedies to effectively treat the acne on your back:
- Use a back scratcher to hold a wash cloth lathered with natural soap, so you can wash your back. This will make it easier for you to cleanse hard to reach areas in your back.
- Pour one tablespoon of baking soda into a damp washcloth and attach the washcloth on the back scratcher to cleanse your back. Rinse with water after two minutes. Make sure to do this three times a week.
- Pour five drops of tea tree oil in a washcloth then soak it in water. Attach the cloth on the back scratcher and massage it on your back. Let it air dry completely. Do this three times a day for best results.
It may be challenging, but by doing any of these remedies regularly, you can say goodbye to back acne in no time.
6. Treating Body Acne During Pregnancy Using Medication or Natural Techniques
Body acne is easier to treat compared to back acne, at least in terms of cleansing the area. Nonetheless, treatment is the same – although you need to be careful to make sure you won’t overdo cleansing.
How can you get rid of body acne during pregnancy? Try these techniques:
- Aloe Vera – Apply the gel directly on areas affected by acne, let it stay on your skin for 10 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water.
- Turmeric – Mix water and turmeric until it forms into a paste. Apply the mixture on affected areas and let it stay on your skin for 10 minutes or until dry then rinse with cool water.
- Exfoliation – This helps remove excess oil and dead skin that contributes to body acne.
- Steam – Also a preventive method against acne, steaming opens up your pores, thereby making it easier to remove dirt, excess oil, and bacteria trapped on your skin.
You may have often used medications to wipe out acne before you got pregnant. Apparently, it’s a different case if you are pregnant. The succeeding sections will tell you the different treatments available, both natural and medications, to help you say goodbye to acne in no time.
7. Water: Your First Line of Defense Against Pregnancy Acne
Water comes with tons of health benefits, including protection and treatment against acne. It keeps you hydrated and maintains your skin’s health and suppleness. Drinking water also prevents common pregnancy issues like constipation, so make sure you are drinking at least 10 glasses everyday.
You may add citrus fruits for added flavor and make sure you add water-rich fruits and clear soups in your diet. Aside from water, check out the next section to find out how your diet can help prevent acne.
8. The Best Diet to Prevent Pregnancy Acne From Happening
What you eat also plays a big role in whether or not you will develop acne. Here are some eating tips to remember to make sure it won’t visit, regardless if you are pregnant or not:
- Eat more Greek yogurt.
- Add leafy greens such as broccoli, beets, kale, lettuce, cucumber to spinach in your daily diet.
- Bring more antioxidants in your diet with the help of berries.
- Chocolate is fine, as long as you go for the dark kind.
- Snack on seeds to keep you full.
- Avoid the processed, salty foods and anything full of sugar, too.
It doesn’t matter whether or not those old wives’ tales try to tell you that acne during pregnancy is a gender predictor and you should let it be. Taking care of your skin will benefit you a lot, especially in the future.
9. Vitamin A: Another Surefire Way to Wipe Out Acne
Vitamin A is one of the essential components for healthy development and growth of your baby. Aside from your baby’s embryonic growth, vitamin A can also help in the development of your baby’s lungs, heart, eyes, kidneys and bones. It is also crucial in the development of the respiratory, circulatory and central nervous systems.
Aside from carrots, here are other sources of vitamin A:
- Leafy greens like kale, broccoli, spinach, and collard greens.
- Fat and non-fat milk with added vitamin A content.
- Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables such as cantaloupe and pumpkin.
Still, take it easy. Vitamin A supplements are not recommended if you are pregnant. Also, too much vitamin A, no matter how good it is, can cause birth defects. Make sure to talk to your healthcare provider to find out exactly how much vitamin A you should get each day.
10. The Cleansing Routine: What to Use to Wash Your Face While Pregnant
You know how important cleansing is for your skin. Unfortunately, finding the best and safest cleanser can be challenging considering your pregnancy situation.
When it comes to cleansers, you can never go wrong with going for the mild ones. Gentle cleansers that are specially formulated for sensitive skin are your best options. This can help remove excess oil and dirt on your skin sans irritation. Wash your face twice a day to get rid of dirt and other impurities in your skin.
Let’s say you found a gentle cleanser but you are unsure as to what ingredients are safe for your skin. Don’t worry. These two ingredients got the green light from doctors:
- Benzoyl Peroxide – This works best for mild to moderate acne. It reduces oil production, clears clogged pores, and minimize inflammation. This ingredient also kills P.acnes, or the skin bacteria responsible for acne.
- Salicylic Acid – There are conflicting views about the use of salicylic acid because some experts say it can cause birth defects. On the other hand, some experts say this ingredient is safe as long as it won’t exceed two percent concentration.
It is best to consult a dermatologist as to the best ingredients you can use for your face. This way, you can keep your skin acne-free without compromising the health of your baby.
11. Oil-Free Moisturizers: Another Secret Weapon Against Pregnancy Breakouts
Do you want to say hello to a beautiful pregnant skin? If yes, then make sure you won’t skip this crucial step in skincare: moisturize.
Moisturizing your skin keeps your skin smooth and supple, which are important characteristics that help prevent acne. It is also one of the best medicines for pregnancy skin to make sure you don’t have to worry about acne anymore.
Here’s the challenge: choosing the right moisturizer for pregnant skin.
In choosing a moisturizer, go for hypoallergenic, oil-free, or fragrance-free products to keep your skin fully protected. You can try Aveeno’s Skin Relief Cream, Cetaphil Restoraderm, or Skinception Argan Oil. These moisturizers contain natural ingredients and are proven safe and effective in moisturizing your skin.
12. Never Leave Home Without Sunscreen on Your Skin
Before pregnancy, you never leave home without wearing any sunscreen. Now that you are pregnant, you need to make sure that you won’t skip this tip.
Aside from your hormones, pregnancy is the time when your pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes are in overdrive mode. This makes your skin more prone to darkening. At the same time, sunburn can heat your stomach’s temperature, which is not ideal for the fetus.
Here are sunscreen rules you should follow:
- Go for a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection.
- Choose a sunscreen with SPF between 15 and 50.
- Rub, not spray when it comes to choosing a sunscreen.
- Check the sunscreen ingredients to make sure it doesn’t have oxybenzone on its components.
- An oil-free sunscreen is the best way to go.
13. Few More Tips to Remember to Kick Annoying Acne During Your Pregnancy
Are these tips enough to make you say goodbye to pimples? Not exactly. Apart from what you learned about, here are few more tips to treat acne while pregnant:
- Choose products that are non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic.
- Avoid over-washing your face and stick to two times a day. Don’t forget to wash after heavy sweating as well.
- Do not rub, squeeze, pick, or pop your pimples.
- Shampoo your hair regularly.
- Change your bed sheet, blanket, and pillow cases regularly, or at least once a week.
- Keep your hands off your face to avoid transmitting the bacteria that could cause acne.
- Rinse your skin with lukewarm water.
- Use earphones and avoid holding your mobile phone near your face.
Make sure you remember these simple tips to prevent acne from getting worse.
14. Expert Tips to Remember to Wipe Out Pregnancy Acne
Aside from the treatment options available to you, here are few tips to remember on how to handle acne before, during, and after pregnancy according to experts:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Get your acne under control even before getting pregnant.
- Make it a habit to wash your skin with mild soap and water.
- Wear sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection and at least SPF 30 or higher.
- Check the medication categories established by FDA that go as follows:
- Category A: Means the medications are safe for pregnant women.
- Category B: Were tested on pregnant animals and presumed safe for pregnant women. Category C: Means an adverse effect was recorded on an animal fetus, but no testing was done yet on humans.
- Category D: Means the medication has reported adverse reactions on fetus.
If you saw that the medication is category “X,” it means stay away since these showed fetal abnormalities whether in humans or animals. In case it is “N,” the medication has not yet been classified by the FDA.
Now you know what you can use and do. It’s time to get to know what treatments are off-limits while you still have a bun in the oven. The next section will tell you about the no-no’s when treating pregnancy breakouts.
15. The Big No-No’s in Acne Treatment Curing Pregnancy You Should Know
Acne while you are pregnant won’t harm your unborn child. In fact, there is even nothing to worry about if you have cystic acne during pregnancy. Still, this doesn’t mean you can drink or apply anything you want to get rid of acne.
Here are the unsafe treatments for acne during pregnancy that you should remember:
- Isotretinoin – This oral medication can cause serious birth defects and negatively affects the fetus. If you are planning to get pregnant and currently taking isotretinoin, you are required to take two forms of birth control for at least a month to avoid compromising your unborn child’s health and development.
- Topical Retinoids – This may be a bit milder than isotretinoin, but it could still cause birth defects to a developing fetus.
- Tetracycline – This prescription antibiotic can inhibit an unborn fetus’ bone growth and cause permanent teeth discoloration.
- Hormone Therapy – It helps balance your hormones, but taking any form of therapy might put your unborn child at risk.
In case you’re wondering, these acne treatments are likewise not advisable if you are breastfeeding.
16. Acne during Pregnancy Gender: Determining Your Baby’s Gender through Pregnancy Acne
You will only find out your baby’s gender by the time you reach sixth or seventh month through ultrasound. For others, they say you can tell your baby’s gender depending on whether you had acne. This means if you didn’t experience acne during your pregnancy, then you are expecting a baby boy. Otherwise, pimple breakouts mean you are having a girl since a girl is believed to “steal your beauty” and requires additional female hormones in your body; hence breakouts.
Is there a scientific basis to this? Can pregnancy acne predict your child’s gender?
The answer is no. Pregnancy acne is due to hormones and there is no way it can tell whether you are having a girl or boy. In case someone told you that you are having a girl because of your pimples, don’t believe them easily.
17. Say No Before They Show: Tips in Preventing Acne While Pregnant
Can you prevent pregnancy acne? The truth is, it is hard to prevent acne during pregnancy precisely for one reason: your hormones. You can’t alter the changes in your hormones as soon as you have the bun in the oven, which explains why even women who are not prone to acne prior to pregnancy were able to develop it.
Still, you can try these tips that could help prevent acne from paying a visit:
- Make it a habit to wash your face with water and mild soap every day.
- Instead of wash cloth, use your hands to wash your face.
- Go for oil-free moisturizer.
- If pimples started to appear, avoid popping or picking them to minimize scarring.
- Wear water-based, non-comedogenic makeup to avoid clogging your pores.
There is no assurance, but these preventive tips might help prevent pregnancy acne.
Just in case acne during pregnancy decided to appear, remember this: keep calm and relax. More than your physical appearance, it is important to take note of your unborn child’s health and development, so make sure you talk to your doctor about the best options against acne.
Don’t worry. You’ll say hello to a clearer face in no time.