is that more than one out of every two pregnant women can expect to develop
acne. For some, acne may be severe.
Acne is an external manifestation of
an internal imbalance that leads to overproduction of sebum (skin oil) by
sebaceous glands. This extra sebum together with dead skin cells creates an
ideal condition for bacterial growth which can promote inflammation. The first
stage of acne usually starts as oily skin; the next stage is the appearance of
comedones (white heads and black heads).
If the pore becomes inflamed due to the influx of white blood cells, pustules and papules appear. If the inflammatory response spreads to adjacent
tissue, this represents cystic acne.
primary cause of the over secretion of sebaceous glands is
actually an imbalance in circulating levels of sex hormones (androgens, otherwise known as testosterone, estrogen and progesterone). Both women and men
produce all three hormones but, of course, in different amounts. During pregnancy, especially during the
first trimester, estrogen and
progesterone levels increase therefore increasing the skin's production of
sebum. The risk of getting acne during the pregnancy is higher, however, it is
rather difficult to predict who will suffer from more severe acne flare-ups and
which women will "glide" through this period without an acne flare-up. One risk factor is if
you have a history of acne, or experience acne flares at the start of your
menstrual cycle, you may have a higher risk of experiencing acne during your
pregnancy. If you do not develop acne
during the first trimester, it's unlikely you'll have this problem at all since
it is rare to get acne in the second or third trimesters.
How to Treat Acne When You Pregnant
Using any type
of medications including acne treatments, during pregnancy presents a dilemma;
the expectant mother needs to make certain the safety of the baby as well as
the mother is preserved.
Unfortunately many prescription and
over-the-counter acne treatments come with a high risk of birth defects so avoiding them is both a
necessity and responsibility we have to take very seriously. Below is
information that can help keep you and your unborn baby safe.
What to Avoid: Unsafe Acne
Treatments during the Pregnancy
- Isotretinoin. Isotretinoin is known under the brand
name Accutane and a number of generic names. It is an oral product used
mostly for treating severe acne. However, it's especially dangerous before
and during pregnancy as the drug is known to affect a fetus and cause
serious birth defects.
therapy. This includes the "female" hormone
estrogen and the anti-androgens flutamide and the potassium sparing
tetracycyclines. These include antibiotics such as tetracycline, doxycycline and minocycline, which can inhibit bone
growth and discolor new forming permanent teeth.
- Topical retinoids such as adapalene (Differin), tazarotene (Tazorac) and tretinoin (Retin-A). Topical retinoids are actually
similar to Isotretinoin since they may reach the blood stream. Although studies show
that the amount of these medications absorbed through the skin is low (about 5%), they still may
increase the risk of birth defects.
note that all retinoids or cosmetic products that contain them are
required to carry a warning that states it is unknown if they can harm a developing
baby or a child that is being breastfed.
- Salicylic acid. For the same reasons, many experts also
recommend against using topical treatments containing salicylic acid while
pregnant. This is an ingredient
found in almost all over-the-counter acne products with Proactive®,
NatureCure®, Clearsil® and other known brands. As for those who are not
pregnant and/or do not plan on having a baby within the immediate future
(up to 6 months), use of these products may have limited efficacy in treating
acne but not harmful (with exception of possibly drying, irritating or
prematurely aging your skin). Sun
restrictions may also be necessary.
What's Safe for Mommy-to-Be to Manage
If your acne is mild and you
did not suffer from acne before becoming pregnant, you may actually try to deal
with your pregnancy breakouts without any specific acne products.
This route is by far the safest.
Here are some helpful tips
squeezing or popping pimples,
cysts, blackhead or whiteheads. This may result in additional inflammation
leading to skin damage and possibly permanent acne scars.
washing your face (and body if you have body acne) to two times per day or
after heavy sweating. Over-washing and over-drying
your skin will actually stimulate sebaceous glands (it is a skin
self-protection mechanism) to produce more oil.
- When you clean your
face or body, use
a gentle, oil-free, alcohol-free, and non-abrasive cleanser. Try a DIY
chamomile astringent twice a day to keep your skin moist, and bacteria free.
- Use a soft washcloth (change it every time you wash)
or cotton pads but be gentle, do not rub or injure your skin in any way.
Micro-abrasions open the door, so to speak, for bacteria and may cause
- Use lukewarm water rather than
Hot water will
over dry the skin and therefore stimulate the glands.
- Avoid over-cleansing and
over-drying; pat gently.
- Use a non comedogenic
moisturizer regularly, twice a day.
- Use natural DIY acne prone ski masks.
- Shampoo regularly. If
you have oily skin, it's best to shampoo daily. Avoid oily hair conditioners
and heavy hair mousses.
Option for Acne Treatment
If your acne is moderate or
severe during your first trimester, you may opt for modest use of over the
counter topical products that contain either benzoyl peroxide or glycolic acid.
Topical agents impact
on acne blemishes may be only temporary and not necessarily very effective for
moderate to severe acne, they are not believed to pose an increased risk of
If you want to safely get rid
of and PREVENT new pimples from forming you may want to look at AcnEase®.
is an all botanical ingredients proprietary formula that is focused on
rebalancing the body without directly
impacting hormone levels. Rather, it prevents hormone
fluctuations from adversely impacting sebaceous gland secretions and, in this
way, mitigates the cause of acne. You and your obstetrician may
review the list of AcnEase ingredients so you can make sure none of them may adversely affect you and your
baby. AcnEase has been used by pregnant and
lactating women without reporting any adverse effects.