Pregnancy comes with a lot of surprises! The thrill of feeling kicks and knowing your little one is growing day by day is surely exciting! Personal experience, as well as reports from other women, tells me that you have to be ready for little, pesky surprises too! And guess what? One of those would be those zits suddenly popping up all over your face called pregnancy acne!
Why do I have Pregnancy Acne?
All women want beautiful, glowing skin. Sadly, this isn’t what pregnancy has in store for some of us. Progesterone, which maintains the pregnancy, is the cause of all those resurrected zits. This hormone hits a high at about the 6th week and maintains increased levels throughout your pregnancy. It causes increased secretion of oil from your sebaceous glands, which ultimately clogs the pores. Clogged pores make bacteria happy as they multiply. Sooner than you know it, visible tiny yellow zits have popped out here and there.
Learn more about causes in my post – Understanding Acne – Causes and What You Can Do
What can I do about my Pregnancy Acne?
Because you’re pregnant, it’s best to first try controlling pregnancy acne with simple steps you can take a home. Before taking any medications, here are things that can help prevent break outs:
- Take care of your skin. Gently wash your face with a mild cleanser. A best bet is a soap free cleanser, non-comedogenic and non-fragrant. Wash your face twice daily – once in the morning and before retiring at night. Pay attention to the areas around your hairline and jaw. But don’t overdo the washing as it can strip your skin of its natural moisture and your oil glands can produce more oil to replenish the lost oils.
- Wash your hair thoroughly on a regular basis. Your pillowcase should be clean and changed regularly to avoid the bacterial infection of your face, including the towels your use.
- It’s wise to moisturize. Moisturizing can tame the oil glands not to produce too much oil. Choose an oil-free moisturizer.
- Use oil-free, non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic skin care, makeup and hair products that are pregnancy-safe.
Increase your intake of Vitamin A rich foods that help in the regeneration of healthy skin cells. These foods are usually found in colourful fruits and veggies.
- Cut back on sugar, refined grains, and unhealthy fats found in fried foods. Instead, eat a lot of healthy fats found in avocados, walnuts, almonds and fatty fish like salmon. A small chunk of dark chocolate can be beneficial too!
- Drink lots of fresh, clean water to keep your skin clear. This will also flush out any impurities in your body.
- Don’t squeeze those zits! They can cause scarring and the bacteria can find their way into your blood stream.
Can I take Medications for my Acne During Pregnancy?
Treating pregnancy acne needs precaution. Anti-acne products can be absorbed into the skin and affect the tiny life growing inside your womb, which can result in birth defects. So, stop and think carefully before taking anything for your pimples. It’s always wise to be aware and read labels first. For help choosing the right and safe products for you profile and need, please check acne symptom under pregnancy condition.
Isotretinoin, an effective oral medication for pregnancy acne, can affect the growing fetus and can cause birth defects. Other pregnancy acne medications you should be aware of that can cause birth defects are the following:
- Estrogens and anti-androgens
- Tetracyclines like minocycline, doxycycline, tetracycline
- Topical retinoids like adapalene, tazarotene and tretinoin
If you have a serious case of acne, doctors recommend topical treatments that are safe. Antibiotic creams, which need a prescription, include erythromycin topical creams and azelaic acid. Over-the-counter medications like benzoyl peroxide or glycolic acid topical creams are also safe. However, you should be prudent when using products since not all anti-acne medications are tested to be pregnancy-safe.
If you’re not sure of the safety of anti-acne medications, just stick it out a bit! You’ll see that those zits will miraculously disappear in a few weeks after giving birth!