Can I Get Acne During Pregnancy

Thousands of individuals suffer from acne every single day. You only have to walk down the aisles at the pharmacy to discover the large number of choices individuals are offered in order to take care of their skin problems. Acne often is a challenge faced by teenagers but can also be experienced by adults and women who are pregnant.

The causes for acne during pregnancy are usually the same as they are at other times of an individual’s life. During pregnancy the skin becomes sensitive to the hormonal changes which occur in a woman’s body as she is growing a baby. Although the causes (increased oil production, bacteria, hormonal effects, medications and vitamin deficiencies) are the same, the reaction of the skin is much more sensitive during pregnancy than it is at any other time during a woman’s life. (1)

Another skin disorder which can affect women who are pregnant is melasma. This is a discoloration of the upper lip, nose and forehead which can resemble the reddened area of skin before a pustule, papules or whitehead erupts.

During pregnancy, women are limited in the number of medications and options that they can use in order to treat any disorder, including acne. Because the skin is the largest organ in the body, it is also able to absorb drugs and medication which are placed on it. This means that any facial scrubs, pimple cream or zit removers can actually affect the health of the baby and the medication gets into the bloodstream of the mother.

Here are some quick tips to reducing acne which women may experience during pregnancy and still protect the health of the baby.

* Women should cleanse their skin twice a day with mild soap and a soft cloth. This keeps the skin free from oils that clogged the follicles and lead to pimples, pustules and papules.

* When cleaning the skin they should use an oil absorbent microfiber cloth to absorb the oil from the face while gently cleaning.

* Use plenty of water to wash away soap residual from the face that can irritate the skin and cause the skin distress, initiating a breakout.

* Keep the hands away from the acne and rubbed gently when washing to decrease the potential of spreading bacteria to other parts of the body.

* before eating fruits and vegetables they should be washed in order to remove pesticides, herbicides and other antibiotics that will affect the growing baby and the health of the skin.

* exercising daily will increase blood circulation, decrease stress levels and improved tone which will decrease the risk of acne during pregnancy.

The acne that women experience during pregnancy is often not severe. It is the hormonal changes in the body which affect oil production and sensitivity of the skin that often results in increased risk of acne during pregnancy. These hormonal changes are present in the weeks following delivery so it is important for women to recognize that while delivery will lessen their acne, this will take several weeks to take affect.

Women who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, should never take Accutane because of the increased risk of birth defects in miscarriage. (2) No matter how stressful or severe the acne is, the increased risk of birth defects and miscarriage will outweigh the benefits of taking the medication. Retin-A, a cream derivative of vitamin A, should also not be taken during pregnancy for the same reasons. (3) Tetracycline is a common antibiotic use for acne, but when taken during pregnancy it can affect the color of the babies teeth and the growth of their bones. (4)

The best defense against acne during pregnancy is a good offense. Women should work hard to keep their skin clean, free of oils, eat a good nutritious diet, decrease their stress levels, incorporate exercise into their daily routine and avoid foods that they know will affect their skin. All of these things will help to decrease the risk of suffering from acne during pregnancy as well as improve the health of themselves and their baby.


(1) The Baby Center: Acne During Pregnancy
(2) The Baby Center: Is it Safe to Take Accutane for My Acne While I am Pregnant?

(3) American Pregnancy Association: Acne Treatment During Pregnancy

(4) Tetracycline Pregnancy and Breast Feeding Warnings

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