Planning for a child is a wonderful and gratifying occasion for sure, but does unfortunately carry some physical side effects. Acne outbreaks are particularly common in pregnant women, and while frustrating to deal with, are relatively easy to minimize.
What Causes Acne During Pregnancy?
More than half of pregnant women experience mild to moderate acne outbreaks during their term, most often in the first trimester. This is predominantly due to erratic fluctuations in hormone production in the body. The increased hormone levels dramatically facilitate production of the natural oils present on skin, which in turn increases the likelihood of developing acne.
Those previously predisposed to outbreaks, in particular those who experienced issues with acne during adolescence, stand a much higher likelihood of developing out breaks during pregnancy. If an outbreak is not present in the first trimester, the second or third trimesters are highly unlikely to precipitate outbreaks beyond the norm.
Treatments To Avoid
It's natural to want to treat an outbreak quickly, but there are some common treatments that should be absolutely avoided while pregnant.
The drug Isotretinoin (Absorica, Accutane, Amnesteem, Claravis, Sotret), is an exceptionally dangerous acne treatment to avoid during pregnancy and is known to have profoundly adverse side effects, most notably a high incidence of birth defects. In general, as with all drugs, it is best to avoid all pharmaceuticals not approved by your physician while pregnant. This includes other acne treatments such as topical retinoids (Tazorac) and hormone therapies as well.
What You Can Do
There are a number of effective, safe and naturally-derived acne treatments and methods to reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks. Acne during childbirth is a natural process and will clear up post-delivery, so the best idea is to focus on good hygiene, a balanced, healthy diet and practical skin care solutions:
- Avoid scrubbing your skin with a washcloth or harsh surfaces; this irritates your skin further.
- Use safe and effective topical treatments that are void of harsh side effects that can affect you or the unborn child.
- Avoid oil-based makeup and skin products, using water-based instead.
- Dry skin by patting rather than scrubbing, for the same reasons mentioned above.
- Absolutely do not break the surface of pimples, "popping" or otherwise. This spreads the infection, only causing further outbreaks and potential acne scarring.
Any facial procedures or efforts to reduce or diminish outbreaks should be discussed with your obstetrician to ensure full safety, but in the end it's best to avoid stressing over the issue. Just remember that acne during childbirth is a natural, but above all, temporary condition that can usually be handled with safe treatment options.