If you are currently pregnant, you may have already gotten compliments on your new natural glow. Unfortunately, the hormonal spikes that come with pregnancy can also cause a major increase in oil production and changes in your skin chemistry, often resulting in acne flare-ups. In addition, many women who rely on hormonal birth control to keep their acne at bay may notice a sudden breakout once this birth control is no longer necessary. If your pregnancy glow is marred by acne, are there effective treatment options that are safe for you — and your growing baby? Read on to learn some of the best ways to control pregnancy-induced acne, as well as ways to prevent future breakouts from occurring.
What treatment options are available?
Many of the most fast-acting prescription acne treatments (such as Accutane or retinol) are contraindicated for pregnancy because they have been shown to cause severe birth defects. Even over-the-counter medications containing high concentrations of benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are not advised for use during pregnancy. Fortunately, there are still a few other options that are safe for you and your baby and effective at clearing up your hormone-induced acne.
- Sonic cleansing
A sonic cleanser is an electronic or battery-operated brush with high-powered, rapidly spinning bristles that quickly remove dead skin cells and other impurities. Because a sonic cleansing brush can remove much more dirt and pollution than scrubbing alone, it is the perfect treatment method for someone who has only recently noticed an increase in acne.
Using a sonic cleansing brush requires no medication which could be harmful to your baby, and can continue to be used to improve your appearance long after you’ve given birth.
- Antioxidant-rich diet
Although it may not have instant effects, increasing your consumption of antioxidants will help fight the bacteria which adhere to oil in your facial pores and cause pimples. Some evidence has linked high consumption of dairy products with increases in acne (due to the naturally-occuring hormones found in milk), so you may want to substitute distilled water for that nightly glass of milk. If you’re concerned about getting enough calcium, you can add high-antioxidant, high-calcium foods such as spinach or broccoli to your diet.
If you’re suffering from nausea or morning sickness and can’t stomach the thought of raw spinach or berries, consult with your doctor to see if there is an antioxidant vitamin he or she recommends. In addition to improving the appearance of your skin, this diet will help provide your growing baby with all the nutrients he or she needs while in the womb.
Once you’ve cleared up your initial breakout, how can you prevent recurring breakouts?
The good news for many pregnant women is that after the first trimester, acne often subsides on its own (due to the leveling out of hormones). However, you’ll want to take some preventive measures to ensure that your face will remain clear.
- Avoid frequently touching your face or resting your chin or cheek on your hand — even if your hands are clean, this touching can stimulate your face’s oil glands.
- Wear your hair away from your face so that your hair’s oils don’t clog the pores around your hairline or cheeks.
- Try not to scrub your face too frequently, which can actually encourage your oil glands to produce extra oil.
After you have the baby, will this acne clear up on its own?
Unfortunately, the continuing hormonal changes that occur during the postpartum period may cause your acne flare-ups to continue. If you are breastfeeding, you’ll still need to be conscious of what medications (if any) you take to control acne. However, the methods listed above should still work for you.
If you’re formula-feeding or have already weaned your baby and are still dealing with acne problems, you may wish to consult a dermatologist at a place like Desert Dermatology who can prescribe you a retinol or salicylic acid-based treatment.