You might have thought that acne problems were all gone when you said goodbye to your teenage years. Unfortunately you might be discovering with with your pregnancy that are you now asking questions about acne treatment during pregnancy. You could be one of those few who experience acne for the first time with the onset of pregnancy. What is acne?
Acne is the occurrence of inflamed or infected sebaceous glands in the skin; in particular, a condition characterized by red pimples on the face. Acne is an inflammatory disorder of the sebaceous glands that results in comedones, papules, inflammatory pustules and scarring.
Acne and Pregnancy
Acne is common during pregnancy. One out of every two pregnant women develops acne. Acne may be severe in some cases.
The primary cause of acne during pregnancy is the increased hormone levels in the first trimester. The higher hormone level increases the skin’s production of natural oils. You have a higher risk of pregnancy acne if you have a history of acne or have acne flares at the start of your menstrual cycle. It is most common to develop acne during the first trimester if you have not experienced any by that time it is out of the ordinary during the second or third trimesters.
Please speak with your doctor before taking any prescription or over-the-counter treatments because some can cause a high risk of birth defects. In general, you should avoid any medication you do not need when you are pregnant to reduce the chance of harming your baby.
Pregnancy acne usually subsides when your hormone levels return to normal. Pregnancy may cause a flare-up or remission of acne. Isotretinoin and Erythromycin should not be used while pregnant.
Isotretinoin is an oral medication that treats acne but it is not recommended when you are pregnant. Isotretinoin can affect a fetus and cause serious birth defects. Isotretinoin has been assigned to pregnancy category X by the FDA. Animal studies have revealed evidence of teratogenicity.
Erythromycin is an antibiotic used to treat moderate to severe inflammatory acne. Erythromycin improves acne by reducing the amount of acne-causing bacteria, called propionibacteria acnes, on the skin. It also lessens inflammation and redness. Erythromycin has been assigned pregnancy category B by the FDA. Erythromycin is not expected to harm an unborn baby.
Home treatments for acne during pregnancy
Pregnancy acne is a natural condition that usually resolves after childbirth. So, the best course of action is good skin care. Listed below are some methods for coping with pregnancy acne that are drug-free:
- Look to wash your face two times per day
- Wash after heavy sweating
- When you do wash, use a gentle, oil-free, alcohol-free, and non-abrasive cleanser.
- Use a washcloth (change it every time you wash your face) or cotton pad After washing, rinse your skin with lukewarm water. Then gently pat dry and apply moisturizer.
- Avoid over-cleansing. It can over-stimulate the skin’s oil glands.
- Shampoo regularly. If you have oily skin, it’s suggested to shampoo daily.
- Avoid oily hair mousse or pomade near the hairline.
- Avoid squeezing or popping your pimples. It will result in permanent acne scars.
How to avoid or reduce acne during pregnancy
It may be impossible to eliminate acne altogether during your pregnancy. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood or extent of acne and in some cases prevent it. Here are some steps you can take:
- Keep your face clean
- Use makeup sparingly
- Keep your hands out of your face
- Stay out of the sun
- Avoid greasy food
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
Beckmann, C. R. B., Beckmann, F., Barzansky, B. M., Ling, F. W., & Laube, D. W. (2009). Obstetrics and gynecology. (6 ed.). Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Smith, R. (2008). Netter’s obstetrics and gynecology. (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier Inc.