How to Treat Acne During Your Pregnancy

pregnancy Skin

You are thrilled to be expecting a little bundle of joy, but not so thrilled about the bumps that are popping up all over your face. You may have been expecting that pregnancy “glow,” so what’s the deal with these acne breakouts?

Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes in your body, including your skin. Many women experience teenage-level breakouts on their faces, jawlines, chests and backs during their pregnancies. While not a very pleasant side effect of your pregnancy, take solace in the fact that it is very common, you are not alone and there are effective acne treatments that are safe for you and your baby. 

What Causes Acne During Pregnancy?

There are two main reasons why pregnant women experience more breakouts. First, hormones. During your first trimester, hormone levels surge to support the development of the baby. The hormone progesterone causes a boost in oil production, which can result in clogged pores, a buildup of bacteria and pimples. 

Another reason why acne flare-ups are common during pregnancy is fluid retention. By retaining more fluid, your body can develop a build-up of toxins in the system. These toxins need to be released, often through your pores. Pores clogged with toxins have the potential to become acne bumps. 

Which Acne Treatments are Safe During Your Pregnancy? 

While there are treatments for pregnancy acne, not all treatments are considered safe. For mild or moderate cases, your dermatologist may advise you to take a gentle approach by using “clean” cleansers and moisturizers. If the problem persists after your pregnancy, you can begin a more powerful treatment plan.

Because medication testing cannot be done on pregnant women, there are some unknowns when it comes to which treatments are considered safe. Generally, products containing the following ingredients are considered safe. However, you should always discuss the use of any new skincare product with your doctor first. 

  • Glycolic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Azelaic acid 
  • Mandelic acid 

Certain over-the-counter products may also be recommended in limited quantities. For example, benzoyl peroxide can be found in many of the topical acne treatments carried in your local drugstore. Although the FDA considers it a Category C drug, which means that it has not been fully tested for use by pregnant women, many doctors give patients the go-ahead to use products with a low concentration of the medication in limited quantities. Pregnant women should always consult with their doctor before using any medication to decide if benzoyl peroxide is a safe choice for them. 

Which Pregnancy Acne Treatments to Avoid

Isotretinoin: This medication is more commonly known by the name Accutane. It is a very strong medical treatment that must be prescribed by a doctor. There are very strict rules for the prescription of this medicine for women since it has been shown to cause birth defects. Evidence also shows that it can increase the risk of a miscarriage if taken during pregnancy.

Topical Retinoids: Topical retinoids such as Retin-A and Differin are also considered to be unsafe for pregnant women. Like many acne medications, there is still more to be learned about the potential effects on a developing baby. However, there is evidence to show that retinoids have the potential to cause birth defects. 

Due to the potential for pregnancy complications, never begin a new or aggressive acne treatment without consulting with a board-certified dermatologist first. 

Get Help with Pregnancy Acne – Buckhead Dermatology Atlanta and College Park 

If you live in the Atlanta area and are dealing with a case of pregnancy acne, consult with Dr. Straughn at Buckhead Dermatology before starting a treatment plan on your own. Acne medications, even topical applications, can have serious side effects for your unborn baby. A board-certified dermatologist, along with your physician, can help you determine which medications will work for you in your fight against pregnancy acne. 

Contact Buckhead Dermatology of Atlanta and College Park today to schedule your appointment and to get the help you need for clearing your skin of pregnancy related acne.